Miller Cut; Walker's Option Denied

The Chicago Bears got the ball rolling Monday with the release of Muhsin Muhammad, and they kept it going by cutting Fred Miller and refusing to pick up Darwin Walker's option. The organization saved a lot of money against the 2008 salary cap, although there could be some ramifications down the road.

Per the Chicago Bears:

LAKE FOREST, IL – The Chicago Bears released veteran offensive lineman Fred Miller today.

Miller started 46 contests in three seasons with the Bears and has started 160 of his last 161 games played. The 12-year NFL veteran has started 164 of 186 career regular season games played with the St. Louis Rams (1996-99), Tennessee Titans (2000-04) and Bears (2005-07). Miller also started all 12 postseason appearances, including Super Bowl XXXIV with St. Louis and Super Bowl XLI with Chicago. In the last 10 seasons, Miller has helped pave way for a 1,000-yard rusher seven times.

The team also declined to exercise the option on DT Darwin Walker today, making him a free agent.

Walker spent the 2007 season with the Bears after spending the previous seven in Arizona (2000) and Philadelphia (2001-2006), and finished with 33 tackles, one sack and one tackle for loss in 11 games played. Walker has tallied 170 tackles during his eight years of NFL service in 99 games played with 82 starts. He has also appeared in 12 playoff games during his career, including Super Bowl XXXIX.

JC's Take: Just like the decision to let Muhsin Muhammad go earlier in the day, neither move should come as a shock for Bears fans.

Miller was solid for two seasons in Chicago before turning into a swinging gate at right tackle in 2007. He was routinely beaten by speed rushers off the edge, and he was also whistled for a ton of penalties both pre- and post-snap. Walker came to the Windy City in a training-camp trade with Buffalo and was billed as a sack specialist, but he simply did not perform very well and wasn't particularly interested in playing through what were believed to be some relatively minor injuries. The former Eagle didn't even bother to suit up in Week 7 at Philadelphia, even though he was only listed on the injury report as "questionable" at the time.

Saying goodbye to both Miller and Walker clears about $12.3 million in cap space for 2008, although there will be a total of $2.9 million in dead money left on the books.

John Crist is the Publisher of Bear Report and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.

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