With the recent news of Alex Brown being cut by the organization (and then subsequently picked up by the Saints), there has been a lot of outcry stating that the Bears are foolish to have cut him, and the team is doomed and there's no way that Idonije and Anderson will ever be able to fill the void he leaves.
You know what? People may be right. Maybe he has that intangible quality that was holding the defense together. I don't think so, though, and I'm here to take a bit of a devil's advocate position here.
The Chicago Bears will be perfectly fine without Alex Brown.Let me preface this, as I said, I like Alex Brown. I've loved watching him since he was brought in, and thought he performed admirably, solidly, and with nothing but class during his tenure in Chicago. I'm thrilled he was able to get a good deal down in New Orleans, and I hope that we get the chance to watch him play the Bears this year. (Yes, in the playoffs. There's something about Bears-Saints playoff games that's fun. Maybe it's because the Bears have won them recently.)
That said...it's still just a matter of business.
Alex Brown's performance simply wasn't at a level that commanded the salary he was going to make. Many have been saying (for a while, and for good reason) that Nathan Vasher wasn't earning his keep, because his inability to get to the field and perform just didn't match his contract. While I'm not saying that Brown has any of those kinds of problems, it's the general idea. The performance received doesn't match the cash paid out.
Look at Ogunleye. He had similar numbers to Brown, though not quite as high in total tackles. (I believe he did, however have .5 more sacks and a forced fumble.) No one is suggesting that the Bears are worse off without his production, or that 'Wale should've been making nearly five million dollars per year.
I've seen many a comment that suggests that "It's an uncapped year, why wouldn't you just pay it?" The fact that it's an uncapped year is all well and good, but still, you don't spend money just because you have it. As fans, we can often have a hard time separating the fact that a team is worth a bajillion dollars from the fact that they're also run as businesses, and aren't always going to be willing to bleed money because a guy's got character and the fans like him.
The team still has pressing needs, and that kind of money should allow them to better address those concerns.
They'll get similar production from Idonije and Anderson. They're looking for solid, but average numbers here, and there's no reason to think they can't get them. While I think we may all agree that Anderson might never be an every down defensive end, it doesn't appear they intend to repeat that mistake.
You can't, though, be too mad at the team for getting the same value for less money, especially when you want them to spend to get other players who may be more important to the scheme.