Expect Bears To Address Defensive Tackle Position Via Draft
Bears GM Jerry Angelo stuck to his proclamation last Friday, concerning the NFC North Champions’ agenda to issue a slew of roster changes this week.
The club went ahead Monday, letting go of former Pro Bowl defensive tackle Tommie Harris; while ending the deals of linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer (did not play in ‘10) and back-up offensive tackle Kevin Shaffer.
However, when asked about Harris last week, coach Lovie Smith traveled the other route:
“Every player that’s on our roster right now fits into our plans,” Smith said when asked specifically about Harris. “Every day I’ve been on the job, Tommie’s been there. All those things will take care of themselves. Tommie has a contract with us. It’s a little hard for me to talk about players that don’t have a contract. Tommie has a contract with us.”
Lovie seems to never disappoint us; whereas, Angelo is a “straight shooter” in every sense of the imagination.
Harris, the 14th overall choice in the 2004 draft, made three Pro Bowls and one second-team All Pro selection with the Bears. He started 90 of 104 career games for the Bears in seven seasons, but was dropped because of his sputtering performance and health. In just six starts during the 2010 campaign, he produced only 18 tackles, 1.5 sacks and two fumble recoveries. The former Sooner standout was due a $2.5 million roster bonus in June.
Count on the Bears upgrading the position left by Tommie in the Draft:
Angelo – “I made the statement that the defensive line position is very good again this year, it’s probably as good or better than last year in part because of the underclassmen at that position.”
Defensive tackles on the current roster: Anthony Adams (seeking extension), Matt Toeaina (signed new deal in December), and the emerging Henry Melton. I wonder if Corey Wootton will receive an opportunity to play inside in 2011. Nonetheless, watch the team to be aggressively active trying to better the guys next to Julius Peppers on the defensive line.