Guard Josh Sitton sends big message by signing with Packers' rivals

Offensive guard Josh Sitton getting released by the Green Bay Packers ranks up there with some of the more surprising moves on cutdown day 2016. Watching him march to sign with the Packers’ biggest rivals should be filed under the “hardly shocking” category.

Sitton reportedly agreed to a new deal with the Chicago Bears — and for big money.

Josh Sitton was let go by the Green Bay Packers and will join the rival Chicago Bears (Getty Images).
Josh Sitton was let go by the Green Bay Packers and will join the rival Chicago Bears (Getty Images).

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Sitton, 30, was set to enter the final year of his five-year, $33.75 million contract he had signed with the Packers and was upset that the team had no interest in renegotiating during the season for a new deal. After trying unsuccessfully to trade him, the Packers decided to cut Sitton.

The Bears acted fast and got the first visit with him. The New Orleans Saints had something scheduled with Sitton, too, so the Bears had to act quickly and come in with a big number. He now will make more this season than he would have with the Packers.

For the Bears, the move makes sense because their offensive line has appeared to be a weakness at times this preseason. Sitton will play left guard, which had been manned by struggling second-rounder Cody Whitehair, who will get a shot to win the center job against Ted Larsen. The Bears have been busy this holiday weekend, signing All Pro guard Kyle Long to a four-year extension for huge money and cutting their beloved kicker, Robbie Gould. That’s a lot of money to commit to a pair of guards, but the Bears felt they badly needed the upgrade.

For Sitton, the money had to be an enticing reason to sign with the Bears. But so would the chance to play his former Packers team twice a year. Sitton has been a quality starter since the 2009 season and has only missed only two games since then. But his unhappiness and some chronic back issues that have slowed Sitton a bit were enough for the Packers to dump him without a clear and obvious replacement in tow.

That had to burn the veteran Sitton. Although the team thanked him for his service, the statement also mentioned that releasing him would be “best for the team and the growth of the offensive line.” A bit of a slap on the way out the door, no?

Sitton will have his chance at redemption twice season. He’ll head back to Green Bay in Week 7 when the Bears face the Packers on a Thursday night game. The rematch back in Chicago comes in Week 15.

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Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at edholm@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter!