A New Regime in Chicago: 10 Moves Phil Emery Could Make This Offseason
Phil Emery was just named the new general manager for the Chicago Bears yesterday, and many fans are happy about the move. Emery was brought in to improve the Bears' scouting and drafting ability, and he seems to be a great candidate for just that.
Emery has some decisions to make this offseason though, like every GM in football. The Bears have positions all over the field that need to be upgraded, and Emery is going to have to decide where he's going to upgrade those positions—through the draft or through free agency.
Obviously, it would be remarkable if Emery could fill the Bears' positions of need in one offseason, much less his first offseason with the team. However, he will be able to add instant upgrades via free agency and then draft good talent in April hoping that some young players can come in and do the job.
This article will go over some of the decisions that Phil Emery is going to have to think about this offseason. Many moves in here are ones that Phil Emery should actually do, though he could easily change some of the stuff in here around.
Here are 10 moves Emery has to consider this offseason.
Let Roy Williams Walk
Fans across Chicago were somewhat excited when Roy Williams became a Bear before last season. Obviously though, if people didn't realize he was washed before last season, they definitely do now.
The Bears haven't had a true No. 1 receiver for a long time, and Roy Williams last year wasn't that No. 1 receiver the Bears were praying he could be. It wasn't necessarily an awful move bringing him in last year because you never know, but re-signing him to come back next year doesn't make a lot of sense.
The Bears will be looking to make a lot of upgrades to their wide receiving corps this offseason in the draft and through free agency. While re-signing Roy could provide some depth, the Bears will be looking to start fresh and go in a different direction.
Let Israel Idonije Walk
The Bears are going to be looking to upgrade their DE position opposite Julius Peppers this offseason, so re-signing the DE that didn't work last year might not be the best strategy.
Besides Phil Emery wanting to start over at some positions (like DE), there are some good reasons for this to happen.
First, it's not like Idonije was awful last year. He was actually a solid DE. However, if the Bears are going to want to upgrade their DE position through FA, they might as well sign the free agent and not Idonije. Signing both would put a lot of money into the DE position when one of the ends that's signed is a player you wanted to upgrade.
However, if the Bears were thinking about drafting a DE to upgrade their end spot, then they might want to keep Idonije. He provides good depth and is a solid player to rotate in when the rookie isn't playing.
In this article though, I would want the Bears to go after a free agent DE. This means that Idonije should probably not see another Bears uniform next year.
Re-Sign Kellen Davis
Kellen Davis may not be an amazing pass catching tight end, but for what the Bears ran last season, he was perfect. He could help out the offensive line with blocking, and he has a lot of size and athleticism.
After Martz retired though, I would like to see the Bears try to go out and upgrade their tight end position (but we'll get to that later). Kellen Davis is a player that the Bears won't have to over pay for, and he is a good guy to keep on the roster.
If the Bears do bring in a tight end, Davis will be a very good second tight end. Even if he is No. 1 though, the Bears could do a lot worse.
Try to Sign Forte to a Long-Term Deal
If I were the Bears new GM, I would want to get Forte locked up for the long term. Emery should really try to work out a contract that Forte agrees with and then get him signed.
I'm looking for a three or four-year contract with around 6-$9 million per year in base salary. Forte deserves it and Emery should give it to him.
However, if Forte isn't willing to a sign a deal like that or if negotiations stall, then they might as well franchise him. They really can't afford to let him walk because he is really important to the offense, but the Bears should really try to build around Jay Cutler.
To win a Super Bowl nowadays, teams need great quarterbacks. The Bears have a very skilled QB in Cutler, and they should be trying to bring in weapons to help him succeed.
I still suggest locking up Forte, but it might not be priority number one because they can always franchise him.
Upgrade the Tight End Position with a Good Pass-Catching Talent
We all know Mike Martz did not use tight ends as pass catchers in his offense very much. However, since he retired, the Bears can really look towards bringing in a tight end that can help Cutler out in the passing game.
Emery could look to draft a tight end, but the Bears have other needs to address early in the draft and getting a tight end in the fifth round or below is not enough of an upgrade. They should really look at the FA market and snag a good tight end to put in this offense.
One tight end that could work in Chicago but is unlikely to happen is Jermichael Finley. The Packers are probably going to franchise him if they can't work out a deal, but if they decide they can win without the frustrating tight end, they could decide to let him walk. This is where the Bears should really think about bringing him to Chicago.
Finley is an elite talent that if he can be properly coached, could really add an explosive element to the Bears offense. Cutler would love to go to him on third downs, and Finley has all the talent in the world to become an elite tight end in the NFL.
Yes, Finley dropped numerous passes last season, but he's still young and you can't teach size and speed. Finley's value will never be lower than it is right now because of the inconsistent season he had last year, and the Bears would be getting a tight end that would be exponentially motivated every time he played Green Bay.
Also, Finley loves to play in Soldier Field. Remember his three-touchdown performance in Week 3 in that stadium? Imagine that happening eight times in a season...
If Finley is unavailable this offseason, then the Bears should go after Fred Davis for similar reasons as Finley. Davis is a really good talent and would provide Cutler a really nice option in the passing game.
Bottom line: The Bears should really consider adding a FA tight end talent this offseason, and their top options are Jermichael Finley and Fred Davis.
Sign Free Agent CB or Safety
Both Tim Jennings and Zachary Bowman are free agents for the Bears this offseason and the Bears should look to re-sign one of them. If it were me, I would re-sign Jennings over Bowman because I think Jennings is the better player.
However, the Bears should really add to their cornerback positions through the draft or free agency. I'll get to the draft later, so in free agency the Bears should sign some quality depth to both their cornerback and safety positions.
Unless the Bears see elite talent somewhere at either positions, just signing a guy that can compete with Jennings for his starting spot would be a good option. Also, they may want to bring in a cheap talent at either safety position just in case that guy turns out to be better than Wright or Steltz.
Basically, the Bears don't want to get shredded when other teams go into five-wide receiver sets. Bringing in some quality depth through free agency should benefit the Bears defense.
Draft a Cornerback High
When I say high in the draft, I mean in the first four rounds. The picture I chose for this slide is Alfonzo Dennard from Nebraska, and if he's available to the Bears, he could be a nice option for Emery.
The Bears simply need a guy that has enough talent to fill in the second starting cornerback spot opposite Charles Tillman in the next couple of seasons. I have the Bears needing to sign a quality corner in free agency, but not to spend a lot of money for a guy they want to start. They should fill that void through a high pick in this year's draft.
Whether it's the first, second or third round, the Bears should scout a guy they like and look for him in the draft. Alfonzo Dennard could be a good pick in the first round, but unless they love him, they may want to wait until the second or third round for a cornerback.
Draft 2 Offensive Linemen in the First 4 Rounds
This picture is of Riley Reiff from Iowa, who could also be a good pick for the Bears in the first round.
The Bears are going to want to add some talent to their offensive line because they were really inconsistent last year, especially early in the season. They are going to want to draft a guy who can play offensive tackle and draft an offensive guard.
This could also mean Barrett Jones could be a good pick for the Bears, for he can play tackle and guard.
In their first four or five picks this April, Chicago should really look to increase the talent level on their offensive line. They are in need of a left tackle and most likely a guard as well, so filling those positions via the draft is probably a good idea.
Sign an Elite Free-Agent Wide Receiver
The Bears will be looking to make at least one splash in free agency this offseason, and if you don't include Fred Davis, this is their first splash I have them making.
The Bears should definitely sign one of these three guys: DeSean Jackson, Vincent Jackson or Dwayne Bowe. All of those players are very skilled and would be an elite upgrade at the wide receiver position for the Bears.
If it were my choice, I would sign Bowe.
Both of the Jacksons are either inconsistent or had too many drops and mistakes last year. Also, they both have displayed some problems with their character throughout their careers. Don't get me wrong, either Jackson would be a great signing, but when Bowe is available he almost has to be the top wide receiver available.
Bowe would finally give the Bears the No. 1 receiver they've been looking for, and (if you add Fred Davis into the equation) Cutler would finally have a lot of different targets to look for from the pocket.
The Bears need to get offensive weapons to compete with Green Bay and Detroit, and signing Bowe is a phenomenal way to do that.
Sign Calais Campbell
This is where the Bears upgrade their DE spot opposite Julius Peppers.
They let go of Idonije and they sign the best DE in free agency available. This would automatically make their defensive line a force to be reckoned with, and they could bring a lot of pressure in only four-man rushing calls.
If Campbell faced the same one-man blocking that Idonije faced last year, Campbell would be a real force to be reckoned with. He's a very skilled pass rusher and he's also only 25 years old. He would be on the Bears for a long time, barring injury or bust status in Chicago.
In conclusion, these 10 slides were to show different moves the Bears could make this offseason. This slideshow was designed to show that if everything happened like in this article, the Bears' offseason would be a complete success. They may not find elite upgrades at every position, but that is a lot to ask for in one offseason by a first-year GM.
The Bears do get elite upgrades at receiver, DE and even TE. Barring a coaching failure, the Bears would be looking at a much improved offense and a more consistent defense.
The Bears brought in Phil Emery to help Chicago contend right away. With these moves, I would say the Bears definitely have a good shot at a deep playoff run next year.