5 Free Agency Mistakes Bears Can't Afford To Make............

Discussion in 'Chicago Bears' started by soulman, Mar 5, 2014.

  1. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    You can't tell me that defense didn't miss Urlacher's on field leadership last year. You watched the same games I did and it was evident by all of the pre-snap scrambling and chaos that was going on. His play may have been declining but not his ability to lead a defense. Players were very unsure and hesitant as far as their assignments and as a result they were often out of position and less aggressive than they needed to be. I also firmly believe without a shadow of a doubt that had Urlacher been making the defensive play calls and Peanut playing CB, instead of Anderson and Bowman in those roles, that Conte would have gotten the proper call and the coverage wouldn't have been blown that led to that last GB TD and being shut out of the playoffs. (not that we would have ever done much there anyway but I hate losing to the Pack for the NFCN title)

    I would agree with you that most of the guys on that list are younger than Peanut but not about the better part. How many of them have shut down Megatron twice a year. How many are two or three time Pro Bowlers?(and actually he should have had more than that) How many of them have his talent for creating big turnovers? How many of them are 6'2" and 200lbs and can play the run and pass equally well. In other words how many of them are the "whole package" that Tillman is? I don't think even one of them is. In the final analysis I know what Charles Tillman is capable of an how much trust they can place in him to man that island he plays on. I don't have that same trust in those others and hopefully the Bears recognize that too.

    If his play had been on the decline for a few years or is he had a long term history of injuries then maybe I'd agree that it's time to move on from him but none of that is the case. I believe they need to bring him back and give him a "fair shake" on the deal over two years and then, unless a serious injury or a major decline in his play develops, I believe he'll retire. That's my position and it's not gonna change. To impute injuries or a decline in play that hasn't happened yet is both ridiculous and unfair. Further more if they are gonna replace him then do it with a rookie draftee whose 22 years old and not a 28 or 29 year old vet we'll also need to replace in a few years.
  2. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    Captain Munnerlyn is 5'8" tall and usually plays the slot receiver when teams use three WR against their defense or the Flanker when they go with two. He doesn't normally play a taller #1 WR like Tillman does. In fact last year or two years ago the Bears thought they had him signed as their NB and at the last minute he decided to stay in Carolina.

    So he's roughly the same size as Tim Jennings. Do you really want two 5'8" CBs playing in a conference that has a whole lot of WR that are 6'3" and taller? Not that I necessarily agree but someone here was already carping about paying Jennings so much when he can't cover bigger receivers. Verner is only slightly taller at 5'10" and he's had one really good year out of the 4 he's played.

    I'd take either one of them as a NB or even as a CB if we didn't already have one midget playing CB, LOL. But with the trend towards taller big body WRs and the need for taller CBs to cover them if we're getting a new RCB I want one whose at least 6' or 6'1 who can match up with those guys. Peanut is 6'2" and although I'm not a big fan of him in zone coverage Bowman is actually a decent cover corner in man coverage and goes 6'1" and both of them are 195-200lb DBs.

    My position with all of these guys is about the same brother. You don't let still productive vets walk until you have their replacement. That's the proper way to restock a team on the fly. If we had already drafted Peanut replacement or knew for certain we could get a kid like Gilbert in the draft then maybe it is time for him to fly but until then I have to say no. Not as long as we're not paying him $6-$8 mil per year. I don't believe it will come to that but as little as $2 mil is far less than he's worth IMHO.
  3. butkus3595

    butkus3595 Pro-Bowler

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    Couple of things...good teams don't hang on to players for sentimental reasons and they don't wait for players to walk off the cliff...they either have replacements ready or find a replacement before that happens. In this case we don't have a replacement ready, but there are some available. Secondly, you kind of contradict yourself...you don't want to sign a 28 or 29 year old because you'll have to replace them in a few years, but you're ok resigning a 34 year old who you will definitely have to replace in a year. Which would you rather have...a player who is 34 and could fall off, or a player who is 25 playing at an equal or higher level? I'll take the latter. Lastly, I don't know what a 22 year old rookie in the 2nd or 3rd round is going to do in the league...I like sure things better.

    Like I said...I'm perfectly fine brining Tillman back, but I think we should at the very least look into some of these younger guys.
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  4. butkus3595

    butkus3595 Pro-Bowler

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    Verner has had more than 1 good year. He had a great rookie year, and his last 2 years were very good as well. I've already gone over his accomplishments ranking him in the top 5 in the league when it comes to corners. The guy is legit. Munnerlyn had his best year this year, that much is true, and he graded out positively in every game played, but you're right...two 5'8 corners could be concerning.
  5. butkus3595

    butkus3595 Pro-Bowler

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    Now having said all that...if I had my way I'd bring back Tillman on a cheap deal and sign TJ Ward.
  6. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    I'm not talking about a guy at that level. A sure thing would probably need to be a first round pick like Gilbert but it's probably less than 20% likely he'll still be on the board at #14 and we won't trade up so that's probably out.

    Actually Tillman just turned 33 (won't be 34 'til next Feb.) and he was still shutting down the best WR in the game and creating his usual quota of turnovers when he got injured so I'd say he still has a couple of good years left in him before the NFL age reaper takes him. So I don't buy the opinion that we'll have to replace him next year. His skills haven't diminished and he been relatively injury free his entire career, last year being an exception. Besides they aren't gonna guarantee him a huge amount of money so if they have to replace his there won't much if any cap hit.

    If you can locate a 6' or taller, 195-200lb CB whose an UFA, whose also a two time Pro Bowler and a 2012 All Pro, whose also playing at an equal or higher level than Tillman and can create turnovers almost at will , and you can get him without a huge upfront $$$ commitment or major guarantees for a couple of years then by all means bring him forth. Me, I don't know where that guy is. I'm really not interested in any diminutive CBs playing across from another very good but still diminutive CB.

    I'm not saying not to look but if we're gonna do anything then sign Tillman for two years and replace Bowman if there a guy whose better than he is. Then draft a young guy high enough in the draft to make certain he has the stuff to replace him which probably means a 1st or 2nd round pick. It's just that this year the needs are bigger on the DLine and at Safety so next year they can probably draft a CB higher than they can this year. If the kid is ready to start over Peanut THEN you cut him but as it stands I really, really, really don't see his equal out there somewhere in FA just waiting to fall into out laps.

    Peace :cheers:
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  7. butkus3595

    butkus3595 Pro-Bowler

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    Even first rounders are not sure things, especially at corner. You state Tillman has been injury free...don't you think that's gonna creep up on him, especially in later years? Don't you think maybe last year was the beginning of that? 5'10" isn't diminutive when you're physical, have great vertical ability and unbelievable ball skills. Time will tell...and we'll jugs have to wait and see what happens.
  8. short faced bear

    short faced bear Assistant Head Coach DBS Writer

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    I would think Peanut has more tread on the tire so to speak than a Champ Bailey. Peanut isn't coming off a ACL injury or foot like Champ. It would be a much different conversation if we had Tillman's successor in place but we don't. The back end of Mel's D will look like the front if you put Jennings or Bowman on the likes of Megatron et al.
  9. dabears

    dabears Veteran

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    Well now that I have just seen that Wootton is coming off an injury I definitely think Emery should try him on the same type of deal as Ratliffe. Or a 1 year "Prove Yourself" deal.
  10. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    I would hope so because Champ is 36 going on 37 and he actually got a four year deal from Denver at age 32 because he was the player then that Peanut is now. The Bears need to be fair with him and he needs to be fair in return and give them some protection against injury like they wrote into Garza's deal.

    I'm fully in favor of that strategy as far as cap management goes. Garza gets a lower base and then a guaranteed bonus for every game he's on the game day roster. With that kind of clause in the contracts of aging players the team gets some cap relief to replace them if they incur a season ending injury.

    If a clause like that could have been written into Peanut and Briggs deals then we would have been in a better situation as far as finding replacements. As it was guys like Landon Cohen was about all they could afford. It seems to me that these are details which could be worked out as long as you give the player a fair base to work from that gives him protection too. After all if he's injured it's gonna be on the field where he's doing his job. Even Cutler's deal makes allowances for this.
  11. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    No they're not, I agree, but CB is one of the easiest positions for a rookie to come in and start at and highly drafted CBs are expected to start their first year. If they knew they could draft Justin Gilbert at #14 then I feel they'd have their replacement for Tillman this year but not only don't they know it I'd say it doubtful he'll last that long. He's the tallest and fastest CB ranked in the first round and those guys usually go top ten.

    I didn't see Peanut slowing down last year but then again he never been all that fast to begin with. His speed isn't his strong point which is why losing a step isn't as important as it was for Deon Sanders. Peanut is tall, he's physical, and he's a very smart football player and that's what makes him great. He's also a turnover machine and that hasn't slowed at all. He had 3 picks and 3 forced fumbles in only 8 games last year and was on his way to a 3rd straight Pro Bowl and maybe another All Pro award.

    I'm not saying it may not happen but your asking me to believe in something I haven't seen yet. Maybe the Bears have but I haven't and that what I'm basing my opinion on. I don't look for trouble or doubt where it doesn't exist and except for his injury it doesn't. There's also nothing about the injury that makes me believe it's terminal as far as his playing goes because when they put him on IR they designated him for return. By now I'm sure he's healthy again. One other factor is that strictly from a PR standpoint it's gonna look a little funny if they let the 2013 NFL's Walter Payton Man of the Year walk over a contract issue when he's already said he'd like to return and retire as a Bear. Just sayin' ya' know.

    Some shorter CBs can overcome their lack of height with other skills and we have one playing LCB whose exactly like that. Pound for pound Tim Jennings is probably the toughest player on that defense but guys like him are still pretty rare and I'll say it again. The trend is toward taller physical CB like the "Mouth" out in Seattle and now Browner has been cleared to return too. When teams are signing 6'3" to 6'5" WRs left and right you like to have more than just a couple of 5'9" or 5'10" guys to cover them. Marshall and Jeffery played against some damn good CBs this past year and made them look silly even when they did have them covered pretty well.

    I'm all for replacing Peanut but to me we should do it when the time is right and to me that's after we've found another CB to take his place not before hoping for the best. Emery got rid of Urlacher and Izzy last years hoping for the best and it backfired on him so let's not do that again. Peanut has already said he wants to play in Chicago and that he would consider taking less $$$ to do that so I don't know what more HE can do than that. The balls in Phil Emery's court now and I simply don't trust the guy period. But that's me and I'm not asking or expecting anyone to agree with my take or feel the same way.
  12. jackiejokeman

    jackiejokeman Pro-Bowler

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    If everything works out right we will make the same mistakes on defense that we made last year on offense.

    Keep yer fingers crossed.
  13. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    Jackie I never claimed Emery didn't make some good decisions regarding the offense but so far he's managed to all but neutralize them with some horrible personnel moves on defense and retaining a DC who presided over the worst defense in this teams history. Please excuse me if our Lord and General Manager and his hand picked DC don't exactly fill me with confidence at the moment.

    Now that I've been on this planet for a few decades I've stopped believing in Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, the Great Pumpkin and a GM who seems to be sprinkling more fairy dust over his defensive short comings than Mike Tice did over J'Marcus Webb. Since Phil is the master of the "one year prove it deal" I'll make him the exact same offer. IF you know WTF you're doing then get that defense back in order this year or hit the road jack. We can't afford you either.
  14. butkus3595

    butkus3595 Pro-Bowler

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    With all due respect, Urlacher got rid of himself. He turned down a deal, however low you may think it was, it was still more than any other team offered because no other team offered anything! Did the Bears know he would refuse it...maybe, but they also knew they would be the only one's offering him anything. As for him saying he'll take less money...we'll see won't we.

    As for your love of Gilbert...yes he's 6 foot and fast, but he's been known to coast, and isn't very aggressive in run support and doesn't like to take on blockers....I'd take someone else...no matter how short they may be.
  15. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    I'm done with debating Urlacher. My opinions of it all haven't changed and as I've said all along it was less about money then the lousy way it was handled. We disagree so let's leave it at that. I said that I hope they don't do the same with Tillman but to date he seems content with how they're working through it. That tells me that he's most likely gonna be allowed to see how he's valued as a FA and the Bears will consider how to deal with that. He indicated he'd like to finish his career with the Bears and that was also in the mix as far as his decision was concerned. He's also indicated that he's not looking to break the bank or play forever. That said, if someone else wants to pay him $4 or $5 mil for a couple of years and the Bears only want to pay him $2 mil for one year they really haven't made an effort to keep him have they?

    There'll be few players in this or any draft that don't have a few holes in their game and when they do they're usually taken in the first two or three picks. Gilbert is still the top one or two CB in this draft (along with Dennard) and despite those holes ranked between number 10 and 20 overall. Because of his KOR ability, of the two, I think he'll go first so I doubt he'll even be on the board at #14 and it's probably gonna be a moot point. If he is and there isn't a DT left worth that pick they should take him especially if Peanut departs and of course Hester already has so we kill two birds with one stone with Gilbert. All of what you posted about Gilbert could have been in a college and NFL scouting report about Deion Sanders and he's a HOF CB. Gilbert has similar size, speed, and has superb coverage skills. He's not the best run defender but you can't have everything. Neither was Deion but he was also great return man and so is this kid. With some coaching his run defense might improve. It often does when these kids hit the pros.

    I'd still opt for a DT and make sure we sign Tillman though. Every draft has a hot shot CB or two and if the Bears continue to play mostly zone coverage we really need a good pass rusher more then need a new cover corner.
  16. JustAnotherBearsFan99

    JustAnotherBearsFan99 Assistant Head Coach SuperFan DBS Writer

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    I agree with this. I don't want to rehash the Urlacher thing, but I agree it could have been handled better - even if they did want to part ways with Brian, it could have been handled better. Maybe they learned from this and will handle the Peanut situation better. It's not rocket science. It should be basic PR to a billion-dollar business entity (the Chicago Bears). Can you just chunk a guy like Peanut out the door? Sure. But it's not good business to be heavy-handed like that. Communication can soften a decision like this, if they want to part ways. Communicate honestly with the player and communicate with the fan base in an honest manner. We understand money realities. We understand wanting to get younger players. But we're the guys paying the freight for the billion dollar business, and we like to see our long-time players like Peanut (or Brian for that matter) treated with dignity when they retire. They could have done a better job with Brian. Hopefully they do better with Peanut.

    These owners and GM's need to remember that their business if based on fans. Whether it's ticket or concession revenues, or TV revenues - it's based on fans who watch the games and make the franchises viable. If you have a player who's revered by the fans, then have the intelligence to handle the situation appropriately if you want to let the player go. The Urlacher thing is history now, but hopefully with Peanut they'll show that they have learned a better way to handle a situation like this. It doesn't cost the Bears anything to show some class handling the situation. It's actually good business too.
  17. Trackguy

    Trackguy Veteran

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    How do you think they should have handled the Urlacher situation? He was going to feel offended no matter what. And whine and moan and get his meathead followers all riled up.

    I don't think this defense would have been any better with a dilapidated, slow, injury prone 35 year old in the middle of the field. The communication wasn't the problem, it was BU's inability to accept reality. It turns out he was offered a BETTER than market value contract with the Bears. It just wasn't up to BU's ego value level.

    With that said, I summarily disagree with the author's final point. "Urlacher wouldn't have been the savior last year, but the defense wouldn't have played as poorly as they did if he had played." Really? How do we know that? He was flat out bad in 2012, how do we know he wouldn't have declined even further in 2013? How do we know he would have been healthy all year? Remember, Bostic wasn't supposed to be starting. I know it's arguing hypotheticals, but I contend a healthy DJ Williams would have played significantly better than Urlacher would have played.

    And I'd say the same for Peanut. Offer him what you think he is worth (which is probably more than Urlacher was worth last year), not some prize for past work to avoid negative comments on Facebook from idiot fans.
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  18. JustAnotherBearsFan99

    JustAnotherBearsFan99 Assistant Head Coach SuperFan DBS Writer

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    I probably shouldn't have brought it up. I'm DEFINITELY not trying to resurrect the thing again. From a purely PR standpoint I see ways they could have handled it better. I'm not defending or condemning either side (Bears or Urlacher). I'm just saying, in hindsight, the thing could have been handled better.

    Most billion-dollar businesses have a bit more foresight and finesse when handling touchy PR situations like this. If folks here can't see that, then hey, I'm fine with that.

    My only point in that post was to point out the opportunity to handle the Peanut thing a bit better - with the player and the fans. Hopefully Peanut gets another short-term contract and the topic is moot at this point.
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2014
  19. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    track hit it perfectly
  20. Ojibway Bob

    Ojibway Bob Veteran SuperFan

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    And to bring it farther, If the Bears keep doing this to our long serving players.... What does it do for potential Free Agents that seeing being a Bear a dream come true but look elsewhere because of the lack of respect these old players are getting.... Not really my belief because I do see the NFL as a huge corporation and Job Security is not a certain, But I thought to bring up a different way of looking at it... Myself I wish someone would ask Urlacher on live TV about his lack of deals he thought he should have gotten elsewhere to see how he handles it....I would love to see him move around that

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