The Chicago Bears parted ways with a pretty good offensive lineman yesterday:
Josh Sitton tells Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune that he had a “great conversation” with Bears GM Ryan Pace and was appreciative of the team making a decision early enough in the process to allow other teams know he will be available. It’s a professional courtesy that can sometimes be lost in the NFL.
And yet, Sitton still thinks he has something to give as he enters his age 32 season.
“I am planning on playing and hitting free agency and continuing to play at a high level,” Sitton told Biggs. “I believe I have prime years left.”
Unfortunately, those prime years won’t be played while protecting Mitch Trubisky.
- Even though the Green Bay Packers’ offensive line could have taken a run at the Bears for being the most injured in 2017, Aaron Nagler says not to expect a reunion with the team and Josh Sitton. Green Bay drafted and developed Sitton into a three-time Pro Bowler, and while the Packers could have the cap space to make it happen, their available funds will likely go to fill needs elsewhere.
- Where this leaves the Bears is still to be determined, though it’s clear the team is hoping to go in a more youthful direction. Earlier, we discussed the different directions the Bears can go in filling the void left behind by Sitton. Internal options, free agent additions, and possible draft choices all present themselves as viable alternatives in Sitton’s absence.
- NFL TV analyst Charles Davis shares his first mock draft of the offseason and fixes the Bears’ offensive line issue by sending Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson to the Bears with the eighth overall pick. Huzzah. That would certainly help things. In case you’re curious, Davis doesn’t have a receiver coming off the board until the Cowboys at No. 19, who choose Alabama’s Calvin Ridley. Texas A&M standout Christian Kirk is the other receiver worthy of a first-round pick in Davis’ eyes. He has the Panthers picking him up with the 24th pick.
- If the Bears were planning to use their gobs of free agent money to attack the top of the wide receiver market, their plan took a bit of a hit on Tuesday night when the Dolphins announced they were placing the franchise tag on Jarvis Landry. Thus, ending the Bears’ courtship of the talented slot receiver before it could even get started.
- Landry would have been one of the most polarizing players to make it to free agency. NFL.com lists Landry as No. 42 on its annual list of top-100 players and he led the league with 112 catches, but averaged just 8.8 yards per reception. Landry has the feel of a high-floor, low-ceiling guy. A reliable pass-catching target who doesn’t have a ton of explosion in his game. Following how the Dolphins will handle this situation should lead you to grab your popcorn and strap it in. This could get good.
- ESPN Chicago’s Jeff Dickerson discusses other major cut from Tuesday and explains how difficult the path for Jerrell Freeman’s NFL return will be in 2018. Because not only did he suffer a season-ending pectoral injury, Freeman also suffered a concussion in that game and felt the after-effects late into the season, which he says caused him to take medicine that ultimately led to him failing a PED test that led to his second suspension in as many years. “His prospects right now are not very good,” Dickerson said. “You’re very concerned about his safety and long term health if he has some head trauma that he suffered.”
- Over at CBS Chicago, Greg Gabriel offers up a list of players who could help the Bears at outside linebacker, a position where four different Bears ended the season on injured reserve. Lamarr Houston and Sam Acho could be brought back as depth pieces in 2018. Gabriel describes Acho as an unsung hero as a role player and noted Houston was productive in his return to the Bears. Someone like 25-year-old Jeremiah Attaochu of the Chargers and 31-year-old Connor Barwin of the Rams represent some of the more cost-efficient options that could help solidify the depth on the roster at that position.
- One of the more intriguing name among Gabriel’s potential Bears targets is Marquis Flowers of the Patriots. Flowers was a sixth-round pick by the Bengals in 2014, but did his best work with New England and fits the mold of a Pace-type signing. He’s still young (turned 26 a few days ago) and is about to enter his prime. These are the kinds of players a rebuilding team like the Bears should be jumping at to take an opportunity. That he played well for the Patriots suggests there is some untapped potential waiting to burst out.
- Alshon Jeffery developed a reputation because he didn’t play through certain injuries, but NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport reports Jeffery played through a torn rotator cuff suffered in training camp. Jeffery, who struggled to stay healthy in Chicago, played in all 19 of the Eagles’ games and made good on that Super Bowl guarantee. Rapoport tweets Jeffery had surgery to repair the injury, but Les Bowen of Philly.com reports the star receiver could miss the preseason while recovering from the injury.
- This all seems quite scary: Brad Biggs of the Tribune provides an update for former Bears safety Doug Plank, who is recovering after an automobile accident in which his truck flipped multiple times. Plank was a tough cookie during his playing days, so here’s hoping he’s got more fight in him during the recovery process. If you’re unfamiliar with Plank, just know Buddy Ryan’s Super Bowl-winning 46 defense was given its name in honor of Plank and his playing style.
- Nearly a year ago, Bears cornerback Deiondre’ Hall was arrested after an incident at a bar in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times offers up an update, reporting that Hall pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges and received six months probation. Hall, a fourth-round pick in 2016, spent much of the 2017 season on injured reserve and played just one defensive snap in two games.