Chicago Bears: Jerry Angelo Needs to Wake Up—Olin Kreutz Is the Key

Kevin KossCorrespondent IJuly 30, 2011

CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 23:  Olin Kreutz #57 of the Chicago Bears looks on late in the fourth quarter against the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game at Soldier Field on January 23, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Bears offseason moves thus far have been more of a debacle than anything. For a team that is $34 million under the salary cap, I find it hard to believe that you can actually get worse during the free agency period; but the Bears have found a way to do it. 

And now the most important piece of the Bears puzzle might not be falling into place. Jerry Angelo needs to understand that he must re-sign Olin Kreutz at all costs. Otherwise, this offseason will be considered one of the biggest failures in Bears history.

Kreutz is a 13-year veteran (all with the Bears), a six-time Pro Bowler, an undisputed team leader on the field and in the locker room and, most importantly, the one bright spot on a dismal offensive line.  How could anyone in the Bears front office have thought it was a good idea to low ball this guy on a contract offer?

The Bears' are $34 million under the $120 million salary cap. Under the new CBA, teams are required to spend 99 percent of that, which comes out to $118.8 million. Traditionally, the McCaskeys have always been cheap, but those days are over. They are required to spend this money, and since the Bears chose not to spend it in free agency, they might as well spend it keeping their own—especially a Pro Bowler.

Kreutz was arguably the most important player that the Bears had to re-sign this offseason.  How is it that we don't have a package put together to satisfy his needs as soon as the free agent signing period opens? Yes, he is a 13-year veteran, but he is still playing good football and is of great value, especially considering the mentoring he can do for the younger guys on this offensive line. 

The lack of importance that the front office has placed on Olin really should be considered an insult.  According to, a source close to Kreutz said the package they sent over doesn't reflect how important he is to the team. Hello? Mr. Angelo, he is possibly the most important person, at least on the offensive side of the ball.

And now, Kreutz informed ESPN Chicago that he is considering retirement:

"I don't know if I could go somewhere and play for someone else. It has always been about the Bears, I've always chosen them and I just don't know if I could do it for someone else."

If Kreutz isn't re-signed and in Chicago Bears camp soon, this will be one of the most devastating offseasons the Bears have had.  Also, it really reflects poorly on the Bears organization as a whole and on Jerry Angelo. Quite frankly, if Kreutz ends up in San Francisco or retired instead of Chicago, it should cost Angelo his job.