One of the Chicago Bears’ own key free agents could be on the move as Israel Idonije’s days in the Orange and Blue appear to be numbered. The Bears have made a lot of moves this offseason but bringing back one of their popular veteran defenders hasn’t been one of them. The moves they have made this offseason could be paving the way for his exit.
While the Bears didn’t draft a DE until the sixth round in the draft, it seems like Cornelius Washington could be on the fast track to be a pass rush specialist. It’s clear that second year man Shea McClellin is expected to take the next step in his development and get more time on the field. Corey Wootton supplanted Izzy in the starting lineup late last season and finally looks like he could become a steady contributor. If the Bears brought back Idonije, would that stunt Wootton’s growth and limit his playing time?
The Bears dropped big money on free agents TE Martellus Bennett and LT Jermon Bushrod, but perhaps the biggest and most telling moves that could spell the end of Izzy’s time in Chicago are the additions of DE’s Turk McBride and Kyle Moore. Those valuable free agent dollars given to those fringe players under a very tight salary cap could have gone to Idonije.
Izzy recently visited the Tennessee Titans and while he didn’t sign anywhere before the draft, it is expected that he’d sign somewhere shortly after the draft. The Bears have a standing offer into Idonije but he has yet to pick up a pen.
My guess is that he wants more of an opportunity. The free agent riches are gone and now the players that are still unsigned are left to fight for scraps and veteran minimum deals, so I don’t think this is about money. Last offseason, Izzy accepted a low-money one-year deal with the hopes of getting a bigger commitment from the Bears but this offseason brought only an offer with a deeper pay cut. If Idonije signs elsewhere, the Bears will miss his versatility and leadership. The veteran has been with the Bears since 2004 as both a DT and DE.
What do YOU think? Should the Bears try to bring back Izzy?