"We don't like paying you what we pay you right now. We want to pay you much less. If you don't agree, we'll fire you."
For many people, that is some kind of bizarre nightmare scenario where their world comes crashing down. For inconsistent performers in the NFL, it's a more standard transaction.
On Friday afternoon, a transaction showed up on the NFL transaction list showing that Webb had restructured his deal. Given that he was recently pulled from the first string offense, it was hard to imagine that they were restructuring for a long term deal. Then the terms came out:
This gives us a little bit of an insight into the Bears front office. If they were willing to issue that ultimatum, they aren't attached to the player at all. And why would they be? The people who brought him into the organization and championed him are gone. Someone who has been recently demoted isn't going to draw a lot of attention from other teams, so he is left with no choice.
More: Lester wonders, "Does Webb even want to play?"
The Bears, on the other hand, still have a lot of choice. It's a pretty smart move for them-should they end up in a situation where they need to keep Webb on their roster, they're now paying much less for someone who will likely be playing backup. If they end up letting him go anyways, they will still save the salary. For now, at least, they have created additional wiggle room with regards to the cap.
It truly is not an indicator of Webb's status, either. Many times, accepting the decrease will at least increase your chances of staying with the team. However, if Jonathan Scott can get and stay healthy in the next couple weeks, it's still hard for me to see Webb on the team. It's increasingly evident that Jay Cutler and even Matt Forte have their doubts about Webb's ability on the right side. If two of your top offensive players are searching for an alternate option, you're going to give it to them if possible.
A final concern about this is simply, did the Bears give up on offensive lineman Gabe Carimi too soon?
It's generally assumed that a big part of the Carimi move was in part because a new guard was drafted in Kyle Long, but also that his attitude towards rehab and training butted heads with the organization. However, in Carimi you had a player who had experience both the guard and tackle positions (albeit not great experience), and a player who had shown you some flashes before being hampered by injury. If Webb is ultimately not on this roster, does the trade of a former first round pick for a sixth hamper the organization?
We should know a lot more about the status of this offensive line once we see who the starters are on Friday, and who is first off the bench. Webb's seat right now is ablaze, and how he handles this will let us know if J-Webb Nation will still be headquartered in the Windy City.
More from Windy City Gridiron:
- The Bears Den: August 19, 2013 - Preseason news and notes
- Bears' Six-Pack Keys to Victory: Preseason Week 3, Raiders Edition
- Bears Sign QB Trent Edwards; Waive WR Jarrell Jackson
- Defensive Observations: Bears' Ends Take Advantage of Matchup
- Offensive Observations: Line's Performance a Confidence Booster