Veteran OT Fred Miller reportedly agreed to a deal for the minimum-salary benefit and will earn roughly $781,000 after a $40,000 signing bonus today.
They released OT Kirk Barton in order to make room for Fred Miller.
Miller returns to the team that released him in February.
They did this because then they wouldn’t have to pay him a $500,000 roster bonus that was due March 4.
Fred Miller’s base salary was to be $4 million this season.
He was pursued by the Baltimore Ravens, Washington Redskins, New Orleans Saints, Houston Texans and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
He took the practice field this afternoon.
Miller will become the third offensive tackle with the Bears apparently deeming experience necessary as rookie seventh-round pick Kirk Barton filled the role last week.
Miller(35), entering his 13th year, has started 160 of his last 162 games — 46 with the Bears the past three seasons.
The Bears have been in talks with Miller for more than a month, talks that began when they realized first-round draft pick Chris Williams would be sidelined for at least the first half of the season after undergoing surgery to repair a herniated disc in his lower back.
Fred Miller had this to say last month about the possibility of returning to the Bears:
“If I stay, I can finish and that would mean a lot.”
Fred Miller’s agent Harold Lewis had this to say about his return to the Bears:
“It’s an opportunity I am glad Fred did not pass up,” Lewis said. “It was not about the money for him, ever. These are just days he will never forget. For players it’s not so much the games as it is the time in between spent with teammates and coaches. They wanted him back and Fred wanted to return.”
“His hope and dream was to be back in Chicago, “He had five teams that wanted him, but his family is in Chicago. The relationships with the players that he’s made everyday and on Sundays, that’s stuff he will remember forever.”
“They’re hopeful their tackles hold up for the rest of the season and Williams the draft pick steps in and is a solid player. Fred is an insurance policy and he’s a good policy to have when you’re a team spending $120 million trying to get to the Super Bowl. He’s an insurance policy they will have for the rest of the year and I’m glad it worked out this way.”
How many offensive lineman are on the roster?
The Chicago Bears have nine offensive lineman including injured first round pick Chris Williams.
What’s Next for Barton?
Look for them to try to sign Kirk Barton to the practice squad.
Obviously, if five teams pursued Miller, he still has something left in him, although he did struggle at times last season, but he is a good guy to have as a backup.