After ending the 2012 season with seven sacks, there were high expectations for Corey Wootton at left defensive end for the Chicago Bears, but he found himself being kicked inside to tackle when the injuries started mounting up.
He handled that very well, despite knowing that his production and stat line would undoubtedly suffer.
Fast-forward through one of the worst defenses Chicago has ever fielded, and Wootton finds himself a free agent, and as Brad Biggs reported today, recovering from hip surgery.
#Bears DE Corey Wootton, who will be a free agent, underwent successful arthroscopic hip sugrery last week.— Brad Biggs (@BradBiggs) January 13, 2014
Wootton's surgery included hip labrum repair and a decompression of a terminal femoroacetabular impingement.— Brad Biggs (@BradBiggs) January 13, 2014
Phil Emery was high on Wootton at the end-of-year press conference, and noted that the 6'6, 271 pound defensive lineman could 'transcend' any defensive scheme, be it a 4-3, 3-4, or hybrid. Wootton is 26 years old, and definitely fits the mold that Emery is looking for, particularly in focusing on youth in 2014.
The Bears are expected to discuss a potential new contract for Wootton, but last week's hip surgery could delay that while they evaluate his progress.
We'll be starting our positional breakdowns in the next few days, and will have more on the defensive line then. In the meantime, do you think Wootton will be back? If the Bears part ways with Julius Peppers, it will be very interesting to see what that position will look like in 2014.