The 12 Most Intriguing Free Agency Options for the 2010 Chicago Bears
With the 2009 season already down the crapper, I guess it is time to start looking forward to 2010.
Without having a first or second round pick in next year's draft, the Bears are going to have a tough time building up their roster through young players, so free agency is the next best option.
Of course, this all hinges on the Collective Bargaining Agreement being signed. If one is not reached, the 2010 season will be played without a salary cap, which if the Bears brass weren't such tightwads might actually be a good thing considering the Bears play in one of the biggest markets and make considerable amounts of money each year.
So, while reading this article, just assume the CBA has been settled and all is well in NFL land.
No. 1 - WR Vincent Jackson
At 6'5" and talented, he would automatically become the Chicago Bears top wide receiver.
He is an unrestricted free agent, who is highly unlikely to leave the highly productive situation he is in now with the Chargers, but it would be worth a shot to go after him.
He has slowed down of late, and if he continues to do so, perhaps it will drive the price of his contract down to a place the Bears might actually be willing to go.
I am on the fence about the Bears wide receivers right now, and do think that they can become a good group if given time, but adding a talent like Jackson to the bunch would make them an excellent group, rather than one that needs time to grow into their own skin.
No. 2 - OG Logan Mankins
At only 27 and one of the elite run blockers in the NFL, Logan Mankins is just the kind of player the Chicago Bears need.
He will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season and has stated that he would like to stay in New England.
But, perhaps the Chicago Bears can offer him a little extra to help anchor an offensive line that will be blocking for a featured back unlike the rotating hamster wheel that is the New England Patriots backfield.
No. 3 - DE Ray Edwards
Obviously, the Bears need help rushing the quarterback from the defensive line position.
Ray Edwards provides that help.
It will be extremely tough to get him to leave the cushy position he is in now with the Vikings, but if Brett Favre leaves after this season (seriously, who knows what he might do now), he may see the light and assume the Vikings won't be as good.
Perhaps, then, he will want to "jump ship" and pull a Favre by playing for a division rival.
God knows we could use his fierceness coming off the end. With Adewale Ogunleye being a free agent after this season, the Bears are going to have to decide if they want to resign him or go in a different direction.
I hope they go in Ray Edwards direction.
No. 4 - OLB Elvis Dumervil
Maybe he REALLY liked Jay Cutler and wants to play with him again.
Seriously, whatever angle the Bears need to approach him with, do it. He is one of the premier outside linebackers in today's NFL, and if the Bears had the opportunity to team him with Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs in between the line and the safeties, I don't know why they would pass that opportunity up.
I don't see the Broncos letting him go without a fight, so the Bears might need to bid high on this one. It's not like the Broncos are in a much better position than the Bears are.
Thinking of that linebacker corps just made me start to drool.
No. 5 - NT Vince Wilfork
He's young and clogs up the middle. What more could you ask for out of a defensive tackle?
Just look at him. The sheer size will put fear into opponents offensive lines the likes of Tommie Harris and Marcus Harrison just can't provide.
I know the Bears have a whole slew of defensive tackles on their roster, but it might do them some good to chop that position down in size (no pun intended) by adding a force like Wilfork who can be the main attacking point on that defensive line.
He is not a pass rusher by any stretch of the imagination, but the way he gobbles up the middle of the field takes away running up the gut. The Bears already have a good run defense, but adding a talent like Wilfork would lock the run game down.
No. 6 - OT Jeremy Trueblood
He has injury issues right now, but the Bears have offensive tackle issues that they need to discuss.
There are not many great options available in free agency, but Trueblood could be had for cheap if they can't find a decent tackle in the later rounds of the draft.
My best piece of advice would be to draft tackles with every pick in next year's draft, because odds would be on the Bears side that at least one of them would pan out.
But, if they aren't willing to do that, then signing Trueblood might be the next best option.
No. 7 - OG Richie Incognito
I think everyone gets the picture by now. The Chicago Bears offensive line sucks.
Plain and simple.
They need run blocking and pass blocking help, and Richie Incognito can help with both of those. His run blocking is better than his pass blocking right now, but at this point the Bears can use anybody that can do any blocking.
The Rams have a ton of Guards on their roster, so I wouldn't imagine they will extend an offer to Incognito, so he is easily up for the taking. And, he will definitely be able to be had for cheap.
Beekman, Omiyale, and Garza are just not the answers, so I wouldn't mind seeing a complete overhaul and the Bears bringing in Incognito and Logan Mankins.
No. 8 - WR Brandon Marshall
Yes, that is Brandon Marshall wearing a Chicago White Sox hat at a recent Denver Nuggets game. A sign of what's to come?
I sure hope so.
Like Vincent Jackson, Brandon Marshall is 6'5" and more talented than any of the wide receivers we have on our roster.
And, he has already had legitimate success with Jay Cutler. Of course, it wasn't in an offense ran as poorly as ours is (thanks Ron Turner), but things could change once a talented WR is brought in to the system.
With all the off the field miscues he has had, teams might be reluctant to go out and spend money on him, but that is all the more reason why the Bears need to go grab him. Who wouldn't want a discounted Brandon Marshall on their team?
No. 9 - LB Demeco Ryans
I know that he plays middle linebacker, but with the speed he has, I could see him fitting in well as an outside linebacker.
And, with Urlacher being an injury fiend these days, it wouldn't hurt to have a talented middle linebacker on the roster that could come in and take over without missing a beat.
He is one of the best when it comes to covering backs and tight ends down the field, which is never a bad thing to have on your team. Having him cover that might help free Urlacher and Briggs to blitz more often.
No. 10 - OLB Shawne Merriman
He seems to be an injury waiting to happen, which is something the Chargers are definitely worried about. With that being the case, they may decide to not resign him if he asks for too much money.
Once he realizes that he may not get the money he wants in the open market due to his injuries and off the field issues, perhaps he would welcome a job with the Chicago Bears.
A talent like his is undeniable, even if he has seemed to be on a downward spiral stat-wise.
If he could be had for cheap (unlikely), I think i would welcome the Bears taking a chance on him. But, the risk might not be worth it if he is going to ask for too much guaranteed time and money.
No. 11 - NT Casey Hampton
He probably wouldn't fit the Bears system, seeing as how he is a 3-4 kind of player, but a player with his considerable talents might be able to adapt better than one might think.
He is a great run stuffer, and has anchored one of the best defenses for several years now.
His age is a worry (he will be 33 next season), but at the same time, if he was willing to leave his beloved Steelers, I don't know a Bears fan that wouldn't be happy to see him in the three point stance wearing the number 98 for the Chicago Bears next season.
No. 12 - LB Keith Bulluck
He is a Demeco Ryans-type linebacker that is good in coverage and also can handle the run game.
He plays the outside linebacker role, and would fit in well with Urlacher and Briggs.
He is a leader; the captain of the Titans D, who is one of those players that just knows how to play the game. Yes, it's a cliche, but it's true about Bulluck.
With him in the game, you feel comfortable that he is going to stay in his lanes, handle the intricacies of his position, and most importantly, not blow his coverage or make a mistake that will cost the team six points.
His age is another worry (he will be 33 next season), but his playmaking skills are still present, and he could be a valuable contributor for three or four more seasons.