A year ago today, hopes were anything but high for the Bears in Bourbonnais. Chicago's beloved caniforms put up an abysmal season that only attained seven positive outcomes out of 16 matchups.
However, tides were meant to turn as expectations are exact opposite for the upcoming year of America's favorite sport.
One of the NFC's new found barbarian teams have signed multiple mid-range players to their squad. This list includes three former Dallas Cowboys: wide receivers Roy Williams and Sam Hurd, and tailback Marion Barber. In addition, top-10 pick from three years ago, Vernon Gholston, has been inked recently.
So, which one of these newly-signed Bears will have the biggest impact?
Well, for starters, the offseason is far from finished. There's been rumors of possible trades or other high-impact signings for the future. Speculation almost never happens, though, so don't get your hopes up.
In present terms, Marion Barber is undoubtedly the most reliable pick for Chicago's cream-of-the-crop of this year's free agency.
Chicago Bears football is known as one of the few "smashmouth" playing styles in the modern passing era. Regardless of whether that is to be upheld or not, Chicago is the city of running backs. Hall of Famers like Walter "Sweetness" Payton or Gale Sayers are only a couple of legendary tailbacks to grace the Bears.
Moreover, Marion Barber embodies that same hard-running mentality and performance of old times.
Goal-line scores by rushing has been anything but plentiful for Chicago in the past few seasons. Current starter Matt Forte is great all around, but symbolizes more finesse compared to in-your-face running.
The 2007 Pro Bowler, though, is a fantastic compliment to the likes of Forte.
With last year's backup/change-of-pace Chester Taylor most likely being shown the doors soon, this opens up a fresh start and new opportunity for Barber. Taylor was a smaller, faster replica of Forte. Barber, however, is the exact opposite in terms of running style.
Furthermore, Marion Barber had his most success in the same role as he'd have in Chicago when he was Dallas.
Playing in 16 games while starting none, Barber's lone Pro Bowl appearance came after a spectacular 4.8 regular season yards-per-attempt average on 204 attempts. In that season, it's obvious Barber wasn't a full-time starter.
Marion Barber may not be the flashiest, most agile back out there, but he has the best motor of any and can bruise up a goal-line defense.