5 Best Free-Agent Acquisitions in Chicago Bears History

Ross Read@@RossReadContributor IIIJanuary 24, 2014

5 Best Free-Agent Acquisitions in Chicago Bears History

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    Matt Rourke/Associated Press

    This season, we get the free-agency period before the NFL draft. This gives the Chicago Bears a chance to fill in some holes before deciding on which young players they want to bring into the league. 

    The Bears have had a multitude of free agents come through Halas Hall. Some have been great moves, and others have been huge misses. 

    These are the five best in team history. You won't see Bryan Cox or Adam Archuleta on this list. Erik Kramer didn't make the cut, and neither did Ted Washington. Cycle through to see who did. 

5. Offensive Tackle John Tait

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    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    John Tait was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs 14th overall in the 1999 draft. He was widely considered the best tackle to come out that season. 

    After five seasons in Kansas City, the Bears signed Tait to a six-year, $34 million offer sheet the Chiefs failed to match. 

    Tait struggled his first two seasons in Chicago but found success in his last three. He was a solid anchor on the left side who had his best work with the team during its Super Bowl run back in 2006. 

4. Running Back Thomas Jones

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    David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    When Thomas Jones came into the league, he was labeled injury prone. After a failed stint in Arizona, he went to Tampa Bay to split time with Michael Pittman. 

    Jones signed a multi-year deal with the Bears for the chance to be the featured running back. Jones became a durable and powerful force for three seasons in Chicago. 

    He set a franchise postseason record with 123 yards against the Saints during the 2006 Super Bowl run. Who could forget his 52-yard run in the Super Bowl? He had 112 rushing yards that game. 

3. Cornerback Tim Jennings

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    Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

    Tim Jennings was considered a lost player at the beginning of his career with the Colts. He had four interceptions in four seasons in Indianapolis. 

    Jennings had an up-and-down start to his Bears career as well. He served as a starter in 2010 and most of 2011 but was benched after a poor performance against the Seahawks late that season. 

    What happened next season was improbable. Jennings had nine interceptions and made his first Pro Bowl. He added four this past season and now has two straight Pro Bowl appearances. 

    The Bears recently signed Jennings to a four-year contract extension. 

2. Defensive End Julius Peppers

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    David Richard/Associated Press

    The Bears opened up their pocket books on the first day of free agency in 2010 and got the biggest name on the market. 

    Julius Peppers was already a two-time All-Pro and had been to the Pro Bowl twice by the time he got to Chicago. He reinstated the Bears defense as a legitimate force.

    Peppers made the Pro Bowl three straight seasons with the Bears and received All-Pro honors once. He has 38 career sacks in Chicago. 

    Two years still remain on Peppers' deal, but that could be in serious doubt with his declining play. 

1. Defensive End Steve McMichael

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Steve "Mongo" McMichael was drafted by the New England Patriots but was signed by the Bears just one season later. He went on to have 92.5 of his 95 career sacks in Chicago. 

    There's no doubt McMichael was able to hold his own on a very talented Bears defense. He was one of the toughest players in league history and a very productive one at that. He spent 13 seasons with the Bears before going to the hated Packers for one. 

    McMichael was a two-time Pro Bowl player and a Super Bowl champion with Chicago. He even dabbled as a pro wrestler after his football career.