On Sunday night, Chicago Bears offensive lineman J'Marcus Webb was stopped for speeding on I-57 in Pulaski County, Ill. The police found 2.5 grams of marijuana in Webb's car and charged him with possession of a controlled substance, cannabis and paraphernalia.
Luckily for Webb, Pulaski County State's Attorney Grayson Gile has decided to drop the charges, according to The Southern Illinoisan.
"I think it lends itself to a resolution that will be fair and equitable to all parties involved," Gile said.
The case had been set for a March 18 hearing but Gile said that won't be necessary. Webb appeared in Pulaski County Court on Monday and paid a $500 cash bond. That appears to be the extent of his punishment from the law, yet he'll still have to face the wrath of Bears brass.
The organization still trying to wipe away the bad taste of Sam Hurd, who will be spending a large portion of his life in prison due to multiple felonies for marijuana and cocaine distribution. While Webb's 2.5 grams of pot and a pipe aren't anywhere near Hurd's level of law breaking but it still makes the organization look bad, which is particularly painful for a family run team. It's unlikely the club will release Webb over this maleficence but the McCaskeys won't forget about it.
Webb, a former seventh-round selection in 2010, has been a starter in Chicago the past three years. He spent his rookie season at right tackle and the last two on the left edge. He has struggled mightily at times, looking like a turnstile in protection, yet he has shown steady improvement throughout his career. In fact, Pro Football Focus graded Webb the highest of any Bears offensive lineman last season.
But he's still not a cornerstone left tackle, at least not yet, and he's heading into the final year of his rookie contract. To this point, Webb's future in Chicago has always been in doubt. This was going to be the season where he showed whether or not he deserves to be a fixture in Chicago's offensive line for the foreseeable future. All that changes with the drug arrest.
Webb is a former winner of the team's Brian Piccolo Award and has otherwise been an upstanding citizen. He could still earn a well-paying extension following the 2013 campaign, but he's going to have to improve considerably more than he would have before the marijuana charge. If, following the season, the coaching staff and ownership are still on the fence about Webb, the drug citation will likely be the factor that sends him packing.
It's a tough situation for a player who's commitment has always been in question, so much so that Jay Cutler physically pushed him on the sidelines of last year's Week 2 contest against the Green Bay Packers. At his rate of development, it's conceivable that Webb turns into a bona fide NFL starter in the next year or two. But the apparent lack of focus, made all the worse by the drug arrest, will likely hurt his case in the eyes of head coach Marc Trestman and general manager Phil Emery, neither of whom were in Chicago when Webb was drafted.
All that said, if he comes out determined in 2013 and lights it up at left tackle, all will be forgiven. You can get away with a lot of you are consistently keeping your quarterback off the turf. So if he flips the switch and becomes dependable this year, he'll get extended. But if he's mediocre again, expect him to playing elsewhere in 2014.
Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. Follow Bear Report on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Bear Report Web site or magazine, click here.