The Bears on Friday agreed to a two-year contract extension with defensive lineman Israel Idonije, which will expire at the conclusion of the 2011 season.
The Bears have said they wanted to get a deal done with Idonije while exploring options with free-agent-to-be Adewale Ogunleye.
“He’s essentially one of the more highly paid backup defensive lineman in the NFL,” Idonije’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus said. “Should he develop into a starter at some point in the next year or so, it’s a short-term deal. And it creates some flexibility. But for one of the most versatile defensive lineman and an outstanding special teams guy, we think that this deal makes a lot of sense for both sides.”
Idonije is certainly one of the most valuable players on the team. His special teams ability and versatility on the defensive line are desirable traits. He’s also a cooperative team player who showed his willingness to put on weight last off-season and move inside to play the tackle position.
I don’t know that I’d ever be comfortable with Idonije as a starter, so it’s a little far-fetched at this point to assume that he could take Ogunleye’s place if the team decides not to re-sign Ogunleye when his contract runs out at the end of this year. But the important thing is that he gives the Bears a deeper rotation and solidifies the important special teams phase.