Freeman, 31, inked a three-year pact with Chicago prior to the 2016 campaign, but injuries and suspensions have limited him to only 13 total games over the past two years. Last season, Freeman suffered a torn pectoral in Week 1 and was subsequently banned for 10 games due to his second performance-enhancing drug bust. That suspension will carry over to 2018, as Freeman will miss the first two games of next season.
While the 2017 season was a lost cause, Freeman was excellent from 2015-16 with the Colts and Bears, as Pro Football Focus assigned him grades of 90+ in both years. The Bears are likely aiming to get younger of the defensive side of the ball, meaning Freeman wasn’t a fit at his $3.5MM base salary, but he could potentially land a new deal with another club. Given that he’s a vested veteran, Freeman won’t have to pass through waivers and is free to sign with another team immediately.
The Bears, meanwhile, will move forward with Danny Trevathan and Nick Kwiatkoski at inside linebacker following Freeman’s release. As Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune recently wrote, Chicago wants to give opportunity to Kwaitkoski, a 2016 fourth-round selection who has started 13 games during his career.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.