Last season, the Chicago Bears assembled what looked like one of the best coaching staffs in the NFL by hiring head coach John Fox, offensive coordinator Adam Gase and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. There was a lot of well-respected knowledge on that staff, and they did a great job with certain aspects of the team.
They even made it so quarterback Jay Cutler performed well and his monstrosity of a contract wasn't as big a deal as people were making it. They looked good at times, but ultimately several injuries hurt them and they fell short of competing with the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings in the NFC North.
Chicago finished the season with a 6-10 record and with similar needs to the 49ers. But first, let's take a look at free agency and what the Bears did. They were very active, and we'll start with a list of their own significant free agents when the open market opened:
WR Alshon Jeffery
RB Matt Forte
TE Zach Miller
OT Jermon Bushrod
CB Tracy Porter
OL Patrick Omameh
Free agency recap
The first thing the Bears did was use the franchise tag on Jeffery. It was a good move, even if Jeffery hasn't yet established himself as a true No. 1 receiver in the NFL. They need him and this gives him a chance to earn himself a big deal next season.
Another big move the team made was to trade tight end Martellus Bennett, and backed up the trade by re-signing both Zach Miller and Rob Housler. I'm surprised they got a fourth-round pick for Bennett and consider that a win for them, though I expect the tight end to explode for the New England Patriots.
They lost Bushrod to the Miami Dolphins, and signed Bobby Massie to try and fill a need at the tight end position. They needed an inside linebacker, or a couple of them, and filled the need excellently by acquiring both Danny Trevathan and Jerrell Freeman. Both are great players and should give the Bears some oomph in the middle of their defense that they've been lacking since Brian Urlacher was at his prime.
Chicago likely considered Jeremy Langford the primary starting back as Matt Forte signed with the New York Jets, and they re-signed Jacquizz Rodgers for depth purposes. The other big signing they made was Akiem Hicks, formerly of the Patriots. They signed him two a two-year deal, and also re-signed Porter to a three-year deal. Omameh remains a free agent. The team lost Shea McClellin, Jarvis Jenkins and LaRoy Reynolds, none of whom are significant losses.
Needs heading into the NFL Draft
The Bears entered free agency needing two offensive tackles, two wide receivers and two defensive ends. They lost Bushrod, but were able to franchise Jeffery and sign both Massie and Hicks, knocking it down to needing one of each. Those are still needs, and should be addressed early in the NFL Draft.
In addition to that, they managed to fill their need for an inside linebacker which leaves them with few holes overall. Personally, I think they need another tight end, but this isn't the draft to get one, they could use a cornerback and another running back within the top three rounds of the draft.
Lastly, there is one significant need and I think it's at quarterback. Cutler performed well last season but isn't considerably durable and once again has a huge contract. This draft doesn't have any sure-fire starters outside of Jared Goff and Carson Wentz, but there are plenty of guys who could develop in a year or two to be starters, and now is the time for the Bears to get one of them.