Nobody ever said there was anything wrong with taking small risks in the NFL. The Chicago Bears had some success doing it last season and for the right price they might do it again if they brought in defensive end Aaron Kampman.
Jacksonville Jaguars release Kampman because of money and injuries
Nobody ever wants to hear a good player got released because he can't stay healthy. A few years ago Aaron Kampman left the Green Bay Packers with two Pro Bowl nods. Sadly a switch in defensive scheme sent him packing and he landed with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Before he left the standout defender has amassed 54 sacks in seven seasons. In two years since he has only four due to several leg injuries. Jacksonville wasn't willing to pay him $5 million at the risk of him not being healthy in 2012. So they released him to save cap space. Entering his tenth year in the NFL, it's unlikely Kampman will see any big deals, or possibly any deals at all. Few teams will take chances on an aging player who can't stay healthy. Worse yet his number of options drops because of the roster spot he plays at. The reason he left Green Bay was because the Packers had switched to a 3-4 defense. Kampman can only play in a 4-3. This practically cuts the teams who can sign him in half. There is one though who has a history of granting second chances.
Julius Peppers and Shea McClellin could benefit from more NFL depth
The new adage of the modern NFL is a team can never have enough pass rushers. Teams like the New York Giants and Pittsburgh Steelers proved that with four Super Bowl trophies in the last six seasons. The Chicago Bears believe this truth more than ever which is why they drafted Boise State defender Shea McClellin to play defensive end. While experts questioned the pick because he played mostly outside linebacker in college, they also see his ability to rush the passer. Chicago hopes he could make the switch to defensive end to take pressure off All-Pro Julius Peppers. However there is another part to a great pass rush. Unlike the decades past the new method of dumping quarterbacks involves waves of rushers, allowing a team to keep their best players fresh through all four quarters. While McClellin said he loves the switch to defensive end, it will likely take the rookie some time to adjust. This means others will have to pick up the slack. The Bears don't have many proven sack artists on the mean, which is why taking a risk on Kampman couldn't hurt. He's familiar with life in the NFC North division and Chicago is one of the teams that plays a 4-3 defense. A cheap "prove it" contract might help Kampman prove he can still play while the Bears get some veteran help to ease the pressure on McClellin and Peppers.
Aaron Kampman left the Jacksonville Jaguars with unfinished business. With NFL free agency not welcoming injury-prone players, he will have to work hard to find a buyer. The Chicago Bears drafted Shea McClellin to flank Julius Peppers but their history of taking chances might find a small success in a former rival.