When it comes to the Chicago Bears defense, the cupboard is nearly bare, and the team is going to have to find ways to fill it if it wants to compete for a Super Bowl next season.
The Bears do still have six players who were opening-day starters in 2013 under contract, but it's possible that four of them won't be starters—at least not in the same position—or won't make the team in 2014.
The bottom line is that the Bears need players, and free agency is the first avenue in which they're going to try to find them.
At this point, we don't even know what kind of scheme the Bears will be running in 2014, much less the players they're going to target. Considering the most recent defensive hirings all have 3-4 backgrounds and defensive coordinator Mel Tucker has worked with both 3-4 and 4-3 fronts, it seems to be a good bet that the Bears will be running some sort of hybrid defense next year.
Regardless of the scheme, they need good players. They didn't have enough good players in 2013, and that was the biggest reason why their defense failed.
Last week, I did a wish list for the Bears to fill their defensive needs in either the draft or free agency. For that, I did not include the Bears' own free agents. This week, those will be included, but I will take out players who are likely to return to their current teams, such as Redskins linebacker Brian Orakpo and Bills safety Jairus Byrd.
Keep in mind, ideal fits also take price into consideration.
Here are some realistic options that the Bears could use to fill their holes on the defensive side of the ball in hopes of drastically improving there next season.