Bears' Angelo will have hands full when locko
Bears' Angelo will have hands full when lockout ends
By Brad Biggs Tribune reporter 11:02 a.m. CDT, June 8, 2011
Whenever the NFLís lockout ends -- and some people think there could be a resolution in the next month -- the Chicago Bears are going to have to drop what theyíre doing and get to work.
Typically, Halas Hall clears out in the final week of June and the first weeks of July as everyone gets away to gear up for the start of training camp. If the owners and players can carve out a deal in the next month or so, early July will turn into a frenzied period for player acquisition.
Consider right now the Bears have only two-thirds of the players they will take to training camp on their 80-man roster. Yes, that includes the draft picks from April that are not under contract. It also includes the players like wide receiver Andy Fantuz and punter Richmond McGee, who signed reserve/futures contracts that are binding but do not take effect until the first day of the new league year.
The Bears have 54 players right now, so they will need to add 26 to open training camp with a full 80-man roster. There has been talk of possible roster expansion too, but no plans are final. After the Bears re-sign a small handful of their own free agents, itís going to leave 20 or more spots to fill.
What veterans could be re-signed? Center Olin Kreutz, linebackers Nick Roach and Brian Iwuh and defensive tackle Anthony Adams top the list.
Before you get excited for a wild spending spree in free agency, understand that there will likely be only a few outside free agents signed that will be given a legitimate chance to come in and win a starting job. The good thing is that despite needing a lot of players to fill out the 80-man roster, general manager Jerry Angelo and coach Lovie Smith have a pretty good idea how the 53-man roster will look right now. Eighteen of the 54 players on the roster right now started 10 or more games in 2010.
How will the numbers be divided? If last year can be used as a gauge, the Bears signed 14 undrafted college free agents after the draft and took 13 of them to training camp. Offensive lineman Levi Horn, who spent last season on the practice squad, is the only player remaining from the group. The Bears liked Horn enough to increase his pay on the practice squad late in the season, and heís worth watching moving forward.
But will the Bears and other teams approach the undrafted free agents differently given the circumstances of this unusual year? Many undrafted free agents are ďcamp bodiesĒ -- players who fill out the depth chart so full practices can be run effectively during the heat and daily grind of training camp. Other undrafted free agents are prospects that fell through the cracks during the draft for one reason or another. Teams want to look at them to see if they can win a spot and contribute or be developed on the practice squad. But with no rookie minicamp, no offseason program and no full minicamp, these players are going to be terribly behind what is going on. Chances of finding one to stick is really minimized and these players are truly hurt by the lockout.
In an unusual year where itís going to be hard enough to get draft picks up to speed, will more rosters be topped off with veterans who can quickly adapt to the teaching and playbook? Itís possible that the veterans who troll for minimum contracts will have an easier time finding work, especially if they have a familiarity with the schemes in place.
The Bears have more open spots than most teams, but it wonít take them long to complete an 80-man roster. The undrafted free agents are typically signed, sealed and delivered within two hours of the draft being completed. Thereís work to be done. Hopefully with the owners and players meeting privately in New York, that work can be started sooner rather than later.
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well as almost all just looking for "camp bodies" to fill the roster for camp.. much ado about nothing IMO... we need another lineman and WR in F/A and sign adams/roac and iwuh... rest is just camp filler to be gone 4 weeks later
Don't forget an OC prospect and another CB prospect. The WR and OG spots will have to be filled from among the vet FA's.
Originally Posted by dabears54
I'm getting to that age where a lifetime warranty just doesn't mean as much to me anymore as an afternoon nap. Honey Badger Don't Care. Honey Badger Don't Give a Shit.
agreed. expect the OC from the 7+ UDFA's centers out there now, and on CB have to see how f/a works.. just saying "most" of the rooster spots available for camp NOT to make team or be starters, but to just fill out the camp fodder list..
Originally Posted by soulman
I am sure Jerry will go dumpster diving for another linemen to protect Jay.