The Bears began shaping their 2018 team Tuesday by making their most hard roster decision, as well as their easiest, in the span of a few hours.
The Bears have declined LG Josh Sitton's $8 million team option for 2018, making him a free agent.
The Bears also reportedly released veteran linebacker Jerrell Freeman on Tuesday morning in a separate roster move. Indeed Freeman did as he had with the Colts and racked up a team-high 110 tackles, but his season was dampened when he was accessed a four-game ban for use of performance enhancers in the second half of the season. He received a 10-game suspension midway through the season, sealing his fate. He signed with the Bears after the Packers released him just before the 2016 season. Sitton was a Pro Bowler during his first season in Chicago, but battled injuries, missing seven games during each of the past two seasons, including three in 2017.
Despite an injury-plagued 2017 campaign, Freeman will likely draw a ton of interest in free agency.
The window to decide on Sitton's option opened five days after the Super Bowl and was set to close March 9.
Eric Kush entered last season as the Bears' top backup at guard, but he missed the season with a torn hamstring.
Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson is considered one of the top players in this year's draft and he has frequently been linked to the Bears in mock drafts. Right guard Kyle Long is recovering from offseason surgeries.
Former Green Bay Packers guard Josh Sitton, now 31, will be free to sign with 31 other teams when the new league year begins in March.