Making some moves on draft day could very well figure into that plan.
Every potential draft-day trade depends on what happens during that always unpredictable event. In the following slides, I'll break down a few scenarios that could have Emery wheeling and dealing.
There are also some moves that could happen regardless of how the draft breaks, as some trades could work for both teams.
What we've learned in the past is that Emery likes to have options on draft day. In his first year in charge, he traded for Pro Bowl wide receiver Brandon Marshall, which meant the Bears didn't have to draft a receiver with their first pick.
Last season, he signed left tackle Jermon Bushrod and tight end Martellus Bennett on the first day of free agency, so the Bears could draft the best player on their board when their turn came.
It should be expected that Emery will give the team options again this offseason before draft day strikes, and he'll be well-prepared, regardless of how the draft breaks.
The New York Jets have the complete opposite problem as the Bears.
They're stacked defensively but don't have any offensive playmakers. At this point, nobody even seems to know if the team is sold on young quarterback Geno Smith. The Jets could be looking to move up, and the Bears could be viable trade partners.
If the Bears find themselves in position where they have a number of players they still like on the board, they could move back four spots and pick up an extra third-round pick—the 69th overall. Using the NFL draft trade value chart, the Bears may have to throw in a late pick to seal the deal, but that would be worth it.
The Jets could be able to select a playmaker of their choice—possibly North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron—and the Bears would still be in position to select an impact defender. With their extra third-round pick, they could either add another piece to their defense or use it in another trade.
This potential trade is based on the Browns using the franchise tag on T.J. Ward, as he's set to hit unrestricted free agency with a big price tag.
The Browns want to keep one of the top young safeties in the league, but they may be willing to part with him if they feel they cannot get a long-term deal done with him.
The Bears could offer the 14th pick and their third-round pick (82nd overall) for Ward and the Browns' second first-round pick (26th overall).
Using the trade value chart, the Browns would essentially be netting the first pick of the second round for Ward, as they would be coming up plus-280. The Bears could select the best player available at No. 26 or move down further for more picks with a stud safety already added to their defense.
With the 14th pick, the Browns would have a number of options. They could add another offensive weapon, replace Ward with one of the top safeties in the draft—Ha Ha Clinton-Dix or Calvin Pryor—or perhaps nab a quarterback if one drops.
Another crucial part to this trade is the Bears' ability to add other free agents. If they traded that much for Ward without first addressing their gaping holes on the defensive line, it wouldn't do a lot of good. If they're able to add a couple of starters to their defensive line via free agency and then trade for Ward, they'd have a lot of flexibility with the rest of their draft picks.
While it may be unlikely, it's possible that one of the top three pass-rushers in the draft could sneak out of the top 10, and the Bears would have to consider moving up for them.
The consensus top three pass-rushers at this point are South Carolina's Jadeveon Clowney, Buffalo's Khalil Mack and UCLA's Anthony Barr.
Consider this scenario: Four quarterbacks go in the top 10, another team takes Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins and two others select offensive tackles Greg Robinson and Jake Matthews. That already accounts for seven of the top 10 picks. Say Detroit goes for Justin Gilbert, Minnesota goes for C.J. Mosley, or a team falls in love with Eric Ebron, Mike Evans or any number of prospects.
Suddenly, the Bears would be looking at some of the top pass-rushers in the draft dropping to a point where the team could move up and get one.
It's unlikely that all three players will drop or even two of the three. Clowney is the least likely to drop, while Barr may be the most likely. All it takes is for one of them to get out of the top 10, and the Bears could be in business to move up with Tennessee.
The Titans may look to take whomever drops as they switch to a hybrid defense themselves, but they already have a terrific front seven. The Giants and Rams may decide the value is too great to pass up or trade back. If the Bears have whichever pass-rusher may drop rated near the top of their board, they have to move up to grab him.
To get to the 11th pick, they'd have to give up the 14th pick and probably their third-round selection (82nd overall). They may also grab a later pick to even the trade out, but it's doable.
If the Bears believe they have a can't-miss, impact player within striking distance, they have to do whatever they can to grab him.