It’s the end of an era of Chicago Bears football.
The Bears announced the release of quarterback Mike Glennon, wide receiver Markus Wheaton, and cornerback Marcus Cooper on Wednesday. The moves will clear the Bears $21 million in cap space.
Glennon, Wheaton, and Cooper were signed as part of the free agency class of 2017. Each was signed to a role where they would essentially be place-holders. Most importantly, the contracts were structured in a way to protect the team for this exact scenario in which the players did not work out. Their releases come with minimal damage to the roster and to the team’s very valuable salary cap situation.
Glennon was handed the starting quarterback job on what was – for all intent and purposes – a one-year $18.5 million “prove it” deal that also successfully served as a smokescreen in the team’s pursuit of drafting Mitch Trubisky. After leading the league in turnovers through four games, John Fox handed the reins over to the rookie and the rest is history.
I suppose all is well that ends well for Glennon, who is expected to sign with the Arizona Cardinals. And because Glennon’s contract featured an offset, the Bears could ultimately recoup the $2.5 million signing bonus he was due. Well played.
Cooper was coming off a season in which he came up with four interceptions. But his bone-headed play on what should have been a touchdown on a blocked kick pretty much served as the beginning of the end for Cooper’s career with the Bears. He was unseated by Kyle Fuller in the starting lineup and played more special teams snaps (130) than defensive plays (76) after Week 3.
Wheaton didn’t have much of an opportunity to show what he can do because an appendectomy, broken finger, and groin injury limited him to 187 snaps in 11 games.
While meeting with the media at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, GM Ryan Pace said the team was going to release Glennon at the start of the new league year and was non-committal regarding the futures of Wheaton and Cooper.
As it turns out, their respective futures – as well as that of the Bears – were crystal clear.