Other than "Rex Grossman drops back for the pass," it's the one thing Bears fans don't want to hear: the Bears are cheap.
That was the assertion made by Sirius radio host and former NFL coach Pat Kirwan this week. On his satellite radio show "Movin' The Chains" -- apparently satellite radio still exists; who knew? -- Kirwan said he had spoken with Angelo, and that the GM would like to spend money, but isn't being allowed to. The transcript, edited down to the notable stuff:
"The other thing is, if you're a real Bear fan, you know that this is not exactly the most generous spending team in the history of football. So he's got restrictions and restraints and he's not going to [say], `Hey, I'm trying to sign this guy but my owners won't let me,' You think he's going to say that? No. [...] So he is a little bit bound to his draft picks where you've got to exhaust every opportunity to make that guy work before you surrender and try something else [...]
"[H]e was absolutely sick to his stomach that something might be going on that he couldn't control because he didn't have the cash to do it.''
The implication in all of this is pretty clear: Jerry Angelo wants to wheel and deal, and the McCaskey family won't let it happen.
It's not quite that simple. For one, Kirwan never actually states when he had this conversation with Angelo -- he could be talking about a deal, hypothetical or not, that happened three years ago. The conversation makes sense in light of the current economic maelstrom, but that doesn't mean it happened this offseason. Maybe Virginia McCaskey told Angelo to go wild. Maybe Jerry's just sitting this one out. Maybe.
Anyone who even casually observes the Bears probably doesn't believe that. Chicago never likes to spend money, and the 2009 offseason has been no different. Even in the past, when Angelo signed aging wideout Muhsin Muhammed -- it was a bad deal, but at least it was a sign of life. At least the Bears did something. This year, much better wide receivers have already come and gone with nary a whiff from the Bears.
If it's true, it sucks. That's not the most elevated way to put it, sorry, but if you're interested in seeing a quick Bears turnaround, it doesn't look like 2009 is going to be your year. Patience, we guess. With the Bears, that's always easier said than done.
Eamonn Brennan is a writer, editor and blogger hunkered down in Lincoln Park. You can also read him at Yahoo! Sports, FanHouse, MOUTHPIECE Sports Blog, and Inside The Hall, or at his personal site, eamonnbrennan.com.