The 2010 Chicago Bears are going to need all the help they can get. Apparently, they didn’t see defensive end Alex Brown as being part of that idea, though. The Bears cut ties with Brown this week after 8 seasons…productive seasons I might add.
Brown’s release wasn’t a total shock to Bear Nation because the rumors of that happening had started up a few weeks ago. But the fact that the organization actually pulled the trigger on the move was a little surprising. Brown will leave the Bears with 43.5 sacks and 14 forced fumbles under his belt…more than respectable in this league.
So why did they do it?
I can only guess, but I have a couple of ideas. The first one would be that Bears brass could be so confident in their huge signing of Julius Peppers that they don’t think they need to spend the money to keep around Alex Brown. Another could be that the Bears front office just now realized how much money they spent on Peppers, Chester Taylor, and Brandon Manumaleuna and got scared, so they looked at Brown as a way to save.
Besides the presence of Peppers, this move clearly shows that the Bears have extreme confidence in Mark Anderson, Adewale Ogunleye, and Israel Idonije. Anderson is undoubtedly talented, but he has a knack for only showing up to play half the time. Ogunleye may have some gas left in the tank, but not much…it’s getting close to “E.” And Idonije, who is a hard, motivated worker, has been flipping between defensive end and tackle for years…who knows how he’ll settle into one position.
I’m not saying that the current defensive end personnel isn’t sufficient, but what happened to a few good, old-fashioned position battles? Isn’t there a saying out there that “competition ultimately creates success?” For the sake of this season, I didn’t see the harm in keeping Alex Brown around. He would certainly push Mark Anderson to be better…I’ll tell you that much.
Maybe having a definitive personnel group at that position is what they’re going for. Maybe the rotation-style defensive line they had last year didn’t cut it in terms of getting pressure on the quarterback. All I’m saying is that the Bears have added Peppers, yes, but they now have lost Gaines Adams AND Alex Brown. It seems to me they could be putting a little too much pressure on the four guys mentioned above.
Look, normally I would understand the idea of dumping some salary dollars. And sure, for the remaining two years on his contract, maybe $10.5 million was a little too much for an aging Brown. But this is an uncapped year, which means teams can spend as much or as little as possible. The Bears front office has already spent a ton of money this offseason, so what’s another $10 million to keep a productive defensive end around who also happens to be one of the leaders in the locker room?
Eventually, the salary cap will come back, so perhaps the Bears executives are already reverting to what they do best…worrying about money. But to me, releasing Alex Brown doesn’t exactly show Bears fans that they are doing absolutely everything in their power to win football games this year. It’s not like they’re gearing up to sign another free agent in a more needed position because well…that would be too smart.
Overall, it was a shame to see one of my favorite Bears players go out like this. Alex Brown was a hard worker, a beast of a defensive end, and an energetic presence in that locker room. I can only hope he goes on to bigger and better things in the league and eventually shows the Bears what they’re missing.