Tommie Harris has left the building. The Bears released the once all-star defensive tackle February 28, 2011. But that's old news now.
The topic at hand is what should the Windy City do with potential free agent Anthony Adams?
Right now the Bear's defensive tackles squad (before the draft) consists of Adams, Marcus Harrison, Matt Toeaina and Tyler Tank. You could even throw Israel Idonije in there as a defensive end/defensive tackle hybrid.
Harris' exit certainly downgraded the group but what do they do now?
Speculations and mock drafts have the Bears taking a D-tackle early in the draft—most commonly their second round pick. Should they have to wait for a young prospect to develop into an elite players in years to come or should they opt out and pick up a veteran in the free agency?
Let's back up and say that the Bears don't resign Adams and he falls into the free agency, they have to go for Cullen Jenkins. He seems to be the best option for the Bears as far as bringing in a experienced player.
Helpful to Teammates Behind Him
With experience in both the 4-3 and 3-4 schemes, Jenkins can both rush the quarterback and distract the offensive lineman, allowing any linebacker to get to the quarterback.
Some or even most of the success that A.J. Hawk, Clay Matthews and other Green Bay linebacker's have had can be credited to Jenkins. He was able to put initial pressure on the offensive and make QB un-easy in the pocket while the 'backers finished the job.
Chicago has two of the top, and most experienced, linebackers in today's game. If Jenkins can create holes for them to rush through, Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs would have a field day getting to the guy in the pocket.
Who knows, we might even see Chris Harris or Danieal Manning come in behind Jenkins for a sack or two. Possibly Major Wright as well?
Jenkins only played in 11 games this past season but still managed to record seven sacks for the year. When one watches him on tape they can see that for a defensive tackle, he makes moves that some defensive ends can't even make. Whether its swims, spins or bull rushes—Jenkins makes plays behind the line of scrimmage.
He's disruptive and can be a lethal weapon on the Bears already successful defensive line.
Just look what he did to our favorite running back in 2009.
What Should the Bears do?
Significant Upgrade to Talented D-Line
He can only make them better. Just like Israel Idonije, Jenkins can be a DT/DE hybrid when lined up in a three-point stance. These two could work in a tandem running stunts and causing havoc in the backfield.
With a line that could consist of Julius Peppers, the up and coming Idonije, Cullen Jenkins and any other tackle, possibly a talented rookie, Chicago could have the most dominant line in the NFL.
Switching gears now, let's say Jenkins gets resigned by the Pack or gets picked up by another team—should the Bears hold on to Adams or let him go?
Comfortable in Chicago
Adams will be entering his fifth season in Chicago if resigned—the longest he'll ever stay with a professional franchise.
With Harris consistently declining in the past few years for the Bears and Idonije moving to D-End, Adams stepped up to the plate as the main man in the middle. He was arguably the best three-technique lineman that the Bears had last season.
If he were to leave and Cullen Jenkins weren't to sign with the Bears, they might have trouble in center next year.
Potential Tandem with Jenkins
Is it possible that Chicago brings back Adams and reels in Jenkins? Of course. But they might have to make some sacrifices.
Olin Kreutz might one of those players they'd have to no resign as his contract would be short, but for a substantial price.
Having both three-technique tackles on the Bears defense could just further the argument that they could have the best d-line in the NFL.
While Adams might not have racked up the sacks last season, or seasons prior to that—his career high is 2.5—he will stop the run and always be apart of a Bears gang tackle. His presence in the middle is most appreciated.
The three-technique defensive tackle that he is works for the Bears because of their rush-happy linebackers. The sacks of Briggs and Urlacher may not show up on Adams stat sheets, but you can bet your bottom dollar he helped them get those sacks.
Chicago has a chance to improve their defense greatly without the use of the draft. If they find that Jenkins is too far of a reach financially then they resign Adams. Both players have talent they can, and have, brought to the table, but which one is a better fit for Chicago?
For Jenkins, he brings the three-technique and the disruptive force to the team but could also bring in a hefty paycheck that wouldn't allow the Bears to have more freedom in the free agency.
In Adams case he's been on the team for four seasons now and seems to have found his niche. But is his talent more valuable than that of Jenkins' more aggressive play?
Jenkins is signed and Adams is released: Cullen will be the heart and soul of the middle for the favored Tampa 2 defense of the Bears. Chicago also won't have to worry about blocking him two, or more, games a season.
In addition to the release of Adams, the Bears might also have to let go of other players if Jenkins asks for too much green.
Adams returns for a fifth season—Jenkins goes back to Green Bay: The Bears won't be hitting the panic button for a tackle, but they will still want to go out and draft one in hopes of developing a starter. He'll continue to study and improve through Rod Marinelli's system as well.
There will be additional cap space (depending on who else they let go and sign) to add maybe a backup/potential starter defensive tackle or offensive tackle.
Unfortunately they'll have to face Jenkins multiple times next season though.
They sign both Adams and Jenkins: A nasty defensive line and defense will be located in Chicago. Only problem is they might have to let some of their betters players go to free up some cap space.
Only time will tell what the Bears decide to do with this option at hand. A defensive tackle is in need of added depth and more talent. The question is, will they use the free agency or draft to get a much desired defensive tackle?