Bears release Muhammad, sign Brown to two-year extension

The Chicago Bears released wide receiver Muhsin Muhammad Monday, but reached a two-year extension with defensive end Alex Brown.

The Muhammad release wasn't much of a surprise. His pass reception numbers have dropped in each of the past three seasons. Muhammad caught 64 passes in 2005, 60 in 2006 and only 40 in 2007. At the age of 34, he was entering the final two years of a five-year contract. The timing of the release was curious, though, because wide receiver Bernard Berrian is a free agent and is considered one of the top free agents available.

"Anytime a guy of Moose's stature is released, it's a surprise," said agent Joel Segal, who represents Muhammad and Brown. "It's good timing for Moose because it's on the cusp of free agency. It gives him time to sign with another team."

He called Brown's deal a "win-win for both sides."

Segal said there has been no contact with other teams, but "I'm sure my phone will start ringing tonight."

Muhammad started all but one game in his three years with the Bears.

Brown's two-year extension was a little surprising. He was entering the final year of his contract and had expressed some unhappiness early last season about his playing time. He started only two games in 2007. Despite that, he had 41 tackles and 4½ sacks.

Meanwhile, the Bears cleared out more veterans by cutting right tackle Fred Miller and deciding not to pay defensive tackle Darwin Walker a $5.2 million roster bonus.

Miller was heading into the final two years of his five-year, $25.525 million contract in 2008, but the Bears are in the midst of starting a youth movement along the offensive line. Guard Ruben Brown is a free agent and isn't expected to be re-signed. Miller is 35 years old and a veteran of 12 seasons. He was notified Monday of his release.

The Walker decision also wasn't a surprise. The Bears acquired him in a trade with the Buffalo Bills with the hopes of helping out their troubled defensive tackle position last summer. The Bears cut Tank Johnson during the offseason and lost two other defensive tackles in free agency.

Walker was often injured, however, and now the Bears have decided to go a different direction by releasing him. He signed a five-year, $25-million contract two days after the trade, but knee and elbow problems limited him to 33 tackles and one sack in 11 games.

Agent Albert Irby said the injuries were "just nagging types of things" and his client is fine.

"It's the Bears' choice," he said. "It's the way the business goes. That's their decision."

John Clayton, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame writers' wing, is a senior writer for ESPN.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report.