Another indication of how bad things have become is the fact that Alex Brown and Michael Haynes have flipped spots at defensive end. While the move could improve the pass rush, it appeared to be a last ditch effort.
Neither Brown nor Haynes worked at any other position during several off-season practice sessions. It took the duo getting shutout by the Rams, who were missing their two starting tackles, for the switch to get the go-ahead.
Miami Dolphins DE Adewale Ogunleye's contract holdout shows no immediate signs of ending. The Dolphins may be willing to deal Ogunleye if an attractive wide receiver or tailback were placed on the trading block.
The Bears have a running back that appears to wants to be somewhere else, in Anthony Thomas. When asked earlier in the week what his role on in the offense was he said, "I don't have one, I'm a backup."
Thomas missed the majority of training camp with a mysterious side injury and no timetable has been set for his return.
The kink in the deal is agent Drew Rosenhaus said Ogunleye would not sign off on a trade unless given a contract extension. The Dolphins cannot trade Ogunleye until he signs at least a one-year deal, which he has refused to do since being given a high restricted free-agent tender early in the off-season.
The Bears only have about $1 million under the salary cap and Ogunleye is seeking a $10 million bonus. Chicago would also have to absorb the remaining prorated bonuses of any players they trade.
However the Miami Herald reported that Ogunleye is willing to take guaranteed bonus money in several increments rather than all at once.
Ogunleye seems content to sit out all but six games this year if a contract extension or trade can't be worked out. By playing in six games Ogunleye would be eligible to become an unrestricted free agent following the 2004 season.
The Bears and Dolphins have had preliminary discussions, but it was more to gauge interest on both sides. Miami has a couple of holes to fill and would want more than Thomas for Ogunleye, who is coming off a 15-sack campaign and 24.5 over the past two seasons. The Dolphins lost WR David Boston for year during a non-contact drill and also need depth on the offensive line.
A three-man rotation of Brown, Haynes and Ogunleye could be what Lovie Smith needs to wreak havoc on the quarterback and make his defense work. Even if a trade can't be consummated, the recruiting of Ogunleye has already begun for next year.