Thursday, June 13, 2024

Turns Out Money Wasn’t Why Eddie Jackson Was Cut By The Bears


Cutting Eddie Jackson was a tough decision for the Chicago Bears. He’d been a great player for them going back seven years. His All-Pro run in 2018 was one of the best a safety has ever had in this city. Sadly, all good things come to an end. After a somewhat disappointing 2023 season, the Bears opted to release the 30-year-old. Most experts agreed it was mostly due to his hefty contract. Jackson would’ve made over $14 million this year. That was too much for what the team was getting from him

As it turns out, money wasn’t the primary motivation. It was merely a convenient excuse to help conceal the truth. The Bears had wanted to make a chance for some time. At least, that is how new safety Kevin Byard made it sound when asked about it earlier this week. His understanding is head coach Matt Eberflus and the coaching staff was tired of keeping Jaquan Brisker bottled up as a box safety. They’d been wanting to get him more involved in coverage duties. That meant finding somebody who could handle box duties when asked.

It is one of the primary reasons they signed Byard.

“Yeah, just his versatility. I think, that’s one thing I like about playing with him because I know a little bit of last year was kind of like Bojack was kind of in the back or whatever and he (Brisker) was kind of in the box.

I don’t want to see that this year at least for us early on. Just kind of work it, hey, let’s be versatile. I don’t want teams to get a bead on ‘Hey, you’re in the box or I’m deep’ or anything like that. Let’s both do the same things so teams can’t really get a bead on what the coverage is. He’s been really good with that. He’s vocal like I am about wanting the details with different coverages with the coaches and stuff like that.

I mean, it’s just I think that’s what the league is now. You want guys to be versatile. And like I said I think it’s a lot for just for quarterbacks and things like that.

Like, as you watch film, teams are looking for any type of keys or clues to tell what type of defense these guys are going to run. So we don’t want to be able to give that away. We want to be able to be versatile and try to make it hard for offenses.”

Eddie Jackson isn’t the first such sacrifice by Eberflus.

He did the same thing in Indianapolis. For two years, he tried to make things work with 1st round pick Malik Hooker. However, he had the same problem as Jackson. While a strong option as a deep cover safety, he was next to useless down around the line of scrimmage. So, in 2020, the Colts shifted to a safety tandem of Khari Willis and Julian Blackmon. Both had the versatility to play up close or deep. It presented constant problems for opponents, leading to Indianapolis posting the #8 defense in football.

This isn’t new. Anyone who has followed the Tampa-2 defense for years will know that the safeties must be versatile. This was true of John Lynch and Dexter Jackson in Tampa Bay and Danieal Manning and Chris Harris in Chicago. Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer were an outstanding combo in Buffalo. Eberflus clearly thinks Byard will help unlock the scheme as it was meant to be played, something Eddie Jackson couldn’t do. He was always a liability against the run. Once it became clear he couldn’t offset this problem with lots of turnovers, the time for a change arrived.

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May 26, 2024 7:41 am

BoJack was good for 1 season, average at best for 4 and terrible his last 2 seasons. He often missed tackles, or simply avoided being in position to make a tackle, and never really created enough turnovers to justify his contract. Against the run he was about as useless as a wet mop in a flooded bathroom. Brisker is and always was the better safety, playing in the box, rushing the QB, and/or creating turnovers; and even more flexible with his ability to play either safety positions equally well. The writing was on the wall when Brisker was drafted and… Read more »

May 25, 2024 9:17 am

That was all Byards words, that he liked his versatility. Versatility is good with any DB or Safety for a while now. I still think the reason was money……… and BoJacks play wasn’t earning it.

May 25, 2024 9:11 am

Hey Pooch!

Ain’t seen ya in a while…Hope all is well. I don’t like paying older vets for past performance. Hence the Orlando Pace comment a few days ago. Those 2 guys are fits.

May 25, 2024 9:02 am

@jmscooby I’m always skeptical that “new guys,” will be better than “what you have.” However, there is a limit to how much time you can give to learning and adapting, and I am assuming that Jackson was not embracing an expansion of his position. I don’t blame anyone for wanting to emphasize the most visible of their position (interceptions for a secondary player, but receptions, completions for a QB or WR), that’s where the money is. But “winning,” is also where the money is: for everyone involved. As much as Lambert would like to say Luke Getsy landed a “plum”… Read more »

May 25, 2024 8:46 am

We don’t know if Eddie Jackson was good, bad or ugly playing as an in-the-box safety, but it IS a cautionary story for all of us (both players and people in every day situations). We talk ourselves into being “who we are,” either because we are good at something, or not-so-good. The fact is: the world changes, your boss changes and regimes change. “Change” is an opportunity to grow, learn, become more flexible and adapt. Both for management and the people beneath them. Embracing change, instead of falling back on what you did two or three years ago, kills careers.… Read more »

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