The plan for free agency is to add depth and competition to an aging defense with mid-level free agents and to quietly add depth and focusing on resigning players on the roster.
DE Anthony Spencer [Dallas] 5 years 25 million/12 guaranteed
The Bears have an aging pass rush in Peppers and Idonije in a system that demands consistent pass rush from the down lineman. Spencer has been miscast in the Cowboys 3-4 defense and has shown some natural pass rush ability to go with solid physical skills. Spencer at 2* brings youth and can step in and start at LE across from Peppers with Idonije playing running downs and spelling both players.
QB Brady Quinn 2 years 5 million/2 guaranteed
The Bears get a proven backup that can come in and manage a game to protect themselves against what happened this season. Quinn has enough experience and enough of an arm that he can stand in for Cutler for a couple of games.
S Chris Hope [Tennessee] 2 years 4 million/ 2 guaranteed
The Bears have solid developing core of young safeties, but they do not have veteran backup that can help develop the youth and protect the Bears if Wright or Conte regress. Hope is at the ending stages of his career, but still has enough to come in and contribute in a limited role.
RB Matt Forte [5 years 45 million/21 guaranteed]
A must resign and the most dynamic playmaker that the Bears have.
WR Earl Bennett [4 years 12 million/4 guaranteed]
Consistency and a 3rd down monster he needs to be retained and should be extended before the end of the season.
WR Johnny Knox [3 years 9 million/3 guaranteed]
There were rumors that the Bears tried to extend him and I think they should try again to allow him further development. I believe Knox would be a great #2 if the Bears bring in a #1.
CB D.J Moore [4 years 10 million/5 guaranteed]
Perfect for the defense and a true take away machine he should be resigned for the top level of what a nickel CB gets.
TE Kellen Davis [1 years 2.5 million/1 guaranteed]
The Bears and Davis have still not realized his potential, but he is a very good run blocker and I think could be a very good receiver.
DT Amobi Okoye [4 years 14 million/6 guaranteed]
Okoye has proven to be a nice rotational player and has shown he can get to the QB. The Bears should try and resign him and keep him in the competition, but he is not worth breaking the bank for.
DT Henry Melton [5 years 18.5 million/10 guaranteed]
The Bears are in a position where a number of their young players have stepped up. Melton has not been consistent, but he has flashed dominance and he will have the stats to get a decent offer from other teams.
OG Lance Louis [5 years 20 million/8 guaranteed]
This is my dark horse signing as he has excelled at RT and showed tremendous improvement. Louis looks like a starting OLmen in the NFL and the Bears should reward the work that he has put in and the hustle and versatility that he has shown.
CB Corey Graham [3 years 5 million/3 guaranteed]
A valuable special teamer and has flashed a knack for the ball in limited defensive reps. The Bears should keep the special teams captain.
CB Tim Jennings [3 years 12 million/6 guaranteed]
Jennings is a solid starter and at times looks like a blanket cover man. Jennings physical nature and violent tacking is a key in the Bears defense.
DE Israel Idoinje [2 years 6 million/ 2 guaranteed]
Idonije might not be the pass rusher that the Bears need across from Peppers he is a great run stuffer and a perfect rotational player.
1 WR Dwight Jones [UNC] 6’4” 225lbs.
The Bears hope to provide Jay Cutler with the big target that he has not had since he and Brandon Marshall were dominant in Denver. Jones has a huge frame, decent speed and is a hands catcher who can get deep as well as be a threat with the ball in his hands. Jones provides the Bears with a player that can run the slant route and get the fade thrown to in the red zone.
2 LB Lavonte David [Nebraska] 6’1” 235lbs.
The Bears hallmark on defence has been dominant play at the LB position with Urlacher and Briggs. Both Urlacher and Briggs are over 30 and the Bears need to restock with speed and talent behind them. David has a ton of speed and plays similar to Briggs where he simply seeks and destroys ball carriers.
3 OG Levy Adcock [Oklahoma St] 6’5” 325lbs.
The Bears OL has improved steadily and actually looked pretty solid in the last few weeks. The Bears may not need an immediate starter, but they do need to continue to add depth and competition to the position. Adcock has played all over the Oklahoma St OL and has the size and physical nature to play OG in the Bears system.
3 CB Casey Hayward [Vanderbilt] 5’10” 200lbs.
The Bears CBs have played better than expected, but Tillman is aging and has been banged up and Jennings in undersized and can at times be picked on. Heyward supplies two things for the Bears. First, he is from Vanderbilt, which we know Jerry loves. Second, he is a big solid CB that can play the physical nature that the Bears want to play.
4. OT Matt McCants [UAB] 6’7” 300lbs.
J’Marcus Webb has improved throughout the year and with better consistency he looks like the Bears long term LT, but he needs competition to stay sharp and the Bears need a young developmental LT in case Webb is injured. McCants is raw, but is extremely athletic and has the frame to add a lot of weight and strength.
5. S Neiko Thorpe [Auburn] 6’2” 195lbs.
The Bears will always be looking at safety and in this case they need the depth. Thorpe is a former CB that has great size and speed. At the worst he provides depth and can play on special teams while he develops.
6. LB Chris Galippo [USC] 6’2” 240lbs.
The Bears need to start investing multiple picks into the position. Galippo has not lived up to his high school hype while at USC, but he has been schooled by Monte Kiffin in the Cover 2 and he is at minimum worth a year of development.
7. TE Jake Byrne [Wisconsin] 6’4” 265lbs.
The Bears add another blocking TE to the mix to replace Chris Adams and provide a physical technically sound blocker that can push Kellen Davis and Matt Spaeth.
QB: Cutler, Quinn, Enderle
RB: Forte, Barber, Bell, Clutts
WR: Jones, Knox, Bennett, Hester, Hurd, Sanzenbacher
TE: Davis, Speath, Byrne
LT: Webb, McCants
LG: Williams, Adcock
C: Garza, Spencer
RT: Carimi, Horn
RE: Peppers, Wootton
DT: Melton, Okoye
NT: Toenia, Paea
LE: Spencer, Idonije
SLB : Roach, Galippo, Iwuh
MLB : Urlacher, Dicico
WLB: Briggs, David
CB: Tillman, Jennings, Heyward, Moore, Graham
FS: Conte, Hope
SS: Wright, Thorpe, Walters