Tag:Chicago Bears
Posted on: July 28, 2011 6:20 pm
Edited on: July 28, 2011 9:17 pm

TE Olsen traded to Panthers for draft pick

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

It was just a few hours ago when we told you that the Bears had put TE Greg Olsen on the trading block, as agent Drew Rosenhaus tweeted that Chicago was willing to be very “reasonable” in who they got for swapping Olsen.

The Panthers have taken the Bears up on the deal.

The Chicago Tribune is reporting that Olsen is on his way to Carolina in exchange for a player (not likely named Steve Smith) and for an undisclosed draft pick.

Olsen caught 41 passes last year for 404 yards and five touchdowns, and he’ll join a crowded tight end group in Carolina with Jeremy Shockey and Ben Hartsock already on the roster.

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Posted on: July 28, 2011 1:17 pm

Bears sign Matt Spaeth, put Greg Olsen on block

Posted by Will Brinson

Everyone knows that Mike Martz' offense doesn't really benefit tight ends all that much, but there's still some pretty surprising news coming out of Chicago on Thursday that involves the shifting of bodies on the depth chart.

First, there's the news that the Bears are shopping Olsen to anyone that might be interested. And they don't even want that much! At least that's according to his agent Drew Rosenhaus, who penned an note to all the other NFL teams on Wednesday night.

"The Bears have granted me permission to seek a trade for Greg Olsen," Rosenhaus wrote in an email obtained by the Chicago Tribune. "Please let me know if interested.

"Sounds like the Bears will be very reasonable on the compensation in return for Greg."

However, Rosenhaus backtracked about 15 minutes later, writing, "Please disregard my previous email regarding Greg Olsen."

That's a nice sentiment and all, but as Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times wrote, "Know this: the Bears are indeed shopping Olsen."

Want more proof? The Bears signed Steelers tight end Matt Spaeth on Thursday too, per Michael Lombardi of the NFL Network. Spaeth is a much better blocker and a bigger benefit to the Bears in the running game than Olsen, even if he's not even close to the receiving weapon that Olsen presents.

So where to for Olsen? Well, how about the Panthers who just so happen to employ Rod Chudzinksi as an offensive coordinator, who just so happens to have worked with Olsen in college at Miami and who just so happens to have had some success with tight ends in the past. (You may have heard of Antonio Gates.)

Jensen noted, in fact, that an NFC exec believes the Panthers would be "a good fit" but also reports that the Bears "will not just give Greg Olsen away to the highest bidder."

There's also the matter of Olsen not sounding too thrilled at the prospect -- NBC Chicago's Peggy Kusinski cites a "source close to" Olsen who says the tight end is "not happy at all [with the] trade talk" because he "wants to play his entire career in Chicago."

Unfortunately for Olsen, that may not be an option the way things are unfolding.

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Posted on: July 26, 2011 5:57 pm
Edited on: July 26, 2011 6:59 pm

Panthers, DE Johnson agree to $76M deal

Posted by Will Brinson

The Panthers are the surprising first big movers of the 2011 offseason, as they have dropped an absolute bombshell of a $76-million contract on free-agent defensive end Charles Johnson.

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk first reported the news that Johnson's contract with the Panthers (which, again, is for $76 million) includes a $30 million signing bonus and $32 million in guaranteed money.

According to Steve Reed of the Gaston Gazette, multiple members of the Panthers coaching staff and front office, including GM Marty Hurney and head coach Ron Rivera, traveled to Miami to convince Johnson to sign with Carolina.

"I'm so excited," Johnson said. "I'm ready to get back to football."

Johnson, who broke out in a big way last season with 11.5 sacks, was listed as CBSSports.com's Pete Prisco's No. 2-overall free agent in this year's class and considered the Panthers' top priority this offseason. He was also considered a prime target for the division-rival Falcons, and his family wanted him to sign with Atlanta but, per Reed, he was "blown away" by Carolina's offer.

"Could you have turned it down?" Johnson said.

The initial reaction to that question is clearly "no" and the response to the deal is probably "WHAT?" -- but it's actually not that insane. No, seriously, hear me out.

See, the Panthers defensive line is flat-out terrible. They also play six of their 16 annual games against Drew Brees, Matt Ryan and Josh Freeman. None of those guys are going anywhere anytime soon and if the Panthers wanted a chance in the division, re-upping the one guy on the roster who can pressure the quarterback was essential.

Additionally, the money is a big old chunk of change but consider that last year, the Bears paid a 31-year-old Julius Peppers more than $90 million over the life of a six-year deal.

Johnson, by the time he finishes up his deal, will be that same age. And though he might not equate to "Peppers in his prime," the money spent on Johnson will be well worth it if he can come close to his production in 2010 over the course of the deal.

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Posted on: July 25, 2011 4:12 pm

NFL: London game 'moves forward as planned'

Posted by Will Brinson

Amid the champagne-popping of the settlement between the NFL and the NFLPA, there are still some issues to be concerned about. Like the good football fans of London, who were nervously eyeing the August 1 deadline to get a new deal in place (otherwise the game would be canceled).

So we checked on it for them, and NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy told CBSSports.com that the London game, featuring the Chicago Bears and Tampa Buccaneers, "moves forward as planned."

That's not tremendously surprising, because it seemed like a logical move for the NFL, given the timing of the deal that got done, the revenue that it brings in and the global growth of the game that the game offers.

But because the timing of the deadline for the game to take place and the possibility that a deal might not be "done" done until August 4, there was still some uncertainty surrounding the London game.

But just like with the rest of the 2011 NFL season, that's no longer a concern.

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Posted on: July 24, 2011 4:24 pm
Edited on: July 24, 2011 4:44 pm

Forte would really like more money from the Bears

M. Forte wants more money from Chicago (US Presswire).Posted by Josh Katzowitz

You could be forgiven if you would have thought, before last season, that the idea of Bears RB Matt Forte asking for a contract extension and more money would have seemed slightly out of whack.

Remember, after a standout rookie season in 2008, Forte didn’t have a great 2009, rushing for 929 yards (averaging 3.6 per carry) and scoring just four touchdowns (though he continued to perform well as a pass receiver).

But in 2010, Forte was much more electric, breaking the 1,000 rushing yard barrier, scoring six TDs and averaging a robust 4.5 yards per carry.

Considering he’s due $550,000 in base salary in the final year of his rookie contract, putting him well behind his backup, Chester Taylor (who made $7 million last year), you could certainly make the case Forte is wildly underpaid.

Knowing that, Forte wants to sign a new deal before training camp begins if possible.

"I think we're going about it the right way,'' Forte told the Chicago Tribune. "My agent, Adisa Bakari, talked to (Bears GM) Jerry Angelo and Cliff Stein last season, just letting them know that we've been producing.

"And now that it's close to training camp, we don't have much time to negotiate.''

That’s true, but it’s also true that the Bears have a ton of other players with whom they need to sign deals. Forte might be deserving of a nice payday – since 2008, he ranks fifth in the league in yards from scrimmage – but he might not get one, simply because it’s not yet his turn. 

Not yet anyway.

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Posted on: July 22, 2011 11:44 pm
Edited on: July 23, 2011 12:08 am

Chris Harris likes idea of Steve Smith to Bears

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

During the lockout and in lieu of free agency talk, we have spent much of our time debating whether Panthers WR Steve Smith will stay in Carolina or whether he’ll get the opportunity to bolt from the 2011 NFC South's future basement dweller.

Smith's Saga in Charlotte
He apparently wants to play for the Chargers or Ravens, but there’s little chance he’s going anywhere unless the Panthers get some kind of value for him from another team. (A third-round pick might just be the ticket.)

That said, Bears S Chris Harris has what he thinks is a pretty good idea -- Smith should just play in Chicago.

“If the opportunity is there, why not?” Harris said on WMVP-AM 1000, via the Chicago Tribune. “You can never have enough big-time playmakers on your team.”

Harris and Smith are former Panthers teammates, and they’ve also been workout partners this offseason. Although Smith is 32 years old and coming off one of the worst years in his career, Harris says Smith -- who most likely would rather play with Bears QB Jay Cutler than some combination of Cam Newton and Jimmy Clausen -- looks as good as ever in workouts.

"He is an excellent guy,” Harris said. “He's a guy who wants to win at all costs. He's a competitor. He's one of those scrappy kind of players you love to have on your team."

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Posted on: July 22, 2011 2:08 pm
Edited on: July 22, 2011 2:32 pm

Game-day rosters expand to 46, no third QBs

Posted by Ryan Wilson

The owners and players haven't yet agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement, but they have reached a consensus on this: the NFL Management Council has informed clubs that game-day rosters will increase from 45 to 46 players, and the emergency third quarterback designation no longer exists.

In practice, this means that teams will now dress their No. 3 quarterback as an active player or, take their chances with two QBs and use the roster spot for depth at another position. Which, save the rare occasion, isn't much of a rule change at all.

But as PFT's Michael David Smith points out, the emergency quarterback rule did come into play during last season's NFC Championship Game between Chicago and Green Bay. After Bears QB Jay Cutler left early in the third quarter with a knee injury, and with backup Todd Collins struggling, head coach Lovie Smith benched Collins for No. 3 QB Caleb Hanie.

At the time, the rules prohibited the Nos. 1 or 2 QBs from returning to the field since Hanie had played prior to the fourth quarter. To his credit, Hanie played well (and Cutler's knee injury was severe enough that he couldn't have played even if he wanted to), but the Bears still lost. Now with the new rule in place, the third quarterback can enter the game at any point without restriction.

In related roster news: according to a Thursday report from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's Bob McGinn, an NFC personnel executive said that his team has been told that training camp rosters will be expanded from 80 to 90 players. 

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Posted on: July 19, 2011 7:28 pm
Edited on: July 19, 2011 7:34 pm

Report: Bears, Rams won't start camp on time

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

In Tuesday’s Daily Shoutout, CBSSports.com’s Mike Freeman reported that “free agency will begin slightly later than generally known and training camps will also be delayed.”

So, today's news came as no surprise when ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the Bears and Rams won’t report to camp on time and that their arrival “will be pushed back a few days.”

That news suggests that the Aug. 7 Hall of Fame game between the two squads in Canton, Ohio -- while “officially” still on -- likely will become a lockout casualty and will have to be canceled (even though Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz says he’d need only one day to prepare his squad).
But hey, if I had told you when the lockout first hit that the 2011 season would be saved but that one preseason exhibition game would have to be sacrificed, I’m sure you would have been just fine with that arrangement.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com