The Bears' last big splash in free agency was defensive end Julius Peppers. Now it appears that the Bears want to upgrade their other defensive end spot opposite Peppers for next season.
While they could look to the draft to upgrade their defensive end spot, there are a lot of options in free agency this season at DE.
Here are just a few of those options.
Calais Campbell, DE
Campbell had eight sacks last season as a 3-4 defensive end, which is very good. He is a 25-year-old player who was on the Cardinals last season, and the team will be very keen on trying to keep him in Arizona.
However, if the Cardinals can't keep Campbell around, the Bears would be very smart to get Campbell signed in Chicago.
Campbell might have to play DT for Chicago if he can't adjust to being a DE in a 4-3, but if that's the case, then Chicago will likely re-sign Idonije to be their DE and Campbell can wreak havoc from a tackle position.
I think Campbell can handle a DE spot in a 4-3 defense, but we'll have to see how that works out if he decides to leave Arizona this offseason.
Bottom line—Campbell would be the perfect compliment to Peppers on the Bears' defensive line, and if he is made available this offseason, the Bears have to try and get him.
Cliff Avril, DE
Cliff Avril had a ridiculous 11 sacks last season, and the year before that he had 8.5 sacks. Avril might be a gift to the Bears if they can sign him because he would compliment Peppers fully and would also step up every time they played Detroit.
Avril, like Campbell, is only 25 years old. He's also had at least five sacks in every year he's been in the league.
Avril would replace Idonije on the defensive line for the Bears next year and give the Bears one of the best pass-rushing front fours in the NFL.
The Bears need to go hard after Cliff Avril or Calais Campbell, because if they can get one of those players, they will be a tough defense to go at.
Mario Williams, DE/OLB
This is a less likely scenario, but it is still plausible for the Bears.
Mario Williams was a DE for Houston his entire career until last season. Last year, Houston switched its defense to a 3-4 and Williams moved to OLB. Williams, who is excelled at DE, played great at linebacker before being placed on IR with a season-ending injury.
The Bears could try to bring in Williams and put him back at the DE position where he played so strongly at in Houston. There, he would be opposite Peppers and the Bears would easily have the best DE combo in the NFL.
It would be impossible to double-team both of them, so the Bears would get almost constant pressure on opposing quarterbacks all season.
Again, this isn't very likely because Houston will either keep him or Williams will go somewhere to play linebacker, but the Bears would be foolish to not offer Williams a big contract to play in Chicago.
Robert Mathis, DE
John Abraham, DE