Chicago Bears Football: 5 Veteran Free Agents the Bears Should Bring in for Camp
With training camp only a few weeks away, the Bears coaching staff will be looking for talented free agents to bring in to training camp.
Chicago has done an outstanding job of upgrading their roster this offseason, but they can't stop now.
There are several positions where they could use reinforcements to make this team a true title contender in 2012.
Here are five free agents that the Bears need to bring to training camp.
Andre Carter: Defensive End
Marc Piscotty/Getty Images
As we all know, the NFL is a quarterback driven league, and one of the most important issues any defense has to address is getting to the quarterback.
A year ago, the Bears were 28th against the pass, allowing over 250 yards per game.
In order to improve these numbers in 2012, Chicago has to improve its pass rush and have a threat opposite Julius Peppers.
One player who would make a significant upgrade at this position would be Andre Carter, who last played with the New England Patriots.
He was very productive in 2011, recording 10 sacks. Carter earned a Pro Bowl berth a year ago, and had an outstanding year prior to going down with an injury.
Once he is healthy, the Bears would be wise to give this veteran a chance in Chicago.
Jim Leonhard: Strong Safety
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images
The Bears have struggled in recent years with their safety play, and when healthy, Leonhard would bring an immediate upgrade to the position.
One red flag about this player is his tendency to pick up injuries, and last year his season was ended due to a torn patella tendon.
If not in a starting role, he would be an excellent backup as well as a contributor on special teams; an area the Bears hang their hat on.
Ernie Sims: Outside Linebacker
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Sims was very highly touted coming out of Florida State when he was drafted in the top 10 by the Detroit Lions, but he hasn't lived up to his potential thus far.
Now part of that reason has to be the teams he has played on.
The Lions were horrible when he was there, and the Colts weren't far behind Detroit last season. In the right system, and surrounded by the right plans, this player could make some noise in the NFL.
Chicago's linebackers are a bit long in the tooth, and a 27-year old like Sims could be just what the doctor ordered to sprinkle some youth into the mix.
Add that he would be able to learn from veterans such as Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher, and this player's ability to succeed increases exponentially.
Chad Clifton: Tackle
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
It's no secret that the Bears have struggled along the offensive line in recent years, and adding Clifton would be an upgrade to what has been a shaky group the last two seasons.
The veteran tackle from that team up north, would have the opportunity to earn a starting job or at the very least work his way into the two-deep rotation.
With all the injuries Chicago has endured along the line the past few years, adding a solid veteran like Clifton would be a wise insurance plan.
Clifton, along with former first-rounder Gabe Carimi returning from injury, would drastically improve the big fellas in front of Jay Cutler.
E.J. Henderson: Linebacker
Adam Bettcher/Getty Images
E.J. Henderson is another veteran the Bears could steal from an NFC North rival, and that would make his addition that much sweeter.
In each of the past two seasons, Henderson has recorded over 100 tackles.
Although the 32-year-old doesn't bring youth to the linebacking corps, you can't ignore this type of production at linebacker.
The combination of Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs and Henderson would provide a very physical presence in the middle of the Chicago defense.
It would be worth the time to bring in Henderson to see how he fits into the the 4-3 scheme in Chicago.