Once the Bears NFL Draft results became final, chatter in the NFL circles grew louder. It was more about which veterans would become cap casualties for the Chicago Bears. It could be a long, shocking list. Bears’ General Manager Ryan Pace offered a statement on the release of the two veterans.
“We thank Matt and Antrel for the dedication and leadership they brought to our organization. Both men did everything we asked of them.
“Part of growing as a team is making difficult decisions like the ones we made today. We never take them lightly given the respect we have for everyone who has put on a Bears uniform. We wish each of them the very best as they move forward.”
Players who were taken by the Bears in the draft are slated to play in spots that originally had been occupied by veteran players. The Chicago Bears drafted a guard, two linebackers, a running back, and three players for the defensive backfield.
No one anticipated the Bears taking a guard in the second round, yet Cody Whitehair was the player chosen. Whitehair, a three-year starter at Kansas State, will make the roster. It is rare that a second round choice does not make the 53-man roster. Whitehair’s addition signals the end of a veteran’s run with the team.
I appreciate the Chicago Bears and the organization for the opportunity. Blessed as always. Looking forward to what is next!— Antrel Rolle (@antrelrolle26) May 1, 2016
The first veterans to be let go were safety Antrel Rolle and guard Matt Slauson. The news about Rolle getting cut came from ESPN Chicago’s Jeff Dickerson.
Rolle spent one injury-plagued season with the Bears. His release was not a surprise. Slauson’s release was not expected. Especially since him getting traded to another team was the initial plan.
Must not have been able to swap Matt Slauson for a draft pick during the weekend when teams treat their picks like gold. He will land.— Brad Biggs (@BradBiggs) May 1, 2016
Slauson, who was rumored to be on the trading block just a couple of weeks ago, does have some value around the NFL. So he will not be unemployed for long. South Beach might become his next destination.
It was originally believed that the Miami Dolphins had an interest in Matt Slauson. Former Chicago Bears’ offensive coordinator Adam Gase now coaches the Dolphins. Slauson would be a good fit there. Once a trade did not materialize between the Bears and Dolphins, that belief may be put to rest.
Moving on from Matt Slauson may not be a wise move by the Bears, because it could potentially be costly. There is a breakdown of his contract on Spotrac that includes the salary cap hit the Chicago Bears will incur now that they have cut him outright. The Bears already had a healthy salary cap situation by having $22 million of cap space, therefore it was not a move for financial flexibility. With the Bears having the money to absorb Slauson’s contract, one can only look at it as a situation based on overall fit.
Matt Slauson was no longer in the Chicago Bears’ plans. Neither was Antrel Rolle. Both players provided the leadership necessary to assist the younger players in their development stages. There is now an enormous void of leadership inside Bears’ locker room.
Slauson was instrumental in helping the offensive lineman get in their proper places. His astute understanding of matchups and how to attack them made him a valued member on the Bears.
There was a time last season when Slauson took over at center and made the offensive line calls. This was when the Bears made a respectable run in which they won four out of five games in order to draw close to being a.500 team with a record of 5-6. Protecting quarterback Jay Cutler became an easier task and keyed a miniature resurgence. Matt Slauson will be missed, but football is a business. The Chicago Bears did what was best for business. Expect more Bears’ veterans to be waived.
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