Saturday, September 3, 2011
No surprise to see Chester Taylor released
By Kevin Seifert
NFL teams have until 6 p.m. ET to reduce their rosters to 53, but NFC North teams already are off and running. I'll post significant releases as quickly as I can here Saturday afternoon, and then analyze each team's moves after they become official.
First up: The Chicago Bears' totally unsurprising and far-too-late decision to part ways with veteran tailback Chester Taylor. His days have seemed numbered since the moment the Bears signed veteran running back Marion Barber, and it appeared the Bears were set to release Taylor during their first round of cuts last week. He ended up starting their preseason finale in what was presumably a showcase for a possible trade. Clearly, no team expressed interest because everyone knew Taylor would eventually be released.
As we've discussed a number of times, Taylor had by one measure the least productive season in the NFL's post-merger history last year. Never before had a running back carried at least 100 times and finished with an average of 2.4 yards per carry or lower. I don't think he's finished as a running back, but he clearly wasn't a good match for Mike Martz's offensive scheme and provides yet another cautionary tale for giving big contracts to aging running backs.
Taylor, 31, received about $7 million last season.
Where will Taylor resurface? How about his hometown Detroit Lions? The Lions' backfield remains unsettled after the training camp loss of rookie Mikel Leshoure. And as long as we're talking about NFC North teams, let's not totally rule out the Minnesota Vikings, who have two injured backups -- Toby Gerhart and Lorenzo Booker -- behind starter Adrian Peterson.
Earlier: Taylor left the Bears' practice facility last Monday believing he had been released. The Bears called him back, saying he misunderstood a conversation with coach Lovie Smith.