By: Peter Bobrinskoy
Despite many Bears fans thinking that Ryan Pace concluded with another successful draft, Ray Pace could not help but leave those same fans scratching their heads Sunday afternoon. On Sunday, one day after the NFL draft ended, General Manager Ryan Pace cut starting guard Matt Slauson. It was a very confusing and poorly thought-out decision. There are only four reasons that could have gone through Ryan Pace’s head for him to try to justify this very confusing and questionable decision.
- The Bears are looking to get younger. Matt Slauson is 33 years old. And with the addition of second round pick Cody Whitehair, the Bears could be better off with a younger player at the guard position for their long term plans.
- Matt Slauson’s best football days are behind him and the Bears are seeking more athleticism.
- Slauson was on a multi veteran year deal so the Bears will save money.
- Getting rid of Slauson, gives rookie Cody Whitehair a chance to start Week 1, giving him NFL experience right away and allowing him more chances to develop.
Now here is where all of those reasons will be refuted.
Reason #1 actually has some truth to it. Cody Whitehair is ten years younger than Saluson. However, its pretty hypocritical because Ryan Pace signed veteran guard Manny Ramirez from the Detroit Lions in March… Oh yeah, and Ramirez is 36, 3 years older than Slauson.
Reason #2 is also very head scratching. Greg Slauson had one of his best seasons last year. He played in all 16 games and provided much needed depth after center Will Montgomery went to the IR after season ending injury. He filled in right away when rookie Hronis Grasu wasn’t ready and then continued to make line calls even after returning to guard. He has been very solid for the Bears the last three seasons and there were not any signs that he was going to slow down next year.
Yeah the Bears saved $2.87 million in cutting Slauson. So financial motivation is just not true when it comes to reason #3.
Reason #4 is what is most troubling. Ryan Pace can not use Cody Whitehair to justify the Slauson. Reason #4 could have been true if Ryan Pace hadn’t signed Ted Larsen, Bobby Massie, and Manny Ramirez, three veterans who can potentially take away starting positions from Cody Whitehair, Hronis Grasu, and Charles Leno Jr. Whitehair, Grasu, and Leno are three players all on rookie contracts that can have their development stunted if these veterans take their playing time next season. Also Larsen and Ramirez are not better than Slauson when it comes to playing Guard in the NFL.
After the Bears went 6-10, it seems that Bears fans have given Ryan Pace the benefit of the doubt. They have given him their trust despite the fact that he has made multiple questionable decisions: trading the team’s best offensive player in Brandon Marshall and a 7th round pick for only a 5th round pick, not trying to resign legendary running back Matt Forte, and now cutting Greg Slauson.
The Bears lost arguably two of their biggest leaders in the locker room. Matt Forte and Greg Slauson were a huge part of whatever success the Bears have had the last three to eight seasons. Pace needs to start thinking very hard about the next leaders he wants to cut because these are very big risks he is taking. Matt Forte was not just some aging veteran who was on the decline. Matt Forte was one of the three greatest running backs in this franchise’s history who set the standard for what it meant to be a Chicago Bear. Ryan Pace better win… a lot. Because these type of decisions can backfire on a GM very easily.