The Chicago Bears cut two veterans today: safety Antrel Rolle and guard Matt Slauson.
With Rolle, the move was no surprise. He's 33 years old and played just seven games last season before landing on injured reserve. He's an aging veteran who did very little for the team last year and has no guaranteed money left in his contract.
With the Bears signing Omar Bolden in free agency and adding three potential safeties in this year's draft class, the writing was on the wall for Rolle.
The rationale for waiving Slauson is a bit more nebulous.
Slauson is arguably the most dependable, versatile offensive lineman on the roster. In terms of pure blocking skill and on-field intelligence, he's on par with three-time Pro Bowler Kyle Long.
In addition, Slauson was a leader in the locker and the glue that kept the offensive line together last season.
Like Rolle, waiving Slauson wasn't a huge surprise. The club signed Manny Ramirez and Ted Larsen in free agency, then spent a second-round pick on Cody Whitehair, all of whom are interior blockers. So again, the table was set for Slauson's departure.
Yet that doesn't make it the right move, as Slauson will be missed both on and off the field by the entire organization.
Here is the full press release:
The Chicago Bears released S Antrel Rolle and OL Matt Slauson.
"We thank Matt and Antrel for the dedication and leadership they brought to our organization," Bears General Manager Ryan Pace said. "Both men did everything we asked of them. Part of growing as a team is making difficult decisions like the ones we made today. We never take them lightly given the respect we have for everyone who has put on a Bears uniform. We wish each of them the very best as they move forward."
Rolle has seen action in 155 games with 146 starts over 11 seasons with Arizona (2005-09), the New York Giants (2010-14) and Chicago (2015), collecting 833 tackles, 26 interceptions – returning four for touchdowns, 71 pass break-ups, eight forced fumbles, six fumble recoveries and four sacks. In 2015, he started seven contests for the Bears producing 45 defensive tackles and one pass break-up.
Slauson has appeared in 88 games with 85 starts over seven seasons with the New York Jets (2009-12) and Bears (2013-15). He started 37 games during his time in Chicago (33 at left guard and four at center). In 2015 he started 12 contests at left guard and four at center.