What Offseason Moves Are Next for the Chicago Bears with the Draft Complete
The Chicago Bears found a new generation of players from the draft to help them get back into the playoffs. It's now time to move forward and really focus on the upcoming season.
Before the start of training camp, the Bears still have some work to do. They have done a great job filling in the holes on the roster, but some low-hanging fruit still remains.
The star wide receiver, young linebackers and incoming defensive tackles all highlight the moves the Bears still need to make in the offseason.
Get a Long-Term Deal Done with Brandon Marshall
Since joining the Bears back in 2012, Brandon Marshall has been the consummate pro on and off the field. He's gone to two straight Pro Bowls, solidified the wide receiver position and deserves to get paid.
Yes, Marshall still has one more year left on his deal and the Bears could use the franchise tag twice on him, but why put him through that? Marshall is still only 30 years old and he's been very durable in his career.
It would be wise for the Bears to get this deal done sooner than later. Having it drag out runs the risk of upsetting a key part of the team and could ultimately drive up the price.
Next offseason could see names like Dez Bryant, Jordy Nelson, Demaryius Thomas and Roddy White hit the market. It could be an offseason that sees the market price for receivers driven sky high. A deal with Marshall before then could save the Bears a few bucks.
Help Shea McClellin and Jon Bostic Succeed
Everybody is all excited about the new players coming in on defense, but this unit will not get better without contributions from Jon Bostic and Shea McClellin.
Defensive coordinator Mel Tucker and his staff will have the tough task of getting both players on the field and finding a way for them to succeed. Tucker has to get creative and spend time this offseason developing packages for the two.
Look no further than the New England Patriots, who use two players similar in style to Bostic and McClellin in a variety of different ways.
Rob Ninkovich was a below-average journeyman until he got to the Patriots. Now he's a versatile defensive end/linebacker who's racked up 27.5 career sacks and nine forced fumbles in New England.
Jamie Collins was the Patriots' second-round pick last year, like Bostic was for Chicago. He played middle and outside linebacker all while using his speed and athleticism to make plays. Who can forget his performance in the playoffs against the Indianapolis Colts when he had a sack and interception?
Bostic and McClellin need to be put in a position to help this team with their strengths. It's up to Tucker to not be so vanilla on defense and show multiple looks to allow the young linebackers to make plays.
Get Ferguson and Sutton Focused and Ready
Ego Ferguson and Will Sutton could be steals of the draft, or they could be huge letdowns. Both players have a ton of talent, but it's their work ethic, focus and desire that caused them to drop to the second and third rounds, respectively.
It's important the Bears get both players on a plan as soon as possible. Diet, strength and conditioning are going to be key leading up to training camp.
Along with working on the measurables, it's going to be equally important the Bears set the tone and make sure these guys are working hard and are comfortable with the scheme very early.
The team can not afford to disconnect at any point with either tackle. The short and precious time from after the draft leading up to training camp, all the way through the start of the regular season could make or break whether they both are valuable contributors this season.
Prep David Fales
Jay Cutler has not been able to stay healthy throughout his tenure in Chicago and nobody can realistically get excited about Jordan Palmer checking into a game.
Marc Trestman has done wonders in his career getting the most out of quarterbacks, and he has his next project in front of him in the form of sixth-round pick David Fales.
It would be best served for Trestman and his staff to work diligently with Fales to make sure he's ready to be the backup quarterback. Palmer doesn't have a lot of experience over Fales and certainly doesn't carry the upside Fales does.
If the Bears do need a quarterback to relieve Cutler for whatever reason, it would benefit the team a great deal if it was Fales.
Develop a Winning Attitude
Enough is enough. The Bears haven't been to the playoffs since 2010 and have missed the postseason six out of the last seven seasons.
The team went out and got impact players like Jared Allen and Lamarr Houston, but nothing changes unless the vibe gets better at Halas Hall.
From the top down, this organization has to develop a swagger and attitude. Marc Trestman has to have his team believing they are the team to beat in the NFC North.
There's a high-powered offense and a retooled defense. This team can dethrone the Green Bay Packers in the NFC North, but it starts now. From OTAs and rookie minicamps all leading up to training camp and preseason, the Bears have to develop a true attitude saying they won't settle for anything less than the playoffs in 2014.