Free Agency: Is Shea McClellin done with Bears?

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With NFL free agency only a month away, the Bears have a lot of decisions awaiting them. Who will they attempt to re-sign? Who will they target on the open market? Two of the biggest names on their own roster that will explore the open waters unless the Bears act on them are running back Matt Forte and wide receiver Alshon Jeffery.

But what about former first-round pick, Shea McClellin? ESPN’s Jeff Dickerson poses the question: Are the Bears ready to cut ties with the underperforming choice of former general manager Phil Emery?

McClellin was a pass-rushing specialist out of Boise State when he was selected 19th overall in the 2012 draft. The Bears — like most teams, frankly — were desperate for pass rushing help and decided to convert McClellin to defensive end. McClellin was clearly overwhelmed and undersized at the position and could not cut the mustard there. The team moved him to outside linebacker under former head coach Marc Trestman and then again to the inside under new coach John Fox — both places he struggled to make plays.

The team thought highly enough of McClellin to make him the play caller of the defense, but calling plays and aligning the defense is only part of the job. Being a cornerstone in the middle is a much bigger task, that which McClellin failed to achieve.

“I thought he did well in making that adjustment [to the inside],” general manager Ryan Pace said. “There are some positive things about him and I think you have to take into account he’s still growing at that position.”

That doesn’t sound like a man who is ready to cut ties with McClellin. Then again, it could just be a smoke screen.

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