Cliff Stein and company had a busy day at Halas Hall on Friday closing a lot of deals and tying up some loose ends as the calendar turns from May to June.
First came a tweet from agent Drew Rosenhaus about the contract extension for versatile defensive lineman Israel Idonije. Izzy has been a valuable, jack-of-all-trades lineman who has been a key contributor for the Bears on Special Teams and has served as a valuable backup along the defensive line in recent years. The deal he inked keeps him in Chicago through 2011 with $3 million in guaranteed money on a contract that could total $7 million.
“My first priority was staying in Chicago,” Idonije said Friday afternoon. “This will be my seventh season as a Chicago Bears and my No. 1 priority was to stay here and conduct business as usual, get healthy and be ready. That was my focus from top to bottom.”
I like his attitude and tone of his quote. He’s a good guy and a solid contributor whenever and wherever the Bears need someone to step up. Good for you Izzy!
Next came a barrage of draft pick signings, with seven of the Bears nine selections coming to terms on 4-year rookie deals. D.J. Moore, Johnny Knox, Marcus Freeman, Al Afalava, Lance Louis and Derek Kinder and Henry Melton all agreed to terms. Defensive tackle Jarron Gilbert and wide receiver Juaquin Iglesias still need to come to terms, but considering where they were drafted, it shouldn’t be long until they fall in line. I think the key will be to get Iglesias inked and running routes to get his timing down with QB Jay Cutler.
Finally, the biggest and boldest move for last. The Bears signed strong side linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa. He was cut by the St. Louis Rams as a offseason move because presumably they didn’t feel he fit with their new defensive scheme. He led the Rams in tackles in 4 of the last 6 seasons, including 135 last season. The move heats up the competition at linebacker, where he appears to be the early front-runner for the starting spot. The pressure is certainly on Hunter Hillenmayer, who was already set to be in an uphill battle with Nick Roach for the Sam linebacker spot. Speed and the ability to contribute on special teams will be a key to make the opening day roster.
Tinoisamoa played for Lovie Smith in his rookie year, so he should only need a crash course to get back in the swing of things with Lovie’s defense. Hopefully, this move works out better than the last Lovie Smith castoff brought back to Chicago. Adam Archuletta, anyone?
Topics: Adam Archuletta, Al Afalava, Chicago Bears, Chicago Bears Blogs, Cliff Stein, Dj Moore, Drew Rosenhaus, Henry Melton, Hunter Hillenmeyer, Israel Idonije, Jarron Gilbert, Jay Cutler, Johnny Knox, Juaquin Iglesias, Lance Louis And Derek Kinder, Marcus Freeman, NFL, Nick Roach, Pisa Tinoisamoa