I’ve many times wondered what ever happened to so and so? Did the Bears do the right thing by letting them go? This year I decided to track most of them, out of the ones I followed there is only one that, with hindsight, after the fact, I question. The following is an update on free agents and players traded by the Bears who were on the team in 2012. (The hardest part of this project was cutting down from 20,000 words to 3,500).
The Arizona Cardinals signed Guard Chilo Rachal for the veteran minimum of $715,000. Rachal was among the lowest rated starting guards in the league last season before getting benched in favor of Chris Spencer. He then simply abandoned the team for a day and ended up finishing out the season on the reserved/non-football related list . He earned his full $700,000 salary while on the reserved list but couldn't return to the team. Rachal is just 26 and has some upside as a run blocker, but he's going to have to compete for a roster spot during the Cardinals pre-season.
After 3 weeks of pre-season play Rachal has graded out, below average against 2nd and 3rd stringers. Rachal has been in on 67 of a possible 209 snaps. In his first week against Green Bay Rachal received a terrible overall grade, he was negative in both pass and run plays, allowing 4 quarterback hurries. He rebounded in week two against Dallas, grading out at slightly above average. Week 3 against San Diego, Rachal was in on only 4 snaps and had a neutral grade.
Rachal probably had a life preserver thrown to him when first round pick Jonathon Cooper broke his leg. Cooper had surgery and will be out about 12 weeks. In the meantime Arians has switched some lineman around and Rachal has a chance to make the team as a backup. If Cooper hadn’t been injured Rachal would probably not make the team.
The Bears made the right call in not resigning him.
The Carolina Panthers signed cornerback D.J. Moore, to a one-year contract for the vet minimum of $715,000 with a $65,000 signing bonus. The ball-hawking four-year veteran was the Bears' nickel back for most of the past three seasons, but was demoted late in 2012. He should serve in the same capacity in Carolina. In the slot since 2010, Moore has notched 118 tackles and 10 interceptions over his past 42 games.
Moore is currently 3rd on the depth chart, behind Josh Norman and Captain Munnerlyn. D.J. saw some action in Carolina’s 2nd pre-season game against Philadelphia. He was in on 37 of 77 snaps as the nickel back. Overall he played pretty well in the game, registering 4 tackles, 1 assist and 2 run stops. He was targeted 3 times and gave up 3 catches for 18 yards, one of the catches was for a 7 yard loss. He contained the receiver.
In the week 3 pre-season game against Baltimore D.J. Played 25 of 83 snaps as the nickel back. Grading out ok, not outstanding, but did his job. He was targeted 4 times and gave up 2 catches for 31 yards. He also had 4 tackles, 1 assist and 1 run stop. Late in the third qtr the Ball Hawk intercepted Tyrod Taylor and ran 31 yards for a score. Most of Moore’s play has been against 2nd and 3rd stringers, but he has played well. He has a good chance to make the Panthers 53 man roster.
Bears didn’t get hurt by not resigning him.
The Cleveland Browns agreed to terms with TE Kellen Davis, on a one-year contract for veteran minimum. The Browns have now signed Davis and Gary Barnidge to offset the losses of Ben Watson and Alex Smith. Davis caught just 37 passes over the past two seasons with the Bears. Coach Rob Chudzinski's/Norv Turner’s offense makes heavy use of tight ends. As of now, Jordan Cameron is the favorite to catch passes and Gary Bainbridge is number two on the depth chart. The former Bear’s starting tight end is battling for a roster spot, he is currently the third tight end on the depth chart. The Browns have lined him up off the line of scrimmage a few plays, for blocking purposes.
Davis was the starting tight end for the third pre-season game against Indianapolis, his previous two outings he was playing with the second and third string teams. After 3 weeks of pre-season play Davis has graded out below average on 100 out of a possible 198 snap counts. Kellen has been used primarily as a blocking tight end, he has given up 1 quarter back hit. He has been targeted 6 times with 3 catches for 22 yards with no drops. Davis will probably make the roster, the guys behind him haven’t shown much, although Bainbridge has been a better blocker, he was targeted once and dropped it.
The Bears made a good decision by letting him go.
The Browns signed Jason Campbell to a two year contract for $3.75 million with $500,000 guaranteed the first year. He is the back up to Brandon Weeden. Brown’s coach Rob Chudzinski had been saying, up until last week, that Campbell and Weeden would be competing for the starting job and it was just too close to call. That is the epitome of coach BS. Apparently offensive coordinator Norv Turner didn’t get the memo, "We're getting Brandon ready to be the starter,'' Turner told The Plain Dealer after the first pre-season game. Campbell did not have a series with the first team.
After three weeks of pre-season play Campbell has graded out as above average. He has played all his snaps against 2nd and 3rd teams. He has 26 completions out of 35 attempts for 255 yards and 1 TD with 7.3 yards per attempt. He has had no interceptions and has been sacked 6 times. Campbell is a prototypical "system quarterback", formerly known as a "game manager". Campbell has attempted 3 passes of 20 yards or more and has completed 1 for 25 yards. Most of his passes have been 9 yards or less over the middle, he has completed 11 of 15 of those passes.
Campbell is a competent backup quarterback who won’t lose the game for you, on the flip side he alone isn’t going to win many games either, he needs a good cast surrounding him and a good defense to keep it close.
The Bears made the right decision in letting him go. He is probably a better back up than Josh McCown, but the cost differential is too extreme.
It didn’t take long for defensive lineman Israel Idonije to be convinced Detroit was the right place to be when he signed a one-year deal with the Lions for $840,000 with a $65,000 signing bonus.
Quote to the media from Izzy: "Detroit, when I look at the opportunities that lie there, it’s such a great opportunity because everything starts with vision," he said. "And after getting some time to spend with coach (Jim Schwartz) and Martin Mayhew, it was clear that the vision was in line and they were focused on taking that next step to have a championship season." Idonije isn’t promising a Super Bowl quite yet. He did play on the Bears team that made it to Super Bowl XLI. He sees all the right pieces in place for the Lions to have success on both sides of the ball. "So they have the weapons and the pieces in place," he said. "It’s just now everything kind of solidifying, coming together, everybody buying into the vision, putting in the work necessary during training camp and then execution on Sundays. "That is an attractive proposition, especially for someone in my position. I want to go to a team that is ready to win now, is ready to win today and Detroit I firmly believe is in that position."
Israel played in two pre-season games, and was on the field for 45 out of a possible 146 snaps. After his play in the two games he graded out as slightly above average against Cleveland and New England, with minimal statistical impact. He had 1 QB hurry, 2 tackles and 2 run stops with no penalties.
I wanted Chicago to resign him, but in hindsight it may have been the best for both parties to move on.
The Miami Dolphins signed free agent Lance Louis to a one year contract totaling $1.6 million, with a $100,000 signing bonus. Part of the contract is a $25,00 workout bonus and a $763,750 bonus if he makes the 53 man roster, the base salary is $715,000. Lance is coming back from an ACL injury, thanks to Jared Allen.
In somewhat of a surprising move to some Dolphins fans the Dolphins cut Lance Louis to trim down to the 75 man roster. The reason is probably money, Louis is due a $763,750 bonus if he makes the 53 man roster. My opinion is that Miami made a bad decision in signing him in the first place. Lance suffered an ACL injury at the end of November, Lance Louis is not an Adrian Peterson, who has super human recuperative powers. It may be a few months before Louis is NFL ready to play again.
Louis was on the third team behind John Jerry and Josh Samuda. He played in the week 2 game against Houston for 19 snaps, and graded out as average against 3rd stringers. He is still not 100% recovered from his ACL injury. In the third pre-season game against Tampa Bay he played 37 of 87 snaps and had a mediocre game at best, allowing one quarter back hurry. Back up right guard Josh Samuda has been getting most of the snaps because starter John Jerry was injured earlier in the pre-season and according to local news reports they wanted to bring Louis back in gradually . Jerry will be the starting guard by the time the season starts. Louis is a better guard than Samuda, but he hasn’t healed yet and costs 4 times as much as Samuda.
The Bears made the right call on this one. Although Louis did a good job for the Bears when he was healthy, why take a risk on an injured (ACL) player when you have Slauson and Long.
After a couple of off the field incidents led to Rodriguez’ release by the Bears this offseason, the Dolphins signed him a day later and he’s been in competition with incumbent fullback Jorvorskie Lane ever since. Rodriquez is currently ranked second on the depth chart behind Lane and the Dolphins will probably keep just one fullback.
In the pre-season game against the Bucs he showed his athletic abilities, by catching two passes and having a very positive grade as a lead blocker. On the first pass Rodriquez came out of the backfield into the flats and had five yards of separation between himself and the trailing linebacker. He ran a similar flat route later and made two defenders miss with a cutback and picked up nine yards.
So far this pre-season Rodriquez has been used primarily as a run blocker. He has been targeted four times and has caught all four passes. Miami hasn’t given either fullback a lot of snaps so far. Rodriquez has had 40 snaps out of a possible 300, while his competitor, Jorvorskie Lane has had 30 snaps out of the 300 and has been targeted with one pass and has no catches. Rodriquez has been doing a better job of run blocking than Lane has. Rodriquez has a good shot at making the team as their full back.
On 8/27/13 the Dolphins released Jorvorskie Lane in a surprise move. That leaves Rodriquez as the only listed FB. Miami has been moving away from the traditional fullback position and is starting to use the tight end behind the line of scrimmage, Rodriquez is very familiar with the H Back position.
The Bears may of pulled the trigger a little too quickly on this one.
The Oakland Raiders signed Nick to a 4 year contract for $13,000,000, this includes a $3,185,000 signing bonus with a total of $5,000,000 guaranteed.
First impressions count for a lot, and even if the bar is low, middle linebacker Nick Roach is making some pretty good ones with the Raiders. Teammates and coaches have not only been impressed with his knowledge and vision of things unfolding on the field, but Roach has also shown some athleticism that hasn’t been seen at the position in quite some time. Roach is replacing former first round draft pick Rolondo McClain. McClain never lived up to his high draft position and had many issues on and off the field. McClain was released by the Raiders then picked up by the Ravens only to retire a few days later.
During practice, Nick stayed with Pro Bowl fullback Marcel Reece on a deep pass pattern, and the fans in attendance in Napa almost feinted. He later covered running back Darren McFadden pretty well too. Roach’s predecessor, Rolando McClain, would never have been able to keep up with either one.
Coach Dennis Allen said, "I’ve been extremely impressed with him as a young man, the way he goes about his business. He’s extremely smart. He’s just as good against the run as the pass. He was outstanding in Chicago, but he just happened to be in the shadow of Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher." Roach played both the outside and middle in six seasons for Chicago, but will be the play-making middle linebacker and leader, the Raiders hope, that McClain never was. "I talk about guys that we want on this team that love football, are willing to work and put the team first," Allen said. "He epitomizes all three of those characteristics."
The Oakland coaches, fans and teammates love Nick Roach. He was probably a slightly above average linebacker with the Bears. When asked about the Bears in an interview Nick had nothing but high praise for the Bears’ organization, coaches, teammates and fans, truly a class act.
Personally I’m happy Nick got his payday. He is a good fit for Oakland, but too high priced for the Bears to sign him. He will be a cornerstone for the Raiders as they rebuild over the next few years.
The Buccaneers acquired G/T Gabe Carimi from the Bears in exchange for a sixth-round draft pick in 2014. Bucs coach Greg Schiano said Carimi’s college coach Bob Bostad's "insider information" on Carimi was the biggest reason they acquired him. Carimi signed a two year contract with Tampa Bay for a total of $1.8 mil, non-guaranteed. Carimi said his experience with Bostad has aided his transition and added he will play wherever the Bucs want him. During a local interview Carimi said, "I'm just excited to be on a team that's good." Sounds to me like Carimi is taking a short armed punch at the Bears.
As of this writing Carimi is second on the Buc’s depth chart, behind right tackle Demar Dotson who signed a $7.5 million, four-year deal in March. Maybe Carimi didn’t have the work ethic the Bears wanted. But his injury, a dislocated knee, was so complicated and problematic that Carimi is still recovering from it. Carimi has acknowledging that he didn’t go all-out last season because he was being cautious about his knee.
The first two games of the pre-season Carimi played RT with the second team. He received plenty of playing time being in on 95 out of 150 snaps. His performance was rather lack luster, giving up 1 sack and 1 quarterback hurry. The third pre-season game the Bucs decided to start him at left guard for the ailing Carl Nicks. He didn’t allow a sack, but he did give up a quarterback hit, and was overpowered in the run game. In the fourth quarter of the Miami game Carimi had a false start penalty on first down while the Bucs were on their own 3 yard line, fortunately the Bucs completed a third down pass to get a first down and were able to punt later from their 24 rather than near their goal line. Through the first 3 pre-season games Carimi has graded out as slightly below average. Although Carimi hasn’t shown that he was a first round draft choice he has played well enough to probably earn a roster spot as a backup.
Bottom Line: The Bear’s made the right decision to trade him for a sixth round pick. The probability is he wouldn’t have beaten out Jordan Mills, Scott, Britton or Webb for the right tackle or guard spot and there is no way he could beat out Long or Slauson.
Spaeth returned to his roots with the Pittsburg Steelers only to suffer a Lisfranc injury. He has had surgery and they may designate him as eligible for return. He will be out 6 to 8 weeks. Spaeth had signed a two year $2,000,000 contract with the Steelers, he received a $275,000 signing bonus.
Again, another case that it is probably in the best interest of both to move on.
Urlacher wasn’t resigned by the Bears and then tested the free agent market before deciding to retire. Urlacher is currently an analyst for FOX Sports. My personal opinion; he is not very good as an analyst or TV personality. He just doesn’t look comfortable in front of the camera or behind a mic. He will be elected to the Hall of Fame and will be remembered as another one of the great Bear linebackers.
Again, another case that it is probably in the best interest of both to move on.
Nolan appeared in one game for the Bears last year and statistically did nothing. Currently he is the fourth string free safety for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Nolan has played 14 snaps this pre-season and has one missed tackle for his stats. Nolan didn’t make the 75 man roster and was cut this week.
Spencer was signed by the Tennessee Titans for a 1 year contract worth $905,000 with a $65,000 signing bonus. He is currently listed as the number 2 left guard behind Andy Levitre on the depth chart. The first 2 pre-season games Chris played the center position and graded out as average against 2nd and 3rd stringers. He played 60 out of 137 snaps. He didn’t allow any sacks and had 1 QB hurry against him. In the third game he played left guard on the second team in 27 out of 63 snaps, with 1 penalty. He graded out as average. He should make the 53 man roster as a backup guard/center. He wouldn’t of made the Bears 53 man roster.
Again, another case that it is probably in the best interest of both to move on.
Amobi is still a free agent. The Cowboys showed some lukewarm interest but nothing came of it. The former 2007 first round draft pick of the Houston Texans has not played up to expectations. If Amobi plays this year it will probably be with a team like the Raiders, at minimum veteran salary in a backup role.
The 2011 undrafted free agent for the Bears is currently on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers roster, listed on the depth chart as the fourth middle linebacker. Dom has played 18 out of a possible 149 snaps in the first two pre-season games, did not play in the third game. His chance of making the team would be on special teams and that does not look good. He survived the 75 man cut, the odds are against him making the 53 man roster. I’m guessing he survived the 75 man cut so he could play in the final preseason game, protecting the starters and having one last chance to prove himself.
Geno signed a two year contract with Jacksonville Jaguars for $1,950,000, with a $125,000 signing bonus. Geno is listed as a starting outside linebacker. Against Miami in week 1 Geno had an overall grade of average. In preseason game 2 against the New York Jets, Geno graded out as average. In preseason game 3 against Philadelphia he graded out as, you guessed it, average. So far he has 10 tackles, 1 assist, 1 missed tackle and 6 run stops. Not bad, not great, he is holding his own on a bad team.
It was in the best interest of both parties to part ways.
Last year Bell refused to take a pay cut and was released by the Bears. The New York Jets picked him up and used him sparingly before releasing him. Bell was picked up by the Bears, at league minimum, to finish out the season. This year the Jets picked him up again. Bell may of gotten lucky, since Mike Goodson will be suspended the first 4 games. When Goodson returns it is very unlikely Bell stays on the team.
More from Windy City Gridiron:
- The Bears Den: August 28, 2013 - Preseason news and notes
- Chicago Bears injury report: Update on Earl Bennett, Henry Melton, DJ Williams
- Chicago Bears Roster Cuts: Matt Blanchard no longer a Bear, roster at 75
- Four Chicago Bears fighting for their careers this Thursday Night
- The Bears Den: August 27, 2013 - Preseason news and notes
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- Chicago Bears 2013 season preview: Q/A with SB Nation
- Ten Thoughts on the NFL: Chicago Bears and beyond