When he was in Winnipeg last Saturday, Brandon’s NFL free agent, Israel Idonije told everyone to be patient. He was going to sign and everyone should just chill. On Tuesday, we all learned about Izzy’s new team.
The 32-year-old 10-year National Football League veteran has officially left the Chicago Bears and signed a one-year deal with the Detroit Lions.
Although he originally signed and went to training camp with the Cleveland Browns, Idonije has spent his entire nine-year career with the Bears. Over that period, he had 28.5 sacks, 7.5 of those sacks last season. That was good enough for second on the Bears.
However, the Bears let him go after last year although they did offer him a one-year deal at about $940,000 and said that offer would stand if he didn’t get a better deal. Reports suggested he wanted at least $2.5 million per year in a three-year deal but when the long-term offer didn’t arrive, he took the one-year deal from Detroit.
Idonije will be paid the NFL veteran’s minimum of $940,000 in 2013. However, his deal included a $65,000 signing bonus, meaning the total value of the deal is $1.005 million. His cap hit is only $620,000 for 2013 because the Lions signed him to a minimum-salary-plus-benefits-deal.
It’s expected that with Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley already the starters at tackle, Idonije will be used as a regular defensive end. That means rookie Ziggy Ansah will probably be used on the third-down nickel line package.
“I’ve told everyone to be patient, something was brewing,” Idonije said. “There was certainly never any doubt in my mind I would sign with a team that would make me happy.”
GM Martin Mayhew told the Detroit News on Tuesday that Idonije would “start at left end and play tackle on third downs.” Mayhew also said that Idonije might end up getting the majority of snaps at right end while the raw prospect Ansah gets eased into the NFL.
The 6-foot-6, 275-pound Idonije will continue to operate his church communion business, “Blessed” out of Chicago and will also continue to be heavily involved with his charity, the Israel Idonije Foundation, based out of the Windy City.