Chicago Sun-Times

Carpe diem: Bears need to sign Kreutz today

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For days now, NFL clubs have been allowed to talk to agents. For days now, NFL clubs have been able to -- taking a page from the NBA -- agree to deals in principle. There was no three-day window, as originally expected, for a club to negotiate with its own free agents.

But days have passed, and, as far as anyone can tell, the Bears haven't aggressively attempted to re-sign Olin Kreutz. His agent, Mark Bartelstein, did not respond to three separate emails over the last two days, to provide an update on his client.

But it's been a whirlwind few days and, once again, the Bears are taking a public beating.

Let's be honest here, folks. You're a tough crowd. That's become evident to me in my year and half covering this team.

While other teams are wheeling and dealing, the Bears have largely been quiet, despite having $34 million in salary cap space.

Bears president Ted Phillips told me last week that the work his staff had done in advance of free agency was "tremendous."

"So my hat's off to them," Phillips said. "I know we're ready, and we have a good plan."

Apparently, the plan was not to jump into it quickly. The Bears have been deliberate, their first deal seemingly agreed to in principle with punter Adam Podlesh. They addressed the tight end position, trading Greg Olsen, dumping Brandon Manumaleuna and signing Matt Spaeth.

They're also expected to sign Sam Hurd and Roy Williams, a pair of former Dallas Cowboys receivers, today.

They've also been signing draft picks, inquiring about other players (Willie Colon, Stephen Bowen, etc...) and fielding numerous calls from agents.

But, as I've warned in the past, the Bears had better not be too coy and play games with Kreutz. Yes, Kreutz and his agent Mark Bartelstein are both on record as wanting to sign another deal with the Bears. Yes, he's given up money to stay.

But the Bears should drop everything and sign Kreutz today.

UPDATE: Negotiations are ongoing but Kreutz was not signed as of Friday night around 9 p.m.

It's believed the Bears are in the market for another offensive lineman. And there are plenty available on the market, including a perennial Pro Bowl guard named Brian Waters.

But there's no reason to let Kreutz sit on the sideline, without actively trying to retain him.

Kreutz has shown his loyalty, something that's obviously important to him. He always fiercely defends his teammates and his coaches, sometimes at his own expense. But, he also strikes me as a guy who, when he doesn't feel the loyalty reciprocated, will turn his back.

And, seeming like a man of principle, there would be no amount of money -- an extra $500,000 or $1 million even -- that would change his mind. Kreutz doesn't seem all that flashy, and he's made a lot of money over his career.

But, he and his agent have always insisted that all they want is a fair deal. That's obviously subjective, and maybe the Bears want Kreutz to recognize what the market is, by letting his agent field offers and calls from other clubs.

Still, it would seem the time is now to get proactive, instead of reactive.

The Bears players officially report to Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais today. The Bears changed the media availability from lunch time to 5 p.m. Bears coach Lovie Smith and maybe quarterback Jay Cutler could be among those who talk.

Maybe they'll even introduce a few of the new players.

But what more fitting way to start camp than to have announce the re-signing of Kreutz, who would be preparing for his 14th NFL season, all with the Bears.

He's 34 years old, and he's obviously not the same player he was when he was regularly playing in the Pro Bowl. But, by numerous accounts, he's had a terrific offseason because he's been injury free and able to actually build strength instead of just trying to maintain it or rehab an ailing body part or two... or three.

With an entire offseason decimated by the protracted labor talks, the Bears' leadership needs to be in place, so they can be efficient. Unlike many other teams, the Bears continuity is a strength. And with J'Marcus Webb expected to slide to left tackle, and rookie Gabe Carimi adjusting to NFL life on the fly at right, Bears offensive line coach Mike Tice needs some help to get that unit cohesive.

And few -- ask anyone throughout the locker room -- means more as a leader than Kreutz.

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When you are right you are right. This year "methodical" means 2 hours instead of one hour.

They either need to sign him or cut it off and go in another direction. With a veteran like Kreutz I can't imagine they are planets apart in dollars or length of contract. With apologies to Ditka, this is not the time to throw nickels around like manhole covers in either direction.

The Bears had better sign Kreutz, they're toast if they don't. Their line would be even worse than last season, if you can imagine that.

And they need at least two other offensive linemen, not one. I don't see how Carimi can possibly start considering that he's had no time to learn until now. and Webb will almost certainly be a disaster at LT. No problem signing Waters, he'd be a big improvement, but they can't stop there.

Man would that be funny if he left for the 49ers just on principle. At least we'd be able to look forward to a very high first-round draft pick next April.

By the way, where's Creighton? Funny how all this stuff goes by and he just disappears.

"Let's be honest here, folks. You're a tough crowd. That's become evident to me in my year and half covering this team"

Why Sean whatever do you mean?

Lets see Brian Waters, nice player but a pure 1 year stop gap at 34 years of age. Bears tend to like those 1 year stop gaps on the O-Line. Then they keep them for 3-4 years, but the first year is usually pretty good. Kinda be nice if they solved this problem by drafting a player to play guard. Oh wait they drafted Chris Williams and he is the Bestest player Martz has ever seen, well next to all the other bestest players on the O-Line. Oh I am sorry I forgot he is going to be a center, or is guard, maybe tackle, that's the Bears "lets keep everyone guessing, including are own players". Waters is still a decent run blocker but Linemen are funny creatures take them away from there routine and you never really know what will happen. He has started almost 150 games and that's a lot of miles for a linemen. The last couple of years he has been average, 2008 was the last year he was really a monster.

Just watching everything going on so far this very short offseason, it seems to me that Mike Martz is getting everything he want's or at least they are trying to get him everything he wants. Which seems strange cause his offense kinda has sucked for a long time and I am not just talking about Chicago.

Trying to land Roy Williams, trading Olsen, and I really don't get why they would go after Sam Hurd but I don't doubt that they are trying.They cut BM as well which is just making me laugh, that was a Martz guy right? Had to have him right?

By the way I know Roy Williams had a big year with Martz and he is a big reciever, but, I don't really think he improved much under Martz he did manage to start 16 games that year, his first year he was pretty good and his TD production his two years with Martz was actually lower than his two years pre-Martz. He does like to drop the ball though doesn't he. Basically he is another Moose Mohammad, in fact Moose may have been the better player.

I am surprised that Olin is still sitting and waiting, Adams too, not sure if this is because of a lack of intrest by other teams and the Bears no they can sit and weight for those two to come to them or if the Bears think the NF Lwill not notice them sitting 34 million under the cap and let it slide. Shhhhh be very quiet and nobody will notice the money Jerry. Ok Teddy.

Probably just waiting though.

I hope they don't bring back Kreutz. Anyone who has watched the Bears closely for the past few years knows that he is a liability on the OL. He has never been a powerful center, but rather relied on his quickness and technique. However, quickness and technique can only take you so far being a lineman. Without strength and power, you will get beat 9 out of 10 times. He seems to have lost most of his strength and power after achilles tendon injury. He couldn't contain the guy in front of him if his life was depended on it. As soon as the ball is snapped, he is driven 2 yards into the back field. This is one of the reasons why Cutler seldom could step up and plant his feet before making a pass.

Please don't sign Kreutz, at least not as a player. He maybe a decent coach someday, but his good years as a decent player are way behind him. He should retire before being exposed as a player who doesn't have much left but tried to hang on for too long.

I have to respectfully disagree , Sean. I think Kreutz should be dumped. He has been one of the weakest parts of the offensive line, which every Bear fan considers the Bears' biggest weakness. He cannot open holes down the middle, cannot pass-block, and is even messing up snaps and snap counts lately. I suspect almost any replacement would be a big improvement and cost less money. Kreutz was very good at one time, but that was several years' ago. Now he is just an overpaid liability.


Olin Kreutz is the leader of arguably the worst offensive line in football. He is either an overrated leader or a horribly ineffective player. Regardless, he is not good anymore. He is a paper tiger. The lack of short-yardage productivity is 100% the result of Olin Kreutz's inability to seal/push the line against Suh or Williams or Williams or Raji or Failey. Chester Taylor = (2x)Olin Kreutz.

I believe that Olin Kreutz is an all-time great Bear, but it is time for some scrutiny and accountability. It is time for a Fresh Start.

The "Kreutz Loophole" is a double standard regarding competition and undermines the organization's credibility. 99% of the players are actually judged on their performance not their popularity. It is demoralizing to the fans capable of seeing Kreutz as the weak link responsible for breaking the protection chain. He crumbles first.

Please do not re-sign Olin Kreutz!

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This page contains a single entry by Sean Jensen published on July 29, 2011 11:15 AM.

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