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What's going on in Chicago?

Letting Olin Kreutz walk is a move we have to question. Matt Bowen

Print This July 31, 2011, 05:40 PM EST
20 Comments

What’s going on down in Bourbonnais, Illinois at Bears camp right now? That is my question after Chicago signed free agent O-Lineman Chris Spencer—essentially ending the run of Olin Kreutz.

Olin KreutzICONThe Bears should be questioned after not coming to terms on a new deal with center Olin Kreutz.

Here’s the thing with Kreutz. The center isn’t one of the elite talents at the position in the NFL anymore. We know that. But when looking at the Bears O-Line as a unit, he is the unquestioned leader. Something that former Bears Director of College Scouting, Greg Gabriel, discussed recently here at the NFP.

And playing the center position in the NFL isn’t as easy as it sounds. No different than a strong safety—or a Mike Backer—that takes care of every adjustment on the fly before the snap of the ball. The center handles the protection count, adjusts blocking schemes and runs the O-Line. Crucial to any football team.

That is why Kreutz still provided value to this football team. It doesn’t always show up on TV, but in those meetings on Monday morning, it sure does show up on the game tape.

The real issue here for Chicago? Spencer isn’t an upgrade over Kreutz—and this went down over a reported $500,000 in contract disputes. Small price to pay to bring back a veteran leader on the field and in the locker room, right?

I understand that veterans come and go every offseason in the NFL. That's part of the game and the business of the league. Something I saw every year in my career. But those moves are are done for cap reasons and roster upgrades. And that's not what I am seeing here.

We should expect Lovie Smith and Jerry Angelo to spin this in a way that leans towards the organization. But for a team that has already taken some chances this week on talent that hasn’t produced lately in the NFL, it makes sense to take care of your own players that have shown they are accountable on Sundays.

I am curious to watch this play out for Mike Tice’s O-Line in Chicago and what the overall impact is during the regualr season. However, for a unit that needed to be “upgraded” during free agency, this move doesn’t add up.

Let's see what happens next...and if the Bears can find a way to make this work.

Follow me on Twitter: MattBowen41

Comments

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jk
Jul 31, 2011
05:57 PM

Jerry Angelo, you need to be gone along with the rest of the front office. I don't like Lovie Bear, but the problem lies well above his head.

eire5199
Jul 31, 2011
06:08 PM

As a Packers fan that lives in the Chicago area, I could not be more thrilled with the course of events.

The word "dysfunctional" comes to mind when I think of the Bears front office.

DaBearsk
Jul 31, 2011
06:14 PM

Olin shouldn't have had his agent go public with the $500,000 figure...Trying to embarrass the front office like that was wrong, not to mention the precedence it sets if the front office had acquiesced to it..especially when it was reported that the guy didn't even have an offer from another team..Olin overplayed his hand... doubt he gets 4.5 from some other team now.

Having said that, I agree with you Matt that at this stage of his career Olin was worth more than his play dictated especially to the Bears...too bad it went down like this I enjoyed watching Olin but his play has really dropped off the last couple of years.. hope he comes back strong with another squad...

I have disagreed with JAs moves before but I actually think the rest of his moves this off-season have been good...we shall see if the $500,000 goes to some other good player or Virginia's pockets, not to mention I am sure they saved a couple of bucks on Spencer's deal... How bout putting those extra bucks plus a few more and draft pick towards Carl Nicks ? I bet that would make folks forget fairly quickly about Olin.. GO BEARS !!

Bearmeat
Jul 31, 2011
06:32 PM

The Bears are done. Time for them to start rebuilding that D - because any more than 6 wins would be a shock this year.

jmscooby
Jul 31, 2011
06:59 PM

Hey Matt,

You don't really think the Bears let Kreutz go because of half a million dollars, do you? Sure, I can understand the leadership argument and all, but the guy had to be replaced eventually, and his leadership didn't help much last year, IMO. All the bobbleheads called Chicago's OL the worst in the league last year so it's not like Olin was irreplaceable. At the very least, you're putting 20 more pounds between Suh, Raji, and your QB. I'm not a JA fan at all, but I can't knock a move they have made this offseason.

tcarl48489
Jul 31, 2011
07:24 PM

As a long time Bears fan, I don't see what's the big dea. He was obviously on the downside of his career. They gave up a boat load of sacks under his "leadership." Worst case scenario...another boatload of sacks. Made it to the conference title game with the worst line in the NFC. I'll take my chances.

JP Chicago
Jul 31, 2011
08:02 PM

Kruetz is well past his prime. The Bears had to do what they had to do - the inmates don;t run the asylum. Guys have to step up...

Goombar
Jul 31, 2011
08:16 PM

I don't think this is a big questionable move...

Come on Matt, the guy is 34. He's a center. He'll play against Raji, Suh, and Kevin Williams. Be honest, what are the odds he makes it the full season at his age?

The only questionable thing was why did they offer 4 mil.

mack
Jul 31, 2011
09:02 PM

They should have kept him as he is better than anyone they can bring in.
However they did offer him $4 million for one year and he should have accepted it.

I've taken a few minutes to digest this beyond my initial protest and maybe the Bears are just going to suck it up and coach somebody to play the position.

Being a Packer fan, I wasn't happy to see Jenkins, Barnett and Tauscher go either but you can't sign everyone and the GM's job is to protect the nucleous for the future. At least Kreutz was given an offer.....and he turned it down so I can't feel that badly for him then

Sirscorps
Jul 31, 2011
09:19 PM

As a long time Green Bay fan, I couldn't be more happy w/the moves Chicago has made this off-season although cutting Chester Taylor was a good move even though it was a year too late.

Who is replacing Olsen? I see that his numbers went down significantly in the 2nd half of '10 although he had a big game v. Seattle in the playoffs. He seemed to give Green Bay a bit of a fit just about each time they had played too. Curious transaction none the less.

Chicago better hope that Knox continues to progress the way he has been so far & that Williams will actually be an upgrade too because Hester is nothing more than a #3 wr & i'm not sure if Bennett will be anything more than a #2. I guess what i'm trying to say is that, i'm certainly not expecting "The Greatest Show In The Windy City" anytime soon.

Sirscorps
Jul 31, 2011
09:24 PM

As a long time Green Bay fan, I couldn't be more happy w/the moves Chicago has made this off-season although cutting Chester Taylor was a good move even though it was a year too late.

Who is replacing Olsen? I see that his numbers went down significantly in the 2nd half of '10 although he had a big game v. Seattle in the playoffs. He seemed to give Green Bay a bit of a fit just about each time they had played too. Curious transaction none the less.

Chicago better hope that Knox continues to progress the way he has been so far & that Williams will actually be an upgrade too because Hester is nothing more than a #3 wr & i'm not sure if Bennett will be anything more than a #2. I guess what i'm trying to say is that, i'm certainly not expecting "The Greatest Show In The Windy City" anytime soon.

Sirscorps
Jul 31, 2011
09:24 PM

As a long time Green Bay fan, I couldn't be more happy w/the moves Chicago has made this off-season although cutting Chester Taylor was a good move even though it was a year too late.

Who is replacing Olsen? I see that his numbers went down significantly in the 2nd half of '10 although he had a big game v. Seattle in the playoffs. He seemed to give Green Bay a bit of a fit just about each time they had played too. Curious transaction none the less.

Chicago better hope that Knox continues to progress the way he has been so far & that Williams will actually be an upgrade too because Hester is nothing more than a #3 wr & i'm not sure if Bennett will be anything more than a #2. I guess what i'm trying to say is that, i'm certainly not expecting "The Greatest Show In The Windy City" anytime soon.

MikeinLA
Aug 01, 2011
12:20 AM

While Spaeth is a decent player, he is not Greg Olsen. That was a poor move, but no less than we would expect from Martz. The point is, why bother to improve when you know much of your time and effort will be spent changing Jay Cutler's diaper.

BDN
Aug 01, 2011
01:24 AM

Matt, seriously? Spencer isn't an upgrade over Kreutz? Did you even watch the Bears O-line play last year? Everyone criticizes the Bears for not improving their line, then when they try to, they get criticized for that? I'm not a big Angelo fan, but let's face facts--the Bears had their best draft in, what, a decade?--they finally got more talent at wide receiver (and big guys, at that)--and they are starting to address their offensive line issues. Still, everyone, especially football media folks, are piling on Bears management. It's very strange.

cj
Aug 01, 2011
01:31 AM

i am wondering if some of you actually understand what you're watching when you watch football on sundays. olin was a great leader and player for several years, but he is way past his prime and is a liability. he should've taken 4mil and ran with it. he must be insane. time after time last season he was too slow to pick up his man and that either led directly to the sack, or forced cutler to change positions and led to a sack by a different guy, or forced a bad pass/interception because of the pressure. he is not capable of playing at an elite level anymore. i will agree with one of the earlier comments though: with or without him the line is terrible so it probably wont matter too much.

and because it wont matter too much, play a younger guy who could become a legit NFL center and pay him a lot less. i love Olin and respect the hell out of him for his time in chicago, but it is time to move on.

bob
Aug 01, 2011
01:34 AM

Loved Kruetz but dude was getting pushed around. He and his agent made a bad move too 4mil was a decent offer for an ancient lineman. Now he contemplating retirement and no $? Would have loved to pick up a guard to make us forget about him leaving like Harvey Dahl, Davin Joseph or Carl nicks. Too late on the first two but Nicks might move if Saints persuaded how bout that draft pick we got for Olsen. This needed to happen at some point and prob a blessing in disquise cuz Kruetz is done. Locker room leaders are hard to replace tho. Get a deal to Forte soon to get some faith from the players back in the front office and now time for Cutler to step up locker room presence and maybe learn to make some line calls to protect his own ass.

AB99
Aug 01, 2011
06:29 AM

cj and bob: +1. Kreutz was getting manhandled, shoved back into the pocket like he was on roller skates at times. Now I just want Blalock or Dahl or someone like that .. please JA please!!

mack
Aug 01, 2011
12:29 PM

Hey AB99

Dahl signed with the Rams

The only Dahl that the Bears have a shot at is Steve (now that his contract to CBS has expired)

mack
Aug 01, 2011
12:32 PM

Hey AB99

Dahl signed with the Rams

The only Dahl that the Bears have a shot at is Steve (now that his contract to CBS has expired)

tonysoprano
Aug 01, 2011
07:53 PM

This is becoming a sports media generated argument. Olin, a great Bear in his day no doubt, had declined. He is not worth $4M let alone $4.5M. It's not like the Bears did not offer him anything or offer him the veteran minimum....they offered him a nice contract.

And to the Packer fan from Chicago. I recall about 90% of Packer fans wanting Ted Thompson tar and feathered for dumping Favre. How did that work out for you? At times the Front Office does know what they are doing. Let's let this Olin/Spencer thing play out and see what happens.

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