How Gaines Adams' Death Affects the Chicago Bears' Offseason Plans

Max KienzlerAnalyst IJanuary 18, 2010

BALTIMORE - DECEMBER 20:  The Chicago Bears defense huddles during the game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on December 20, 2009 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Bears 31-7. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)
Larry French/Getty Images

Writer's note:

Some may say that this article's timing is insensitive since Gaines Adams passed away yesterday, and if you feel that way, I do apologize.

However, the questions are there to be asked. I mean no disrespect to Adams, his family, or his memory, but the world does not stop spinning when someone passes away. This is how I deal with it—by continuing to focus on the future.

With the passing of defensive end Gaines Adams yesterday morning, the Chicago Bears must re-evaluate their offseason priority list.

Before Sunday, the Bears' biggest need was on the offensive line. This is still true, as the line play was atrocious for most of the season, and several players (Olin Kreutz, Roberto Garza, Orlando Pace) are getting older.

However, now with the passing of Adams—and the impending free agency of Adewale Ogunleye AND Mark Anderson—the DE position needs to be addressed.

If Ogunleye leaves—which is possible since he might be looking for more money than the Bears are willing to pay—and Anderson leaves, the Bears will be in a tight spot. They would be left with Alex Brown as the only true defensive end.

Israel Idonije would probably be shifted back to the end position (where he has played sparingly during his career), and two players coming off their rookie years in Jarron Gilbert, who was listed at tackle this season, and Henry Melton, who spent the year on IR, would be the other options.

Now, the Bears should be able to lure Anderson back, as his numbers following his rookie year have been sub-standard. But that still leaves much to be desired, especially considering that the Tampa 2 defense requires the front four to generate an immense amount of pressure.

This puts the Bears in a bad spot. They do not own a draft pick on the first day, and with the collective bargaining agreement due to expire in 2011, free agency could be tricky as well.

So Angelo needs to work his magic and find another steal in the third or fourth round. The best choice would probably be Brandon Lang from Troy, who put together an impressive senior season with seven sacks, three forced fumbles, and 31 quarterback hurries.

Angelo must also re-sign Anderson, have defensive line guru Rod Marinelli move in with Gilbert and Melton to teach them, and have Idonije drop about 20 pounds and work on his swim move.

The Bears need line help on both sides of the ball. While Adams' passing will have a long-term effect on the team, the Bears need to act quickly to try to help fill the void that his death has left.