In his absence, general manager Phil Emery, who was with the Chiefs when the Bears drafted Carimi, loaded up on offensive linemen. He signed free agents Jermon Bushrod, Matt Slauson and Eben Britton. He re-signed Jonathan Scott. And he drafted Kyle Long and Jordan Mills.
If Carimi had not been traded, he probably would have been far down the Bears' depth chart, behind Long, Slauson, Mills and James Brown at guard. Or behind Bushrod, J'Marcus Webb, Scott and maybe Mills at tackle.
The Bears weren't trying to punish Carimi with the trade as much as they were protecting themselves financially.
If the Bears brought him to training camp and then cut him, Carimi would have taken up $1.016 million in cash and cap space. Trading him might have enabled them to sign defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis on Tuesday.
At the time of Carimi's original knee injury, then-Bears offensive line coach Mike Tice said Carimi was playing the best of any of the offensive linemen. Since that time, Carimi never played as well, the Bears added better offensive linemen and Tice was replaced as offensive line coach.
Carimi still could become at least a serviceable NFL starter.
He is in the right place to do it, as he will be playing for his college position coach, Bob Bostad, for the Bucs. Bostad clearly holds Carimi in high regard, as the Bears once did.
It's true that the Carimi the Bucs are getting is not the player the Bears thought he would be. But it's also true the Bears are not the same team.