Greg DePalma’s take on the Bear’s free agency outlook. Hear Greg & Ourlads’ Dan Shonka weekly on Thursdays on the Prime Sports Network: http://primesportsnetwork.com/category/pro-football/
With over 50-million in cap space available for G.M. Ryan Pace, the Chicago Bears can be big players in free agency in an attempt to get competitive as soon as possible.
Top free agents
– QB Brian Hoyer
– WR Alshon Jeffery
– Very good
– QB…Will they deal for a veteran starter or re-sign Hoyer as the stop-gap before using their No. 3 pick on a player like Mitch Trubisky?
– WR…Why would they let a premier receiver like Jeffrey go in the prime of his career? If they do, this becomes a priority. If they re-sign Jeffrey they’ll still need to find more depth.
– TE…Zach Miller is too old and coming off a serious foot injury for the Bears to avoid making a move here. With a ton of talent coming out of college this looks like a good spot for one to land here.
– OT…Charles Leno and Bobbie Massie are average players at best. With a solid interior up-front, if they can just find one player here it should make a big difference for the entire unit.
– DE…They can probably live with what they have here for another season, but if the Bears really want to upgrade the talent here they can either sign a top player like Calais Campbell or use their top pick on one.
– LB…Thanks to injuries (Lamarr Houston, Danny Trevathan), youth (Leonard Floyd) and a suspension (Jerrell Freeman) there are far too many unknowns at this position to ignore the possibilities.
– CBs…This is clearly their top need. I expect they’ll use money and picks to upgrade for possibly two starters.
– S…Adrian Amos packs a punch, but the Bears need some speed and cover ability back here to pair with the third-year player from Penn State.
Key Injuries/games missed
The Bears suffered through one of their worst seasons in team history for short and long-term player injuries. It didn’t help that two key players (Jeffery/Freeman) also missed four games with drug suspensions. The most important injury on offense was with starting QB Jay Cutler who missed 11 games due to a shoulder injury. Starting center Hroniss Grassu missed the season while their top lineman, right guard Kyle Long dealt with a myriad of ailments including an ankle injury that placed him on season-ending IR just before Week 11.
On defense, three of their starting linebackers missed a total of 28 combined starts not including Freeman’s four game drug suspension. Starting nose tackle Eddie Goldman missed ten games with an ankle sprain.
The long list of injuries last season could actually be good news since it meant they had legitimate reasons why they performed so poorly. And thanks to over 50-million in cap space now available for G.M. Ryan Pace, I would expect he’ll use that money in an attempt to get competitive as soon as possible thanks to a 62-year old Coach in John Fox and a major city starving for results.
I imagine the Bears will try and find a veteran signal-caller rather than use their No. 3 pick on one. This will free them up to draft a player who can help immediately like Jonathan Allen.