Chicago Bears Release Veterans Slauson & Rolle

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /

After a promising draft this weekend, the Bears opened up some spots in the starting lineup for their new players by releasing guard Matt Slauson and safety Antrel Rolle, both of whom started in week one last season.

The Bears now have potential replacements for both players on the roster after drafting guard Cody Whitehair in round two, safeties Deon Bush and Deiondre Hall in round four, and safety DeAndre Houston-Carson in round 6. The Bears also added free agent guards Manny Ramirez and Ted Larson in the off-season and have young safety Harold Jones-Quartey already on the roster.

There were rumors that the Bears were shopping Slauson during the draft to pick up an extra pick. When they didn’t deal him, I figured he would be penciled in as the starter and at worst be depth and a potential mentor to Whitehair.

Slauson started 16 games last year, four at center, and was a versatile, effective interior linemen. He just turned 30 years old and was only making $3M plus incentives, so it’s not as if Slauson were on his last legs or a salary-cap albatross.

So why was Slauson released? New OC Dowell Loggains ran a zone-blocking scheme the last time he was calling plays with the Titans, so he may be looking for more mobile linemen. Slauson is more of a phone booth type, and both Whitehair and Larsen block well on the move. Or maybe it was strictly a financial move with the Bears not wanting to pay $3M+ for a backup linemen.

Just a season after being forced to start Vlad Ducasse and Patrick Omameh at guard, it seems a risky move for the Bears to cut loose a competent player like Slauson whatever the reason. I’m at a loss, but maybe time will shed some light on the decision.

Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports
Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports /

The release of Antrel Rolle made a lot more sense and arguably makes the Bears a better team. After a long career of good health and effectiveness at safety, Rolle missed nine games last season and was a liability while on the field. By all reports he was a good leader in the clubhouse and had a positive impact on rookie Adrian Amos, but his $6M price tag over the next two seasons was a bit much for a glorified coach.

The Rolle signing didn’t pan out and I’m glad GM Ryan Pace was able to realize that and cut his losses. The addition of three young safeties will increase competition at the position and hopefully an improvement over Rolle will emerge.