Cracks may have started forming in the relationship between Sitton and the Packers when he was critical of their offensive game plan last December, leading irked head coach Mike McCarthy to tell reporters, “Josh Sitton needs to play guard.” Months later, the team informed Sitton in training camp that it wouldn’t discuss a contract extension with him during the season, which may have worsened the two sides’ relationship. Before the Packers released Sitton, he was set to earn $6.15MM in 2016 to conclude the five-year extension he signed in 2011.
While there might be acrimony between Sitton and his former employer, the 30-year-old explained Monday that he wasn’t trying to get back at Green Bay by signing with the NFC North rival Bears.
“Honestly, it didn’t have anything to do with sticking it to the Packers,” the three-time Pro Bowler said (via Jeff Dickerson of ESPN.com). “I’m more familiar with the division. [Chicago is] close to where I was. I like the weather up here. We had a few other teams interested. It’s too damn hot in the south.”
One of Sitton’s new teammates, fellow guard Kyle Long, said Monday that he heavily recruited Sitton.
“I wouldn’t get out of his ear,” Long stated.
Both Sitton (three years, $21.75MM) and Long (four years, $40MM) inked expensive deals with the Bears over the weekend, though it was an extension in the latter’s case. Those two should comprise one of the top guard tandems in the league, while the Packers will move forward with the inexperienced Lane Taylor and the excellent T.J. Lang. Taylor, who’s replacing Sitton on the left side, picked up just two starts during his first three seasons.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.