Bears

For Spencer, game vs. Seahawks is personal

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For Spencer, game vs. Seahawks is personal

Chris Spencer was the No. 1 draft choice of the Seattle Seahawks in 2005, coming in during the reign of Mike Holmgren. He became a starter the following year and the Seahawks won four NFC West division championships in his six years there, including 2010 under coach Pete Carroll.

The Seahawks thought enough of him to re-sign him in 2010. Then he abruptly found himself on the street at the end of this years lockout without what he considered as an explanation.

And it stung. Not even the two-year contract he signed with the Bears, worth potentially 6 million, makes that go away completely. So facing the Seahawks now has a little added to it.

I look at it as another game and obviously Im excited to play them because I was there for six years, Spencer said. The city of Seattle was good to me and the fans were good to me, so I have no ill will toward Seattle.

He cant say the same about Carroll and the organization.

Its unfortunate that I didnt get any explanation and you feel like you werent wanted because I didnt even get an offer, Spencer said Wednesday.

I knew I could play football. My thing is, if youre going one way, Im cool with that, but let me know which way youre going. Thats all I ask. If youre going this way, different direction, thats fine with me because I know this business and know how it is when new coaches come in.

If I dont fit with what youre looking for, just let me know what that is.

Carroll said Wednesday that the decision was to go young, and Spencer at age 29 apparently didnt fit as young.??

We knew we were going to make a commitment to go young up front, as we exemplified in the draft, Carroll said, alluding to Seattle investing its past two No. 1s in tackles Russell Okung and James Carpenter, now both on IR. So we just had to make those choices.

Big decision to be made as you transition into a new club. Chris is a great guy. We liked him and he played well for us and all that but we felt like we needed to move on and go younger and go with new guys, which weve shown you that weve done.

With Leonard Floyd going on injured reserve, will the Bears have a pressing need at outside linebacker in 2018?

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USA TODAY

With Leonard Floyd going on injured reserve, will the Bears have a pressing need at outside linebacker in 2018?

The Bears placed Leonard Floyd on injured reserve Thursday morning, ending the second-year outside linebacker’s season following a knee injury suffered Sunday against the Detroit Lions. The Bears haven’t revealed the full extent of Floyd’s injury, but coach John Fox did confirm this week the 2016 first-round pick didn’t tear his ACL. 

That’s potentially good news for Floyd’s recovery timetable, even if he won’t return in 2017. The Bears can probably hope to have Floyd back for, at the least, training camp next year, if not possibly OTAs in six months, thought that’s more speculative than concrete. 

Still, with Floyd on injured reserve, the Bears’ current outside linebacker depth chart consists of two veterans (Pernell McPhee and Sam Acho) and two practice squad signees (Isaiah Irving and Howard Jones). These final six games of the 2017 season could serve as auditions for all four players for roles on the 2018 Bears. 

If every team needs at least three good pass rushers, the Bears can count on Akiem Hicks and Floyd for 2018, provided Floyd comes back healthy. But who’s the third?

The Bears could save about $7.5 million in cap space if they release McPhee in 2018; if they were to cut ties with Willie Young, who’s on injured reserve right now as well, it would provide $4.5 million in cap relief. McPhee will be 29 in December, while Young will turn 33 next September. 

The Bears won’t necessarily need the cap relief next year, and could certainly decide to keep both players, who’ve shown they’re still productive when healthy. But even if both players are back, the Bears may need to add another outside linebacker via free agency of the draft — remember, the team could’ve began the season with Floyd, Young, McPhee, Acho and Lamarr Houston as their outside linebackers; an injury Houston suffered in the fourth preseason game ended his time in Chicago. 

Needs at wide receiver and cornerback are pressing, but outside linebacker may need to be in that same conversation. If the Bears have a top-10 pick for the fourth consecutive year, plus some cap space, they perhaps could have the ability to address all three needs in March and April. 

That may be looking a little too far into the future, though. The best-case for the Bears is McPhee finishes the season strong and Irving and/or Jones shows something in the opportunities they receive in these final six games (Jones, for what it’s worth, had five sacks as a rookie with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2015). But the worst-case — and perhaps the most realistic — is that the Bears go into the offseason needing to fill at least one pass-rushing spot. 

Under Center Podcast: Can Mitch Trubisky follow Carson Wentz’s path to stardom?

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Under Center Podcast: Can Mitch Trubisky follow Carson Wentz’s path to stardom?

JJ Stankevitz and John “Moon” Mullin are joined by NBC Sports Philadelphia Eagles reporter Dave Zangaro to offer an encouraging connection between Carson Wentz’s growth and that of Mitchell Trubisky.

Check out the entire podcast here: