Webb's career shouldn't go up in smoke
His recent speeding and “weeding” notwithstanding, the much-maligned J’Marcus Webb has actually been a huge bargain for the Bears.
In the three seasons since he was drafted in the seventh and last round in 2010, Webb has started 44 games, including all 32 at left tackle the past two seasons. His performance has been sketchy at best, but he plays the most difficult position on the O-line and he was left on an island way too often by offensive coordinator Mike Martz in 2011, when he allowed an NFL-worst 14 sacks.
Webb’s performance has been up and down, but who among the eclectic collection of offensive linemen the Bears have trotted out in the past three years has been any better? Lance Louis, and that’s about it.
Webb has been much more effective than 2011 first-round pick Gabe Carimi, who has failed to hold on to starting jobs at the less-difficult positions of right tackle and right guard.
And Webb hasn’t cost the Bears much more than an undrafted free agent. As a late-round pick he received a nominal $60,600 signing bonus. His base pay as a rookie was the league minimum, $320,000. He also got the league minimum for a second-year player in 2011, $405,000; and the league-minimum for a third-year player last season, $490,000. He’ll get $1.323 million this season only because he triggered an escalator clause in his original contract by hitting playing-time incentives.
Webb needs to play better if the Bears’ offense is to improve and if he is to hold on to his job. He’s just 24 and could still develop into a very good NFL player. But he doesn’t deserve all the blame he’s gotten for the failings of the O-line. He has, at times, been part of the problem, but so has everyone else who has suited up, and all of them made more money.
Webb also doesn’t deserve to be crucified for Sunday night’s arrest. He will not face any drug charges for possessing less than 2.5 grams of marijuana. It was a stupid mistake, but one that shouldn’t define him.
He does need to dial up the intensity on the playing field, though, work harder at his craft and take his job more seriously. But you could stock the rosters of several Super Bowl contenders with NFL players who have used marijuana.