Bears sign Shaffer for offensive line

Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith found a new starting right tackle when former Cleveland Browns lineman Kevin Shaffer signed a three-year contract, the team announced Wednesday.

According to a source, the three-year deal could be worth as much as $8 million based on how much he plays during his stay in Chicago. In 2010, he will make $2.75 million, of which $1.75 million is guaranteed, and he can make another $250,000 with a workout bonus.

By signing Shaffer, the Bears acquire a tackle with 86 career starts in 100 career games. He was a seventh-round choice of the Falcons in 2001 and started eight games during his second season. He left the Falcons in 2006 and was signed by the Browns as a left tackle. He moved over to right tackle in 2007 after Cleveland used its first-round pick on Joe Thomas. Over the past two seasons, Shaffer had 31 starts at right tackle.

The irony of the signing is that the Bears lost their starting right tackle to the Browns. John St. Clair signed a three-year deal with the Browns to replace Shaffer, who was cut by new Browns head coach Eric Mangini.

Senior writer John Clayton covers the NFL for ESPN.com.