The Chicago Bears released veteran cornerback Tracy Porter on Monday, as they continued the offseason overhaul of their secondary.
Porter started 15 of 16 games last season despite regularly having to have fluid drained from one of his knees. He had two interceptions for a defense that managed only 11 takeaways, tied for the worst single-season total in NFL history.
The Bears signed presumed starters Prince Amukamara and Marcus Cooper during free agency, signaling a push to turn the defensive backfield over in hopes of increasing the play-making element. Also, this year’s cornerbacks draft class is widely regarded as very deep.
Various mock drafts have the Bears selecting Ohio State cornerback Marshon Lattimore with the No. 3 pick overall, although analysts have predicted that starter-grade cornerbacks will be available as late as the fourth round.
Porter entered the league as a second-round pick of the New Orleans Saints in 2008. After single seasons in Denver, Oakland and Washington, he signed with the Bears in 2015 on a one-year contract and was re-signed last offseason to a three-year deal with $4.25 million guaranteed out of a $12 million package.
Porter, who turns 31 in August, was due to make $3.5 million in 2017. But he was also part of a secondary that produced historically low takeaways the past two seasons, although Porter was perhaps as close to a bright spot as the secondary had. He collected 48 tackles, two interceptions, 13 pass breakups and one forced fumble last season. In his two seasons with the Bears, Porter led the club in pass breakups (35), while also posting his top two single-season career marks in the same category (22 in 2015 and 13 in 2016).
Porter has started 88-of-98 career contests, posting 374 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 13 interceptions, 77 pass breakups, seven forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, 17 tackles for a loss and three defensive scores. He has also appeared in six postseason games (six starts), totaling 32 tackles, two interceptions – including one returned for a touchdown – three pass breakups, two tackles for a loss and one forced fumble.