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Discussion in 'Chicago Bears' started by butkus3595, Mar 9, 2014.
can somebody summarize the articles. I only can read 5 a month or something like that. Saving them for Free agent signings with more meat in the stories
Devin Hester, you were ridiculous.
The key word is were.
In 134 kickoff and punt returns over the past two seasons for the Bears, Hester took it back all the way once. That's not ridiculous. That's replaceable.
Appreciate a career worthy of the Hall of Fame. Debate whether Hester's kickoff return for a touchdown to open Super Bowl XLVI or his fourth-quarter punt return against the Cardinals in 2006 thrilled Chicagoans more. Respect how Hester tilted the field in the Bears' favor by scaring punters into kicking away and the way the "Devin Hester Rule" changed the game by moving kickoffs up to the 35-yard line.
But realize the "Windy City Flyer'' made a scheduled, on-time departure from Chicago. Last season's arrival of an offense capable of scoring 30 points per game allowed Hester to leave for free agency. Hester became a hood ornament on a Rolls Royce, an overpriced luxury item for a team no longer built around defense and special teams. The Bears' winning equation no longer was forced to factor in No. 23, and general manager Phil Emery simply did the math.
When it comes to negotiating contracts, Emery impassively leads with his head, not his heart. Emery correctly believes the most prudent path to a winning roster involves skipping any trips down memory lane.
Ask Brian Urlacher, whose public criticism of the Hester decision on Fox Sports 1 proved he still stung from Emery treating him like just another Bear before their negotiations broke down a year ago. Ask center Roberto Garza, who swallowed his pride and signed a one-year, $1.5 million offer that might have insulted other 13-year veterans but was commensurate with Garza's future potential more than his past production. If Emery stays consistent when NFL free agency begins Tuesday, you likely can ask 33-year-old cornerback Charles Tillman, the best at his position in Bears history.
Tillman missed nearly half the season in 2013 with a triceps injury. When Tillman did play, his balky knee made the Bears hold their breath every time he got up slowly. Tillman's patented ball punch remains a thing to behold but cannot function unless he stays healthy. Like Garza, Tillman would be welcome back on Emery's terms. But another team looking to make a free-agent splash might raise Tillman's price higher than the Bears have budgeted for an aging cornerback with durability concerns — even if he was the NFL Man of the Year. Loyalty? It's a myth in the Not For Long league.
Speaking of popular players perhaps leaving town, Bears fans better brace themselves for Josh McCown's goodbye. On Friday, the Jaguars signed quarterback Chad Henne to a two-year, $8 million deal. If McCown settled for less than Henne, an inferior quarterback, after the season he had then he should fire his agent. Can a Bears team already paying Jay Cutler $22.5 million afford to overpay for Cutler's backup given the limited salary-cap space that exists? Doubt it.
If the Bears didn't have so many holes to fill via free agency on a defense currently with only three projected starters for 2014 — linebacker Lance Briggs, cornerback Tim Jennings and defensive tackle Stephen Paea — re-signing McCown at any cost would be more conceivable. But barring McCown leaving millions of dollars on the table for the comforts of Halas Hall, conventional wisdom says to expect the NFL's friendliest quarterback to make new friends in his eighth NFL city. Expect the Jets, Buccaneers, Raiders to offer McCown more money and a chance to start that doesn't exist with the Bears.
Remember this if panic ensues in Lake Forest: If Marc Trestman's system maximized McCown's ability as much as people say, it can do the same for the next veteran backup.
Losing McCown would create more consternation locally than cutting defensive end Julius Peppers, whose decline makes his $14 million salary impossible to justify. Younger and cheaper options for pass-rushers exist in free agency in Michael Johnson of the Bengals and Michael Bennett of the Seahawks, Martellus' brother who ESPN's Bill Polian called the top target on the market.
Adding Johnson or Bennett at defensive end and re-signing Henry Melton at defensive tackle should be priorities No. 1 and 1-A next week for Emery. Safeties Jairus Byrd and T.J. Ward merit a long look too, but the Bears need to rebuild from the inside out to return to the postseason.
The last time the Bears made the playoffs, in 2010, Hester and Tillman and Peppers played major roles. And if the Bears were coming off an NFC North title, then those popular players who have meant so much to the franchise for so long would be worth keeping. But the Bears finished 8-8 last season — nothing to celebrate.
To get overly sentimental about roster changes to improve a mediocre team would be, well, ridiculous.