It’s always nice to be wanted. And, yes, despite the fact he’ll be 33-years-old by the middle of the 2013 season, Brandon’s own Israel Idonije is still wanted.
Now a free agent, it appears three teams are in the hunt to sign the big defensive tackle/end and outstanding special teams player: the San Francisco 49ers, the Tennessee Titans and, yes, the Chicago Bears.
Probably for good reason. Last season, as a 32-year-old who didn’t get as many snaps as he did in 2011, Idonije had 48 tackles and 7.5 sacks.
The Titans would love to have Idonije for obvious reasons and while Niners have a tremendous defense, they aren’t deep. The organization knows it dodged a potential bullet last year when it played most of the season injury free but this is the NFL. That’s not going to happen every season. In fact, an injury to Justin Smith late last year almost completely crippled the Niners pass rush, allowing the league’s better quarterbacks to carve them up in the playoffs.
For that reason alone, Idonije could play a major role on a legitimate Super Bowl contender.
However, he still wants to stay in Chicago. His home is now there, his foundation is there and he runs a business outside football there. He’s a Bear at heart. However, the Bears only offered him a one-year deal and after the club selected Shea McClellin in the first round of the 2012 Draft, Idonije didn’t play quite as often.
To their credit, the Bears have made it clear they would like to keep him, but they didn’t throw a two-year deal on the table when free agency rolled around. Now that the Niners have decided to run a 3-4 D in 2013, Idonije’s presence in Red, White and Gold could have an impact. Coach Jim Harbaugh likes Izzy’s size, quickness and pass-rushing skills and he knows that the well-liked (by everyone in the league) Idonije, could five his club some veteran stability and leadership.
However, Idonije has made it clear he wants a multi-year deal and until that comes from San Francisco or even Tennessee, he’d likely to sign a one-year deal — if he has to take it — in Chicago.
Idonije has not been an NFL star and will go the Hall of Fame, but he is a very talented and productive D-lineman who is also a great teammate and a fine gentleman. Regardless of what happens in san Francisco, he’ll get a lot of playing time because at the end of the 2012 season, the Niners were going with just four defensive linemen.
However, they have already signed former Kansas City Chief Glenn Dorsey. With Idonije they would definitely have the depth they lacked last season.
Meanwhile, the Bears have cap issues. Idonije would likely have to take a pay cut to stay in Chicago.
It’s likely Brandon’s greatest NFL player will end up in San Francisco, but it’s still not a guarantee.