Los Angeles Rams are cleaning house. Could one of the players they cut end up helping the Chicago Bears? The Bears reuniting Chris Long with his brother Kyle Long may be something want to consider. It could become a family reunion that could benefit the Bears greatly.
Defensive end Chris Long went from the St. Louis Rams’ injury report to free agency in a span of a couple of months. The Rams, who will be moving to Los Angeles next season per ESPN, cut ties with several big name players. The list of the players who were let go includes middle linebacker James Laurinaitis, tight end Jared Cook and the aforementioned Chris Long. Cutting the players gives the Rams over $24 million in savings prior to their move to Los Angeles. It was reported that the Rams will use the salary slashing to re-sign other players, while keeping a keen eye on the upcoming free agency market.
The name which raised many eyebrows among the departed players was Long.
Long is a terror on the defensive line whenever he has been healthy. Injuries have caught up to him over the past two seasons though and that had to factor in him getting released by the Rams.
Chris Long never missed a game in his first six years with the Rams, collecting 50.5 quarterback sacks in that span. Over the last two seasons though, injuries took over.
In 2014, Long only played in six games and was credited with five tackles and a single sack. Last season was slightly different with Chris Long appearing in 12 games. His productivity did a nosedive last season; he had three sacks for the now Los Angeles Rams.
Although Chris Long was a defensive end in the Rams’ base 4-3 defense, he could be a good fit as an outside linebacker for the Chicago Bears.
The Bears have a void of playmakers on defense. Given the amount of cap space that they will have, CBS Sports projects that the Chicago Bears will have just under $60 million available, they could be in play for any of the defensive free agents not named Von Miller. That the Bears employ a hybrid 3-4 base defense will not be a deterrent for players whom they could be interested in.
Because there are so many holes to fill, not only on the defensive side of the ball, but throughout the roster, the Bears will be looking at some players who can provide value. Having $60 million is a lot to spend when there is only five or six major spots to fill. The Chicago Bears only have three players who are guaranteed starters on defense. Therefore, much of their cap space will be used to fill in spots with low-risk, high-reward players. At this stage, the 30-year-old Chris Long could become one of those low-risk players.
As an edge rusher Long relied upon a combination of speed to get past oncoming blockers. He would use his arms to gain leverage, then bull-rush his way to the quarterback. When he was not successful in getting a sack, he would still get hits on the QB. His speed is something that the Chicago Bears could use on defense.
Those who will argue that Chris Long’s time as a 4-3 defensive end would eliminate the prospects of the Bears having an interest in him must look at other players who made the switch to outside linebacker in the base 3-4.
The Green Bay Packers signing of Julius Peppers comes to mind as an example of the most recent success. The progression that the Bears’ Willie Young made adjusting to the switch is also intriguing. Long’s speed and power give him the ability to be an effective player if he had to stand upright in a defense. The Chicago Bears would be wise to take a flyer on him. Doing so may cost the Bears a three-year commitment at a reasonable contract. Besides, the Bears already have a recruiter on the team in Kyle Long.
No official word has been made about it, but it is already an established fact (courtesy of ESPN) that Chris and Kyle hate playing against each other. The one time the Long brothers played against each other, Kyle Long was involved in a fight and had to be restrained by his older brother Chris.
“Nobody wants to have any family member dealing with injury or anything, but I wouldn’t wish playing against your sibling on anybody. It’s not any fun.”
“I was fired up as a rookie on the road. I bought in to the whole thing that week about playing against my brother and my brother’s team. I think it cost me. In the end I think it was $32,000 I’m not sure, something around there. You know it’s a football game. There’s no reason to make it bigger than that. It’s a big football game for both of us. We have to go on the road and go against one of the toughest defenses in the NFL.”
Is it possible that Chris Long would want to play with his younger brother in Chicago?
When the St. Louis Rams cut ties with defensive end Chris Long, many teams took notice. The Chicago Bears should be one of those teams who are interested in signing him. If so, they would reunite Long with his brother Kyle. The two of them could wreck havoc together as members of the Chicago Bears.
[Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images]