Chicago Bears Release CB Tim Jennings


Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Wow. I thought it was strange that 2-time Pro Bowl corner Tim Jennings was on the field late in the 4th quarter on Saturday night against the Bengals, but I thought maybe he was just getting some extra snaps in at his new position as a slot corner. Instead, it appears that Jennings was playing for his job. The Bears decided to release Jennings this morning, despite the fact that he just signed a 4-year, $22M contract before the 2014 season.

If you’re surprised that the Bears couldn’t trade Jennings, who made the Pro Bowl in 2012 & 2013, he has a guaranteed $4.4M salary this season that made him all but un-tradeable. The Bears must have been pretty sure of their decision to take a $4.4M hit on the cap rather than have Jennings on the squad. The offseason signings of Alan Ball and Tracy Porter along with the strong play of both Sherrick McManis and Terrance Mitchell likely pushed Jennings into a backup role and it’s possible the team didn’t want to carry a veteran as their 5th or 6th DB. That is a position normally used for a development corner or special teams ace (like McManis last year).

It’s sad to see Jennings go, but he had a better than expected Bears career after they signed him as a free agent in 2010. Jennings was a 2nd round pick of the Colts in 2006 out of Georgia but struggled, never grading out positively for a season according to Pro Football Focus. He did made a handful of starts during his four years with the Colts, had 4 interceptions, and won a Super Bowl ring in 2006.

Once signing with the Bears, Jennings won the starting job opposite Charles Tillman and was a solid player from that point on. In Jennings five years with the Bears he started all but 6 games, had 16 interceptions, 3 TD returns, forced five fumbles, made two Pro Bowls (12, 13) and graded out positively every season with the Bears according to PFF.

This season Jennings was coming off an offseason knee surgery and never really looked like the former Pro Bowler fans were used to. The switch from the Cover 2 that Jennings excelled in to a new defensive scheme, the slow recovery from knee surgery, some promising young DBs, and a coaching staff with no ties to Jennings’ big contract all played a part in Jennings release from the Bears.

At 31 years old Jennings should still have some solid football left and I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up playing for Lovie Smith in Tampa Bay with a bunch of other ex-Bears or perhaps another team that runs primarily a cover 2 scheme. Signing Jennings was one of former GM Jerry Angelo’s best moves as they got a Pro Bowl caliber corner for barely above a minimum deal. Jennings was a big part of some dominant Bears defenses and I hope he catches on somewhere and has some late career success.

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