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As for the Bears, Sitton gives them a valuable, workhorse lineman who is capable of transforming the dynamic of their protection unit. The three-time All-Pro, who hasn’t missed a start since 2011, solidifies the middle of the line and should greatly help a Bears running attack spearheaded by second-year back Jeremy Langford.
Sitton’s signing comes a day after Kyle Long received a four-year contract extension with the Bears. With rookie Cody Whitehair expected to see starting time alongside veteran Ted Larsen at center, the Bears’ line will look a lot different from last season. It remains to be seen if it can help revitalize an offense that was very average looking in 2015.
Jeffery missed seven games in 2015 due to injury. When on the field, he can be a difference-maker — and will certainly be Jay Cutler’s security blanket again in 2016 — but the Bears want Jeffery to prove he can stay healthy before giving him a massive deal.
“He’s at a good spot right now,” Pace said. “And you know, those negotiations were friendly the whole time. And I don’t think it’s uncommon when you’re negotiating off the franchise tag to sometimes not come to an agreement. But that doesn’t mean there’s any ill will. So now we understand; we can revisit it after the season. But I’m optimistic. He’s a talented player. He knows he has to stay healthy. And we’ll see going forward.”
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Silatolu heads to Chicago after spending the previous four seasons in Carolina. His stint with the Panthers was plagued by injuries. Silatolu suffered an ACL tear in November, which marked the second ACL tear of his career.
Chicago apparently deemed Silatolu healthy enough for a contract. The Midwestern State product also took visits to the Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers, Kansas City Chiefs and Arizona Cardinals before getting a deal done with the Bears.
While we thought we’d see Hoyer remain the starter until the end of the season, the Bears will continue to do the same hollow song and dance with Cutler that they’ve been doing for the better part of his massive seven-year contract.
What we do have now, though, is the stage for an audition. Cutler could very well be entertaining quarterback-needy teams in the offseason should Chicago opt to get out of the contract while they have the chance to escape with no guaranteed money on the hook. Cutler could still do very well for himself in the right circumstance. At just 33, he will have suitors.
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Matt Barkley continues to earn money. In his fourth start, Barkley threw darts through the cold weather, making several pinpoint passes early and cheap jerseys and great reads down the field late. As it has been in his previous two losses, close wasn’t good enough for Barkley. The quarterback marched the Bears on a potential game-winning drive. A holding penalty backed the Bears up on first-and-goal, and a third down pass was knocked down in the end zone. The Bears settled for a chip-shot field goal to tie the game, but gave Rodgers too much time to drive for the win.
Barkley (30 for 43, 362 yards, two touchdowns, three interceptions) deserves praise for making throws in tight windows as the Bears stormed back from a 17-point deficit. Barkley’s turnovers put Chicago in that hole to begin with. After a stellar first half, Barkley committed turnovers on the first three possessions of the third quarter. Julius Peppers had a strip sack, followed by back-to-back Ha Ha Clinton-Dix interceptions, including one on a pass Barkley sailed high over the middle. Barkley earned himself years of NFL contracts with heady play. His turnover spree, however, displays why he’s not considered a franchise cornerstone.
Going through the free-agency process, I wasn’t approached seriously by a lot of teams. A lot of teams had interest, so to speak, where they call your agent, but when it got down to talking numbers and doing stuff, the Jets reached out the strongest.
with obviously a friend being there, Brandon [Marshall], and Eric [Decker] being there, too. Two big receivers on the outside. What they did last year in the first year under Coach [Todd] Bowles, and winning 10 games, is awesome. It shows you what kind of coach he is and the staff that they have. And I like what type of offense they have, with a pro style. They use a fullback; that’s what I’m used to. The last couple years have been like shotgun-type of running. I’m used to being in the [I-formation] and kind of mixing it up.