Friday, April 19, 2024

REPORT: Chicago Bears Kick Things Off With Two Huge Cuts

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There comes a time in sports when the old guard is forced to move on, either to a new team or via retirement. The Chicago Bears have reached such a crossroads again. With a big off-season looming, they’ve begun getting their finances in order. GM Ryan Poles elected to release two of the remaining mainstays from the Bears’ 2018 NFC North championship team. Center Cody Whitehair and safety Eddie Jackson were both dismissed from the team, freeing up over $21 million in salary cap space ahead of the new league year in mid-March.

These decisions aren’t surprising. Whitehair lost a spot in the starting lineup last season due to health setbacks and inconsistent play. Jackson also suffered injury issues and wasn’t anything close to the player he was in 2022. A few years ago, both of them were fixtures on that excellent 2018 squad. Whitehair made the Pro Bowl at center, while Jackson claimed All-Pro honors with six interceptions. Sadly, their efforts weren’t enough to elevate the Bears any higher than that. They had some good years afterward, but it never changed things much.

The Chicago Bears now have questions at both spots.

They have no definitive answer at center. Whitehair is gone and Lucas Patrick isn’t a long-term solution. Not to mention they now have depth concerns at guard. Jackson’s exit leaves a noticeable hole at free safety next to Jaquan Brisker. Maybe Elijah Hicks or Quindell Johnson are prepared to step into that role, but it is hard to see that happening. Right now, it feels like both positions could be addressed by the Bears in free agency. Multiple names of note will be available. It comes down to whether the Bears can land one at their desired price.

Looking toward the draft, it seems like a strong one at center, at least in the earlier rounds. Not so much for safeties. So if the Chicago Bears have a plan of action, it may be grabbing a safety in free agency and then going after a center in the draft. Much of that depends on if they can land a pick in the late 1st or 2nd round. Most projections have the best ones going somewhere in that range. Either way, it’s important to express appreciation for how good Whitehair and Jackson were not long ago.

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rcheezy
rcheezy
Feb 16, 2024 6:23 am

It sucks to lose both of these guys, not so long ago they were playing so good too. Hopefully they’ll both land on teams who can find a way to still have them play at a relatively high level. Either way, both weren’t getting the job done. It’ll be interesting to see how this draft and FA goes with filling the holes. I’m confident Poles can get this thing figured out by the start of the new NFL year.

Slip Knotz
Slip Knotz
Feb 15, 2024 11:10 pm

Still need CB if JJ not re-signed or tagged at 19M. Need FS who can start. Need DE opposite Sweat. Need 3T who was intended to run this D. That’s 4 needs just on Defense. (And I think all 4 are doable and should get done asap in order to have a top 10 D that we can rely on every week. On Offense we need Center, QB, TE1, WR2, WR3, OG, FB, Swing OT, so that’s 8 players. Bears need at least 12 players. Bears have no 2nd round pick. Free agency might get 4-6 players if successful. 6… Read more »

Veece
Veece
Feb 15, 2024 10:26 pm

It happened. Bears now have $70 mil in cap space with $15 mil for draft signings, leaving $55 mil (after cuts of Whitehair and Jackson.) Next up in Free Agency, they should sign Center Lloyd Cushenberry, a solid pass blocker and anchor while rookie center drafted gets acclimated to NFL. Safety and Edge are two other obvious needs to address. Poles must get value if not top talent there. QB, WR, DE, S and OL depth must be added in draft. Bears must trade Fields to land a 2nd round pick and other later rounders to fill those needs. It… Read more »

Slip Knotz
Slip Knotz
Feb 15, 2024 10:09 pm

The rebuilding continues.

Jioha
Jioha
Feb 15, 2024 9:30 pm

Curious to see Schefter recognize Whitehair as a “former Pro Bowl Guard” but only refer to Bojack as a “veteran safety”. 🤔

Eddie wasn’t just a veteran. He was a 2x Pro Bowler and a former 1st Team All-Pro.

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