Free Agency Review
In contrast to the other NFC North opponents we have reviewed this week (namely, the Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers), the Chicago Bears have been incredibly active in free agency, signing and re-signing players left and right. And, frankly, now is a good time to re-stock: they have just brought in a new coaching staff led John Fox with Adam Gase and Vic Fangio as the offensive and defensive coordinators. The Bears are going to want to match that staff with talent - and boy were they missing talent last season, at least on the defensive side of the ball.
Let's take a look at who the Bears signed and re-signed before highlighting a few names for discussion.
Signed: C Will Montgomery, DE/OLB Sam Acho, RB Jacquizz Rodgers, CB Alan Ball, ILB Mason Foster, DE/DT Jarvis Jenkins, G Vlad Ducasse, S Antrel Rolle, WR Eddie Royal, DE/DT Ray McDonald, and DE/OLB Pernell McPhee.
Re-sign: CB Sherrick McManis and QB Jimmy Clausen.
It is worth noting that the Bears have signed a hefty amount of defensive players; this will only do them good, I think, especially since their defense could use an overhaul. The best signing might be Fangio, but I do think that McPhee can do well for the Bears. So can Rolle, though his age will probably catch up to him soon. It also appears that McDonald with be reuniting with Fangio in Chicago.
The big surprise is the signing of Royal - not because Royal is an atrocious player or anything, but rather because it came due to a trade. Yes, the Bears traded WR Brandon Marshall to the Jets. The terms of the trade were surprising (the Bears gave up Marshall and a seventh round pick for a fifth round pick), but it got rid of a player who has a negative locker room reputation.
The Bears have six picks in the upcoming draft, missing only their seventh round pick (which they traded away to the Jets in the Marshall trade). They have the Jets' fifth round pick.
Round 1 - Pick 7
Round 2 - Pick 39
Round 3 - Pick 71
Round 4 - Pick 106
Round 5 - Pick 142 (from Jets)
Round 6 - Pick 182
It's hard to say what the Bears need at this point, having signed so many free agents. One has to imagine that not all of the free agents are going to work out (especially considering the fact that a lot of these players are likely for depth and competition), so it stands to reason that the Bears will continue to overhaul parts of their defense (looking at you secondary) and the WR corps now that Marshall is gone. It will also be interesting to see if the Bears draft a QB in this draft, and when. Cutler is, well, Cutler. That comes with some good and with some definite bad. The Bears might want to start grooming a successor.