And you thought the Bears have quarterback problems ... at least they're not in deep. Real deep. That's where the San Francisco 49ers find themselves entering this season.
When ex-Bear J.T. O'Sullivan starts tonight the Niners will have $11.6 million worth of quarterbacks standing on the sidelines holding clipboards and listening to the play calls from Mike Martz on head sets. That's a fortune tied up in this year's salary cap.
Here's why: O'Sullivan signed a modest one-year deal for the minimum salary benefit and counts $645,000 against the cap for this season. Shaun Hill, based on a nice little run at the end of last season, got a three-year extension and will count $1.7 million against the cap this season. Then there's Alex Smith, the man chosen three spots ahead of Cedric Benson at No. 1 overall in the 2005 draft. Smith will count $9.916 million against the cap this season, part pf the $49.5 million, six-year contract he landed.
That's one of the key differences with the Bears. While their quarterback play has been average to spotty to plain bad during the salary-cap era, they've gotten what they've paid for. The Bears have never really invested big in a quarterback.
*** It's a little overcast at the stadium but there's a chance rain will pass Soldier Field by.
*** Saw Niners GM Scot McCloughan out on the field earlier. No sign of Bears GM Jerry Angelo shaking his hand. Maybe that will happen behind closed doors. It is the Lance Briggs Bowl after all.
*** Newly signed Thomas Gafford will serve as the long snapper as Pat Mannelly remains out with a neck stinger. Gafford won a tryout that included two other guys--undrafted rookie Matt Purvis and Nick Leeson. Purvis, from Iowa State, was with the Bears during rookie minicamp. Leeson has spent time with Baltimore and the New York Giants.
*** Just asking ... did Fox pick this for a national broadcast because the crew wanted to spend some time in Chicago?