Grading Every Chicago Bears Major Offseason Move to Date
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The offseason was not without its excitement, surprise, success and drama for the Bears. In just a short time, a shift in philosophy happened as the team prepares to catch up on offense and get younger and more athletic on defense.
There's no doubt the Bears made some quality moves that will have them in a position to compete for a division title. All of that, of course, rests on the shoulders of a rookie head coach.
How do you think the Bears did this offseason? Continue on and match up your grades with the ones given here.
Hiring Marc Trestman
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When the Bears fired Lovie Smith nobody had a clue the direction they would go but figured they would focus on a coach with experience on the offensive side of the ball. What they found was a successful coach in the CFL who has never been an NFL head coach.
Marc Trestman comes with rave reviews from the likes of Steve Young, Rich Gannon, Jon Gruden and Jimmy Johnson.
The move was bold, original and surprising. Time will only tell if Trestman is successful, but his history with quarterbacks and NFL offenses suggests he will significantly help Jay Cutler and the rest of the offense.
The Bears only lost six games last year. Maybe they should have went with a more experienced guy to get them over the hump?
Where he will have to prove himself is handling the day-to-day tasks of coaching and the unique personalities that comes with today's NFL player.
Signing Martellus Bennett
Last season the Chicago Bears got only 29 receptions and three touchdowns from their tight ends. Newly acquired Martellus Bennett had 55 receptions and five touchdowns for the Giants last year.
It was clear the Bears needed to upgrade their tight end position, and they did so in a major way. Bennett was the clear cut best tight end on the free-agent market and the Bears wasted no time in going after him. They signed him on the first day of free agency.
If the Bears want to contend in their own conference and division, they are going to have to throw the football without relying so heavily on Brandon Marshall. Bennett provides a necessary security blanket for Jay Cutler over the middle of the field.
Signing Jermon Bushrod
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The Bears went out and made a blockbuster move in 2009 to get Jay Cutler, but they never addressed the issue of protecting him. The blindside of Jay Cutler has been a serious concern and has even caused the quarterback to shove J'Marcus Webb.
Left tackles are usually tough to come by in free agency, but this year saw quite a few quality options. The Bears opted to go with former New Orleans Saints tackle Jermon Bushrod.
Bushrod is reunited with current offensive coordinator and former Saints offensive line coach Aaron Kromer.
There can be some debate as to whether the Bears should have went after Jake Long or attempted a trade for Branden Albert. Still, there is no question Bushrod is an immediate upgrade and good signing.
Drafting Kyle Long, Jon Bostic and Khaseem Greene
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If there is one thing you can say about Phil Emery, it is that he drafts who he wants, where he wants and does not care what others think.
Not many people had Kyle Long, Jon Bostic and Khaseem Greene as the Bears' first three picks, and that maybe a good thing.
Long has great size and athleticism but is short on experience and technique. He has the raw skills to be very successful but still could be a project.
Bostic is a smart linebacker with great awareness and tremendous athletic ability. Is he mentally prepared enough to be the long-term answer to Brian Urlacher?
Greene is a playmaker with an excellent work ethic. How much he can absorb from veterans and on-field experience will dictate how high his ceiling is.
It is way too early to put a proper grade on the draft picks, but from a pure need and originality standpoint, the moves have to excite a Bears fan.
The Handling of Brian Urlacher and Henry Melton
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The offense may be getting better, but this has always been a defensive team. Due to the team being defensive minded, the way the Brian Urlacher and Henry Melton situations were handled were surprising.
Take the money out of the Urlacher equation. Could the Bears have done a better job with the line of communication to Urlacher? They signed D.J. Williams but could have used Urlacher instead to bridge the gap to Jon Bostic and give him a proper sendoff.
Not coming to a long-term deal with Melton meant a bigger cap hit this season after bringing him back under the franchise tag. For the salary-cap implications alone it was paramount the team come to a long-term deal with Melton.
For a team that came within one game of the playoffs, the extra cap space could have meant an extra player or two who could impact the team on the way to a division title.
Maybe if Urlacher was treated more like a franchise icon instead of just another guy he would have came back for the $2 million deal given to him.
Melton still can be signed to a long-term deal and Urlacher decided to play his last game as a Bear, but the team dodged a PR bullet on Urlacher not going elsewhere and they still missed out on other players due to low cap space.
The chain of events that transpired from the Urlacher and Melton sagas are not earth shattering but could have been rectified more smoothly for the good of the franchise.