Once a Packer, now a Bear.
Former Packers guard Josh Sitton, perhaps the biggest surprise cut of Saturday’s roster deadline day, is signing with his former rival, according to multiple reports. Alex Marvez of the Sporting News first reported the signing and ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports it’s a 3-year, $21.75M deal that includes $10 million guaranteed. The Bears released kicker Robbie Gould, the franchise’s all-time points scored leader, to make room for Sitton on the 53-man roster.
As Schefter first reported on Sunday, Sitton, 30, visited Chicago first and might’ve journeyed to New Orleans next. Bears general manager Ryan Pace, who came over from the Saints organization, apparently wasn’t willing to give his former team a chance to steal away a prized free agent that transforms a so-so Bears line into a top unit.
The Bears have needed offensive line help ever since starting center Hroniss Grasu went down with a torn ACL in training camp and two of their depth signings — Manny Ramirez and Nate Chandler — surprisingly retired this summer.
It’s not clear where Sitton will line up in Chicago. Kyle Long is seemingly locked in at right guard for the long-term, which leaves free either left guard or center. Sitton would be more comfortable at guard given his extensive experience there, but he can play center if necessary, as Sitton and Packers coach Mike McCarthy indicated two years ago. If Sitton slots in at guard, then the Bears might move rookie left guard Cody Whitehair to center.
Either way, the interior of the Bears’ offensive line just received a substantial upgrade — backup Ted Larsen would’ve started out of necessity — though it came at a cost. Sitton is probably worth the money, though.
He allowed just 16 total pressures, which includes sacks, hits, and hurries, on 693 passing plays last year, per Pro Football Focus.
Josh Sitton was the 6th highest graded guard in 2015, and despite limited playing time the 6th highest graded guard of the preseason
— Nathan Jahnke (@PFF_NateJahnke) September 3, 2016
The Packers fan base won’t be pleased with Sitton’s choice, but it shouldn’t label him as a turncoat. Sitton found himself without a job a week before the season, and the Packers’ front office had to have realized that the Bears would be in play for Sitton’s services.
For the Packers, it’s a painful day. For the Bears, it’s payback after the Packers signed and rejuvenated Julius Peppers two years ago. And for McDonalds, well, do they love to see us smile.
Source: CBS Sports / Ex-Packer Josh Sitton reportedly signs 3-year deal with rival Bears