As expected, the Raiders cut outside linebacker/defensive end Kamerion Wimbley on Friday, avoiding a big 2012 salary cap hit. Raider Nation’s loss could be Chicago’s gain. Strike that – it should be the Bears’ gain. Since the Bears missed out on the Mario Williams sweepstakes, and other top free agents like Jeremy Mincey and John Abraham are off the board, they should go after a consolation prize and Wimbley is just that.
Wimbley has been dominant in his appearances against the Bears. He torched the Bears for 4 sacks in a preseason game a couple of years ago and had a solid performance, including a long interception return, against the Cutler-less Bears in Oaktown last season.
Wimbley is currently listed as an outside linebacker, his 6’4″ 255 frame could be a rush end in the Bears’ scheme to play opposite Julius Peppers. With the Bears re-upping DE Izzy Idonije today, it’s becoming increasingly clear the Bears don’t feel they can find a big ticket DE solution in free agency.
As Sean Jensen reported this morning, the Bears have about $12.9 million in cap space left over, not including the deals they just inked with Idonije and Craig Steltz, so it’s tight but not impossible to get Wimbley. You figure they need about $5 million for the rookie pool and teams usually leave about $2 million in contingency (the emergency Josh McCown in-season signings, if you will).
That means they have about $6 million in cap space to go after Wimbley. They could clear some more space by giving Marion Barber the boot and other moves might be afoot. It will really depend what Wimbley commands on the market. I’ve heard the Patriots linked to Wimbley, but we just don’t know.
What do you think? Should the Bears go after Wimbley? Do you think they’ll be able to pull off a deal? Are you OK with Idonije and a draft pick opposite Peppers?