Welcome to The Chicago Homer’s Mailbag. It runs once a week unless it doesn’t, and in it I answer questions from readers via Twitter or email. The questions can be about any damn thing you please, and there likely isn’t a question I won’t answer. There may be questions I can’t answer, but I’ll try.
If you’d like to submit a question for the next edition of the mailbag it’s pretty simple. Either ask the question on Twitter using the #AskTCH hashtag — as long as you use the hashtag I will see it — or send an email to TCHMailbag@gmail.com.
The Bears haven’t made a major splash in free agency this spring, nor are they done rebuilding the roster as we’ll see an infusion of talent on the defensive side of the ball thanks to May’s draft. What they’ve done already, though, particularly on the defensive line, is improve the unit so far.
Or, at the very least, they’ve improved the defensive end position, even with the departure of Julius Peppers.
We all knew it was coming, but it’s official now. By releasing Peppers the Bears clear up over $9.8 million in cap space this season, and saves the team about $14 million overall.
Peppers was the major free agent signing before the 2010 season, and unlike a lot of major signings, he lived up to his deal. In his four seasons with the Bears Peppers had 38 sacks and never missed a game.
The math isn’t hard to figure out. The Bears need to make an upgrade on the defensive line this offseason, and one of the quickest ways to do that is on the free agent market. There just so happens to be a defensive end on the market named Michael Bennett, who happens to be the brother of Bears tight end Martellus Bennett. The same Martellus Bennett the Bears signed to a four-year $20 million deal last offseason.
So guess who the Bears are expected to go after pretty hard? Well, your mom was totally lying to you when she told you that you were smart, but it turns out you’re not entirely stupid either. It’s Michael Bennett.
Next year, as in every year, there will be debate about how good of a quarterback Jay Cutler is. Somebody somewhere — probably on ESPN — will ask whether or not Jay Cutler is “elite,” even though that word is nebulous when it comes to rating quarterbacks and doesn’t actually mean anything.
Let’s not forget that it’s a word that has been attached to Joe Flacco and Eli Manning too.
Now, while people will waste their time over that pointless debate, there is one aspect about Cutler in which there is no debate. His new deal with the Bears is “elite” enough to make sure that Cutler will have the largest cap hit of any player in the NFL next season.