Carimi left the team following the conclusion of the Bears' voluntary three-day minicamp in April and returned to Arizona to continue his offseason training, opting to skip the second phase of the club's offseason program and all 10 organized team activities. But next week's minicamp is mandatory, and Carimi could be fined up to $66,150 if he misses all three workouts.
Bears general manager Phil Emery said Tuesday he believed Carimi would return to Chicago for the minicamp.
"That'll be up to Gabe," Emery said. "You may want to ask him that. I'm assuming that he will be. Certainly he wants to play and wants to play well, and I think that's why he's approached his training that way. Those are questions only Gabe can answer."
Emery said the Bears have kept in contact with Carimi while he's been in Arizona.
"We've talked to Gabe and the individual who's training him. So yes, we're talking to him," Emery said. "We'd like all our players to be here, but Gabe made a decision that was best for Gabe so every individual player has to make those decisions. [Organized team activities are] voluntary, and we're going to respect that and we're going to respect Gabe in his decisions."
The 29th overall selection of the 2011 NFL draft, Carimi started just two games at right tackle for the Bears as a rookie before he suffered what turned out to be a season-ending knee injury that required multiple procedures to correct. Carimi's knee appeared to cause him problems in his second season, but he did manage to start the first 10 games of 2012 at right guard before losing his job to veteran Jonathan Scott. Carimi spent the final weeks of the season playing both guard and tackle.
Bears coach Marc Trestman said in April the organization viewed Carimi as a better fit at offensive guard.
Even before Carimi decided to train independently this offseason, it was unclear exactly where he stood on the roster. The Bears made several moves at guard in the offseason, including selecting guard Kyle Long with the 20th overall choice of the 2013 NFL draft. The Bears also signed veteran guards Matt Slauson and Eben Britton in free agency to bolster a group that already included second-year guard James Brown and veteran guard/center Edwin Williams. While the Bears' fifth-round draft pick, Jordan Mills, is beginning his professional career at right tackle, the Bears think Mills has the versatility to one day slide inside to guard.
Carimi has two years left on a contract that guaranteed his base salary in the second and third years of the deal. The offensive lineman is scheduled to earn a base salary of $1,016,458 in 2013. Offsets in the deal would eventually provide the Bears with some cap relief in the event Carimi fails to make the team and is signed by another club. Since any new deal Carimi might sign will not be guaranteed, he would have to first earn the money during the regular season before the Bears would be in position to recoup some of the salary-cap hit they would take if Carimi gets cut. Carimi also has $907,918 of his signing bonus prorated over the next two years that would also count as dead money against the cap if the Bears decide to go in another direction.