No Safe Ground

Jerry Angelo came to the Bears last June and made an immediate impact in training camp by cutting high priced veterans, such as Bobby Engram, Mike Wells and Thomas Smith. Proving that no one on the roster is untouchable, which set a president for the future.

This off-season other veterans could be let go for salary cap reasons particularly Marcus Robinson.

Angelo recently said the Bears can afford to pay big money to about 10 core players--five on each side of the ball. He identified the positions on offense as quarterback, running back, wide receiver and two offensive linemen.

Who is the one receiver? It might end up being Marty Booker, a restricted free agent after setting a team record with 100 receptions. The Bears will likely make a qualifying offer that allows them to match any offer Booker receives or get a first-round draft pick as compensation if he leaves. They would prefer to sign him to a long-term deal, but don't want to spend too much at one position.

The Bears signed rookie David Terrell to a five-year deal that could be worth more than $20 million if he meets incentive bonuses in the last two. Terrell was given a team-record $7.3 million signing bonus; $3.3 million of it deferred until March. Terrell, who bypassed a year of eligibility to enter last year's draft, showed promise as a rookie, catching 34 passes for 415 yards and four touchdowns.

Leaving the Bears with two high priced receivers in Robinson and Terrell, while Booker could soon become a third.

Angelo has talked about not putting too much money at one position.

"Sometimes you have to go to players then and say listen you got to take a haircut if you're going to stay here this is what you have to have to do," Angelo said. "You see that go on commonly throughout the league that's why because teams feel like they're loaded at a position and they want to now keep this guy or bring this guy in, so we have to make a move with this player to do that."

Meaning Robinson could be asked to take a pay cut. He just finished the second year of a four-year, $14.4 million deal that included a $5 million signing bonus.

Marcus Robinson, who is the Bears top playmaker when healthy, missed five in 2000 and played in six games last season after suffering a torn anterior and lateral cruciate ligaments in his left knee. Because of Robinson's suspect health issues Angelo is not considering the receiver as a viable option for next season.

"I'm not treating Marcus Robinson as a serious piece (of the team) until we see how he progresses in the off-season," Angelo said. "Marcus has had unfortunately two years of injury history and I would be naive to think he's going to recapture that thunder and that's a given. We'll just have to wait and see."

How quickly things change. Two years ago Robinson had one of the most productive seasons in team history with 84 receptions for 1400 yards and 9 touchdowns.

Now Robinson will likely be asked to take a pay cut on a team where he could find himself as the third receiver? If he doesn't Robinson could be the Bears latest cap casualty.

Bear Report Top Stories