Will Chester Taylor get his walking papers during the offseason?

Rumor Mill: Bears Will Release Chester Taylor

We all know that football is a year-round sport nowadays and the longest part of the NFL season is upon us – the offseason.  Now the emphasis shifts from the action on the field to the action in the front office.  With nothing else to do, the rumor mill gets churning, so as these stories merit, we’ll discuss.  The focus of today’s Rumor Mill – Chester Taylor will be released this offseason.

CSN Chicago’s John “Moon” Mullin reported this about a week ago, but it must have gotten lost in the pre-Super Bowl hype.  Here’s what Moon reported in his post taking a first look at the 2011 Bears offense:

One source told CSNChicago.com that Chester Taylor would be cut after his one disappointing year at huge money, and at 32, Taylor’s arrow is definitely not pointing up. But the team has paid him already and is not under money pressure at the position because Forte and Taylor combined are far below elite money.

Matt Forte has been quietly campaigning for an extension and who can blame him after a solid bounceback campaign in 2010?  As for Taylor, I’m not breaking any news when I say he was disappointing, especially considering the $7 million pricetag for 2010 alone.  With another $1.3 million due next season, it’s no surprise that the Bears would consider sending Taylor walking.

Don’t forget that the Bears picked Harvey Unga up in last summer’s supplemental draft, giving up their 2011 7th round pick to draft him.  With little time to learn the offense and an already-crowded backfield, it’s shocking that Unga suffered a mysterious foot injury that sidelined him for the 2010 season.

The Bears also stashed Kahlil Bell on their roster this season but he didn’t appear in any games.  Add special teamer and Jerry Angelo pet-project Garrett Wolfe and you’ve got quite a crowd.  Wolfe will be an unrestricted free agent, so it will be very interesting to see if he figures into the Bears’ plans going forward.

If I had to handicap the race, I think the rumor mill is right on – look for the Bears to cut Taylor.  He did little more than short yardage and provide an occasional breather for Forte.  Figure Unga to compete for the short-yardage role and Bell and Wolfe to battle it out for the 3rd running back/special teams role.  It’s possible the Bears’ backfield next year is Matt Forte, Kahlil Bell and Harvey Unga.

What do you think?

It's rumored the Bears will release Chester Taylor. What's your take?

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Tags: Chester Taylor

  • http://warregime.com CJ

    How can you possibly release him when you have already given him the bulk of his contract. I say give him one more year and if he isn’t producing then all you are out is 1 million. I just don’t see what you expect when he gets less than 7 touches a game. Not to mention the fact that our running game was non exist for the first half of the season. He is more proven than anyone else behind Forte. I don’t like it.

    • Boomer

      I think you make a great point CJ. I was shocked they made the move in the offseason last year to begin with. You can usually fill backup running back spots through the draft. Besides, with Martz’s scheme the priority should not have been on a running back. Maybe they thought he would bring a different dimension to the passing game or his experience would be helpful in pass protection. Either way, it’s another blown call by Angelo.

    • Ben

      It’s not about the money. It’s about the roster spot and the reps. The Bears have a nasty habit of sticking with the safe option and becoming attached to do-good in-house guys. The likes of Garrett Wolfe, Rashied Davis, Rod Wilson and Craig Steltz. These players and others from the past whose upside was never better than “Special Teams contributor” held roster spots and took practice reps from guys who might have actually been developmental prospects with starting potential one day.

      Granted, finding those UDFAs and practice squad players is tough and there’s a higher bust/knucklehead factor than sticking with known quantities but you need to take those risks. There’s a reason the Bears almost never develop players in house, especially on offense, and never seem to score a Pro Bowler out of the blue. It’s because they are too willing to reward the nice guys and keep guys around at a cheap price in hopes that they “bounce back” or “blossom”.

      The Bears need to dump Taylor (and Wolfe) in order to get Unga and Bell, in addition to a late round rookie/UDFA or two, onto the field. They need to figure out if they can play, if they can’t they need to move on. Sooner is better and Taylor, while affordable this year, stands in the way of that.

  • lindemrm

    I would have no problem keeping him around, but if we wanna give Unga and Bell a shot at some playing time, it would make more sense for us to try to ditch Taylor. I would think since we have him under a relatively inexpensive contract we should be able to get at least a 5-6th round pick for him.

    • Boomer

      Don’t think we get any draft picks. $1.3 million a year for a backup running back is big bucks for that position, especially for a 32-year old on the down side of his career.

  • Phil

    Unfortunately the mistake has already been made at the price tag of 7M. They should have let Bell take the role and spent that money on the O-line. Taylor was terrible this year. I say let him go.

    • Boomer

      Totally agree. The Bears took advantage of an uncapped year and spent foolishly. Depending on what happens with the salary cap, $1+ million that Taylor is due may not seem like much, but with so many holes to fill, they may choose to spend the money elsewhere.

      • Phil

        Any new word on this Boom?

  • Fredrick

    I say give him another shot, the Bears should have used him a lot more as a part of their offense. If they cut him who else is going to punch the ball in the Endzone when it comes down to goal line situations, Forte is great , but he scares me every time the Bears get to the goal line b/c he either fumbles, or he stutter steps too much instead of picking a direction to run in and executing, Taylor is great for these type of situations, I mean the bears should know by now that game can’t be won off just kicking field goals, and he also needs to get more touches if they expect him to have a productive season.

    • Boomer

      Fredrick – I agree that Taylor didn’t get much of a shot and I think that’s partially on Martz but also a statement that Taylor doesn’t offer much different from Forte. The Bears took out an expensive insurance policy since Forte had a rough sophomore season and like many times, you don’t end up using the insurance.

      To answer your question about goal line, look for Unga to take on the roll of the short yardage/goal line back. He’s got about 20 lbs on Forte and had success in that type of role.

  • Mr. Pickles

    There’s no arguing that Taylor had a historically bad year for a RB; however, in his defense I would have to think this year was an anomaly and he would be more productive next year. On the other hand he really isn’t a compliment to Forte and if all you want to do is give him a breather once in a while Bell (who I thought looked good in limited opportunities) can certainly accomplish that. Who knows what they’ve got in Unga, it wouldn’t exactly be out of character for Angelo to jump the gun and blow a draft pick. At 32 you gotta think Taylor is gonna be the odd man out. A trade would be nice to get something for him, doubt anyone would be willing to give up much value for him though.

    • Boomer

      Didn’t think of the trade possibility. Given the season he had and the money/years left on the contract of a 32 yr old running back, I doubt you’d be able to even recoup the 7th rounder you spend on Unga.

  • Bears Fan at Heart

    Chester is an amazing athlete…hands down. The Bears were aware of his age when they first signed him, why use that as a cop-out? He has amazing hands in the backfield and always delivers on the plays in the endzone. Cutting him this prematurely??? Where is the faith that should have been present when he was first signed with us? Why would we be so quick to make a rash decision? Give it more thought…he did assist in getting us to the NFC Championship.

    …and he is a great person

    • Boomer

      Well, since he’s a great person, that changes EVERYTHING. Maybe they should give him an extension for MORE money. Let’s face it, this is still a business and the Bears will have to make a business decision.

  • Chicago Irish

    There are two things that I don’t understand about possibly releasing Taylor:

    1. All I have ever heard for the past few years is in the NFL you need a proven back-up at RB. Gone are the days of the main back taking 95%+ of the snaps. So if Forte were to go down next year (even for a week or two) who would you feel more confident with? Taylor? Or a guy with (my favorite word) “potential”?

    2. Did Tayor even play this year? I watched every snap of every game, and I swear I can count on both hands the number of plays he was in on. Did the Bears see something in practice during the season that made them realize they made a mistake?

    • midnightblue

      The games I watched I saw Taylor repeatedly fail to make it through holes. I felt like he was used too much. He would have been fine in short yardage and goal line situations but not for one in three series.

  • DeCon

    The fact is, Taylor didn’t play much during the season, so there is something Martz wasn’t comfortable with. That said, the majority of the money went out the door on Day 1, so if the Bears have to cut their losses to spend money more wisely elsewhere (i.e. Forte extension), then so be it. Now outside of a Forte extension, do I have confidence Angelo will spend the money wisely??? Hell NO, but the Taylor money is already water under the proverbial bridge…

  • City

    The Bears WILL and SHOULD cut Chester Taylor. Up through the last three weeks of the season, Chester was getting 1/3 of the reps, and gaining 1/6 of the rushing yards. He was terrible. He’s too small for the grass-based rushing game that Chicago evolved to, and he played like a guy who made his big paycheck (and like Todd Collins) didn’t care anymore.

    The reason they WILL and SHOULD cut Chester is because next year Chester will make TWICE as much as Forte! That’s right, Forte (i believe this is correct) is expecting a whopping $500K in salary. That’s going to change before training camp (and Forte’s walkout) is completed.

    You WILL see an extension for Forte, and you will see CT disappear.

    PS: I will make one caveat: IF (and this is an enormous IF) Chicago’s Park District realizes it’s time to update the turf at Soldier’s Field, then CT’s style of play will be better suited to what Martz WANTS to do.

    PPS: We need to start a billboard that says Fire Tim Mitchell, the Park District head, and hire one who puts in the new artificial turf!

  • LJ

    I would much rather have Taylor as a third down back vs an unproven Bell/Wolfe. In marts offense pass catching/blocking are vital. Forte is yet to prove he is reliable in this category and what do we know about harvey unga. I say cut Bell and Wolfe, hang on to Taylor for the 1.3 mill and your backfield is stacked