The first choice for the Bears was Michael Bennett and it seemed like a sure thing. He was an impact pass rusher who had the chance to be the focal point of a defense in a major market where his brother plays but Bennett decided to take less money and stay in Seattle.
From there the Bears turned their attention to a versatile lineman from Oakland. They locked in Lamarr Houston and saved face on the first day of free agency.
In the long run, the move will turn out to be more beneficial for the Bears.
Michael Bennett just didn’t seem like he wanted to be “The Man.” He lacks that big personality like his brother and it seems like he settled for Seattle not necessarily because of the team but because it was more comfortable and easy for him.
Bennett has been an “under the radar” kind of player his whole career. He wasn’t a standout in Tampa Bay and until free agency hit this year, he really wasn’t a household name on the Seahawks’ defense.
When you think Seattle D, Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Brandon Browner and even Cliff Avril come to mind. Bennett likes not having the spotlight on him.
Chicago would have been too much for Bennett. He didn’t seem comfortable coming to a huge market with the pressure of a big contract and be the face of a rebuilding defense.
Lamarr Houston on the other hand has no problem with it. Here’s a standout player from a big school like Texas. He put up 10 tackles and a sack in a loss to Alabama in the 2010 National Championship Game.
Houston was festering in Oakland. When Chicago called he came running. His big personality and eagerness to take the league by storm led him to Chicago.
There will be a big spotlight on a player who has only 16.5 career sacks in four seasons. Bears fans will expect him to play well and earn the big contract. Houston knows this and unlike Bennett is ready for the challenge.
If you go on Houston’s twitter page, he has the background of a cartoonish looking Thor. He’s a warrior ready for battle and the spotlight being a defensive star in Chicago brings.
Also on Twitter is his first message to Bears fans.
— lamarr houston (@solo_dolo_9s) March 11, 2014
This is in no way a knock to Michael Bennett. Not every person is build to play in a market like Chicago or New York. Seattle’s fans are passionate but also laid back. Chicago fans are frustrated, hungry and the media can be unforgiving. He did what was right for him and in the long run he did the Bears a favor. If he wasn’t ready mentally then he saved himself and the Bears a ton of grief if he would have never lived up to the contract.
Now there’s a new superhero in town. Lamarr Houston will be looked upon to lead and save the rebuilt defense. Can he do it? Only time will tell but what we can say for certain right now is he’s up to the challenge.