The brand new season is upon us, and with that some teams ushered the new while saying goodbye to the old. That is exactly what the Bears did on Tuesday when they bid farewell to Julius Peppers and welcomed in his replacement, Lamarr Houston.
Houston and the Bears agreed on a 5-year, $35 million contract, $15 million in guaranteed money.
Even though it hurt a lot of fans to see Peppers go, it was a move that had to be made. The Bears ranked last against the run last year, and the 6’3″, 300 pounder was among the best in the NFL at stopping the run.
At 26, Houston is still getting better at rushing the passer. He has 16 career sacks in his four seasons, but six of them came in 2013. Along with the sacks, he had a total of 63 quarterback disruptions. He had 16 quarterback hits and 41 hurries. Remember, sometimes the hits and hurries are as good as the sacks.
Another positive with Houston is his durability. He has not missed a game during his four-year career so far. Injuries played a big part in the defensive deficiencies for the Bears last season.
Houston is versatile enough to not only play the end position, but also play the interior as a tackle. He gives the defense more options.
One thing to keep in mind with the Houston signing is that he went to the University of Texas and was a teammate of Henry Melton, who the Bears want to re-sign.
The Green Bay Packers were thought to be in the hunt for Houston, but their efforts did not amount to much. The Oakland Raiders, Houston’s previous employers, thought they would be able to re-sign him during the weekend, but when Michael Bennett rejected the Bears and decided to go back to the champion Seahawks, the Bears went all out to pick him up, and they were successful.
Peppers gave Bears fans a lot of great memories, but at his age and salary, it was time for both parties to go their separate ways. Now they look to the future with Houston.
What do you think of the Houston pick up? Are you excited to see him in a Bears uniform? Give us your opinion.