NFL teams typically don’t make many trades once the season begins, since new offensive and defensive systems can be tricky to learn on the fly, and salary cap considerations and draft pick compensation can make it challenging to find the right deal. However, the Bears were certainly active on Monday, consummating two trades that sent defensive players out of town. Chicago sent veteran pass rusher Jared Allen to the Panthers, then dealt linebacker Jon Bostic to the Patriots.
The Bears have lost their first three games, have seen their starting quarterback – Jay Cutler – go down with an injury, and have now traded away two key contributors on defense. Everything points to the team looking ahead to the 2016 season, as the rebuilding process continues under new head coach John Fox.
Here’s the latest out of Chicago, with plenty of items on those two trades:
- Ken Harris, Allen’s agent, tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link) that the trade process for his client began when Allen and Bears GM Ryan Pace discussed a mutually beneficial option for both of them. Presumably, both the player and team decided a trade would be the best course of action.
- Pace issued a statement yesterday, indicating that the Bears’ depth at linebacker allowed them to trade Allen, and adding that the team “will continue to be aggressive in finding ways to improve.” Head coach John Fox also noted that moving Allen will give Willie Young a chance to play more (Twitter links via Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune).
- The disastrous Allen contract is a good lesson for Pace and the Bears, who should focus on building through the draft in the future, rather than trying to build through free agency, writes Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune.
- As Jason Fitzgerald of Over the Cap observes, Allen is the third big contract jettisoned by the Bears this year — the team also cut Tim Jennings and his guaranteed salary, and traded Brandon Marshall to the Jets a year after extending him.
- Jeff Dickerson of ESPN.com believes it’s time for the Bears to listen on trade offers for running back Matt Forte, whose contract expires after the season. In Dickerson’s view, it’s also worth gauging interest on Cutler, Alshon Jeffery, and Martellus Bennett.
- As two defenders depart, another returns — nose tackle Jeremiah Ratliff is back today from his three-game suspension, and the Bears will have a roster exemption until Thursday for him, tweets Howard Balzer of The SportsXchange. By Thursday, Chicago will have to either cut Ratliff or cut someone else to create a 53-man roster opening.