After a disappointing 7-9 campaign in 2009 the Chicago Bears had some changes to make, and in my opinion they've at the very least are making attempts to put those types of seasons to a halt by signing two of the bigger named talents in Free Agency to the team in DE Julius Peppers, RB Chester Taylor and one decent player in TE Brandon Manumaleuna who I think will compliment 11 year veteran Desmond Clark nicely. The Bears also have second year man out of Rutgers Kevin Brock who spent the majority of his rookie season on the Steelers practice squad before signing with the Bears. Brock could be a good player and push "Manimal" for some playing time as the second string TE depending on his hands but he definitely fits the prototypical TE bill at 6'5 255 lbs.
I don't think that anybody is laughing at the Bears behind closed doors for signing as many players as they did because, lets face it, the Bears where an average team as best in 2009 and Head Coach Lovie Smith is being scrutinized in the Windy City and alot of that stems from two things: having only a few "winning" seasons as the head coach of the Bears and the signing of QB Jay Cutler. Cutler was not the player Bears Front Office or fans were expecting to recieve when they made the trade with the Broncos last year. Cutler showed some promising signs and another season in the Bears system will benefit him enormously but the Bears need to get a true threat at the WR position to help Cutler along.
Not only that but the only player that is guaranteed any real money in terms of football is Julius Peppers, Taylors deal is 4 years - 7 million I believe so they actually didn't go as hog-wild as many think. I just want to note here that EACH of the three players the Bears signed are 30 years of age. Is that a cause for concern, we'll see!
The Bears do have some players such as Brian Urlacher coming back from a seson ending injury so that is going to bolster their defense hugely and now having a prime-time Defensive End, the Bears Defense could be a very tough "D" to score on. Are the Bears the team to beat in the NFC North based off of the Free Agency period alone? Tough to say as the North is becoming a tough division in the NFL, with the Detroit Lions being the "exception"!