Chicago Sun-Times

Bears sign Wootton, release Basanez

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The Bears signed a former Northwestern player and released another Wednesday.

The team signed ex-Northwestern defensive end Corey Wootton, a fourth-round pick, to a four-year deal. The announcement makes third-round safety Major Wright and sixth-round quarterback Dan LeFevour the only unsigned rookies heading into this weekend's mandatory minicamp at the team's practice facility.

To make room for him on the roster, ex-Wildcat quarterback Brett Basanez was released.

The Bears considered Wootton a value pick when the was still available 109 overall. He was projected by many to be a first-round pick before suffering a serious knee injury in the 2008 Alamo Bowl. On Monday, Mike Mulligan of the Sun-Times also reported that at least three NFL teams had downgraded Wootton not only because of a knee injury but because of a neck injury suffered during his freshman year. Tommie Harris and Chris Williams are two other recent draftees that were selected despite medical concerns that caused other general managers to downgrade them.

If Wootton can stay healthy, he could be a force. He started 49 of 53 games for the Wildcats and finished his collegiate career with 19.5 sacks and 38 tackles for a loss, including five in the last five games of his senior year. He also had sacks in four of those games and blocked four kicks in three years.

Basanez spent the first 15 games on the practice squad last season before being activated for the season finale against the Lions. He did not play in the game. He was originally signed by the Panthers as a free agent in 2006. He appeared in one game that season, completing six of 11 passes for 56 yards and one interception. He never took a snap in a regular-season game for the Bears.

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Lefevour is the man. We don't need no stinkin' Basanez.

Corey Wootton is one worth watching, because if this guy is healthy, he will be a force and a heck of a draft pick. But at the same time, if not, this pick will really sit the Bears back. Heading into the draft defensive end was a need. Chicago has Peppers, but who else? You got Mark Anderson, but I think Anderson would be better served as a third down end, not an every down starter. Then theres Isarel Idonije, who I think is better as an end vs tackle, but poor Idonije has probably come down with Danieal Manning syndrome. Meaning, thanks to the coaching staff, the guy really never got to develope at one position, is he an end or tackle? I think end is his best position, we'll see? The bottom line here is Corey Wootton better/needs to be ready to go. Hopefully being one year removed from his injury he'll be good.

As far as Brett Basanez goes, the guy had to see this coming with the drafting of Dan LeFevour (who I think will prove to be a steal), Basanez was the weak link with Cutler and Hanie above him on the depth chart, and I doubt the team was gonna hold onto 4 QB's. Knock Angelo all you want, but with Jay Cutler, Caleb Hanie, and now Dan LeFevour, the Bears are sitting pretty at the quarterback position, something you couldn't say in years past. Bears GM Jerry Angelo has done a hell of a job on the QB position over the past couple seasons GO BEARS!!

That was a good move. Now if the Bears could get a proven solid gaurd and release Bullcocks then things would even get better.

Jerry Angelo is a dreamboat. The bestest and the wonderfulest GM ever. If he was a Chippendale dancer, I'd put a $20 bill in his succulent Speedo. Dan LeFevour is the next Joe Montana. Bet on it. And get your Bumstead on!!

Kevin: "Knock Angelo all you want, but with Jay Cutler, Caleb Hanie, and now Dan LeFevour, the Bears are sitting pretty at the quarterback position, something you couldn't say in years past. Bears GM Jerry Angelo has done a hell of a job on the QB position over the past couple seasons GO BEARS!!"

Don't get me wrong, I do like everything I've seen from Caleb Hanie. He's mobile, strong-armed and reminds me a lot of a poor-man's Jay Cutler. He's also an unproven, inexperienced, 3rd-year QB who went undrafted which is how he landed with Chicago. LeFevour shows average arm strength at best and comes from a spread offense. He's big and mobile but he will take at least 2-3 years just to grasp the pro game. There's a reason the guy was still around in the 6th when Chicago drafted him. Cutler has yet to show he's a franchise QB in this league. I still think he will eventually but he's not exactly in anybody's top 10 or even top 15 signal-callers list right now. And the alternatives are a guy who was not drafted and a 6th-round rookie. That's "sitting pretty" in your world???

So Jerry Angelo's cunning plan this whole time was to trade a bunch of picks and his starting QB for Jay Cutler and then have two guys fall into his lap. Wow that is some serious, MENSA-type GENIOUS displayed by JA.

Come on Coach, you go on about what you like about Hanie, and then knock him? Coach, you could go down the line on all 32 teams 2nd string QB's, and what your gonna find is their all either washed up vets, or unproven younger QB's with upside like Hanie. Coach, they're 2nd string QB's, theres not many teams in the league that have two QB's like Jay Cutler as their #1 and #2 QB. If your #1 goes down, 9 times out of 10 your in trouble. All I was saying was the Bears have a very good set of QB's thanks to Angelo, and I know you agree, Coach, your simply arguing for the sake of arguing.

As far as Cutler, come on, cut the guy some slack, he was playing in a new offense with no line help with a bunch of inexperienced receivers. The fact he put up 3600 yards and 20 plus td passes under these circumstances proves alone he's a legit NFL QB, and Bears GM Jerry Angelo was the man who brought him in, you can't argue with that.

Coach, your quick to say a guy fell into Angelo's lap if the player has upside like Hanie and LeFevour. But I bet if a player is a bust, its all Angelo's fault right? Again, all I'm saying is Angelo brought in a nice set of QB's for the Bears. Bottom line is Angelo made the trade giving Chicago a legit franchise QB in Cutler, Angelo brought in Hanie when no other team wanted him, and you know Angelo and co did their homework on Hanie, he didn't fall in their lap. Again, I bet if Hanie proves to be a bust, its all Angelo's fault, but if he's legit, he fell in his lap...come on Coach? GO BEARS!!

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This page contains a single entry by Neil Hayes published on May 19, 2010 1:17 PM.

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