Matt Slauson release may come back to hurt Chicago Bears

Oct 19, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears guard Matt Slauson (68) during the first quarter at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 19, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears guard Matt Slauson (68) during the first quarter at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports /

After a great weekend at the draft, the Chicago Bears made a move that had people wondering. They released offensive lineman Matt Slauson. Will this be a move that comes back to haunt them?

The Chicago Bears had a great draft. They picked up players that add youth, athleticism and versatility to the team. They also got players who add depth to a team that suffered when they had injuries in 2015.

Then they went ahead and did something that got people talking even more — but for the wrong reason.

On Sunday, the Bears cut veterans Antrel Rolle and offensive lineman Matt Slauson.

Not many were concerned with the Rolle cut. He had an injury-plagued 2015, and is on the downside of his career. Of course, Rolle decided to blame the Soldier Field turf for his injuries, so cutting him seems to be a good idea.

The Slauson cut, however, was completely different.

Yes, the Bears signed Manny Ramirez and Ted Larson, both guys who could play either guard or center, but Slauson was a locker room presence.

General manager Ryan Pace values players with high quality character (the Ray McDonald signing notwithstanding). He also values players who eat, breath and sleep Chicago Bears football.

Slauson fit the bill on all accounts.

Slauson did everything the Bears asked of him since he came to Chicago. Last season, when center Will Montgomery broke his fibula, Slauson stepped in and took over, even though he had little experience at the position.

In fact, I feel he had a better grasp of the center spot than the current starter, Hroniss Grasu. Grasu is younger, though, so he stays.

Slauson was a great locker room presence, a player who had the respect of many players, most importantly quarterback Jay Cutler.

As we know, Cutler has a mercurial personality. When he loses confidence in someone, he has a tendency to shut things down and forget whatever that person is trying to do. Just ask Marc Trestman and J’Marcus Webb.

Matt Slauson had Cutler’s respect. He knew how hard Slauson played, and he knew what to expect from him.

Cutler does not have that same rapport with Ramirez or Larson, and especially new draft choice Cody Whitehair.

What happens if they incur the wrath of Cutler? Will they be able to gain his confidence.

Of course, they could all play well and we could forget this by August.

The NFL is a cruel business. Releasing Slauson at this time makes it difficult for him to latch on somewhere else. Teams have signed the available free agents already, and their salary caps are pretty much spent.

As Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk wrote “…but if the team truly respected them (Rolle and Slauson) they would have been cut at a time when they would have had a much better opportunity to find work elsewhere. Now that teams with needs at those positions have filled them through the draft, it becomes much harder.”

More from Da Windy City

With Matt Slauson gone, the pressure will be on Kyle Long. He will be looked upon to be the new leader on the line. Usually, the center is the captain of the line, but Grasu is still trying to find his way.

Long will have to be the go-to guy when problems arise. He will need to keep calm in the middle of a storm.

Will he be able to do it?

Next: The Chicago Bears And Leadership

It is a lot different to be a real leader than to be the most vocal player. Anyone can just talk. The important thing is to say things that can motivate his teammates. Just look at Matt Slauson’s example.