NFL.com: The Chicago Bears had the 2nd Best Offseason In The League

Discussion in 'Chicago Bears' started by BelieveInMonsters, May 20, 2014.

  1. BelieveInMonsters

    BelieveInMonsters Veteran

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    Not bad at all. #1 team? Love Smith's Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

    http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap20...offseasons?campaign=Facebook_writers_harrison

    Who has made the most of their offseason?

    Since January, every front office has been trying to put its best foot forward, as there is no slowdown in the NFL calendar until June. Unfortunately, the clubs that haven't handled this period well in the past are the very franchises that must manage it better this year. That's how the 5-11's become the 11-5's.

    That said, evaluating the organizational energy applied to molding a football roster provides unique insight into our sport. Simply put, you get a greater feel for the pressures general managers face on a daily basis upon looking at all the coaching hires, contractual decisions and draft-related confabs these guys must undertake.

    So, which front offices have done the best job in 2014? We counted down the 10 best below.

    Now, in the interest of full disclosure, we gave more weight to the clubs that had to do more, or go outside the building for talent. Thus the Green Bay Packers, who got healthy, and thePhiladelphia Eagles, who spent most of their capital re-signing their own guys, didn't make this list -- but they still had very positive offseasons. One of the Eagles' rivals did make it, partially by acquiring Philly's biggest vertical threat. ...

    10) Washington Redskins


    The DeSean Jackson signing was absolutely huge. This team has not had a guy who could get vertical AND make plays sinceSantana Moss deep-sixed Dallas on a Monday night back in 2005. (Please don't mention Anthony Armstrong here.) Yet, even prior to acquiring one of the fastest receivers in pro football, Washington was having a busy offseason. Head coach Jay Gruden was hired to both run the ship and develop RGIII's career. GM Bruce Allen brought in Jason Hatcher to fortify the front line of a defense that was up and down in 2013. Andre Roberts bolsters a now-strong receiving corps. The Redskins' draft haul wasn't as strong, however, as the RGIII trade left Washington without a first-round pick. That said, third-rounderMorgan Moses should be able to step in at right tackle immediately. And during the pre-draft process, he was considered a late first-round prospect by many folks, anyway.

    Nothing is perfect ... (Yes, we're dumping a little cold water on each of these fine offseason efforts -- can't have anyone's head getting TOO big.)

    The choice of Gruden to lead the team was far from universally praised. He's not a disciplinarian, and it is easy to point to Andy Dalton's trials as an indictment on this hire. Time will tell.

    9) New Orleans Saints


    Better too soon than too late. ... Many questioned trading Darren Sproles for a mere fifth-round draft pick. But considering that his game is built on explosion -- and that he turns 31 next month -- should the move be framed as anything but shrewd? Because of the dearth of trades in this era of the NFL, the Sproles transaction with Philly garnered perhaps more attention than the signing of Jairus Byrd -- arguably the best defender on the free-agent market, or very close to it. Getting Byrd, veteran leadership from Champ Bailey and a big corner (6-foot-3, 218 pounds) in Stanley Jean-Baptiste transforms what had been a soft spot in the defense into a solid unit for Sean Payton to lean on. (Though, if Payton does have to win games 34-30, addingBrandin Cooks' 4.33 speed to the slot sure doesn't hurt, folks.)
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]


    Nothing is perfect ...

    The Jimmy Graham situation is a little sticky. The club is paying him like a tight end, but Graham ... er, his agent and the NFLPA... consider him a wideout, based on how often he lined up in non-TE spots last season. The ruling could cost the Saints $5 million.

    8) Baltimore Ravens


    Ozzie Newsome might not be a wizard, but if I were a 29-year-old assistant GM, or a GM in the Arena League, I'd be calling, emailing, LinkedIn-ing him about being a mentor. Baltimore consistently handles its offeasons well, with this year being no different. The Ravens don't generally overspend on guys, and judiciously add players who can help the team win. What Newsome did this offseason was retool effectively in the draft, filling out the defense with safety Terrence Brooks, tackleTimmy Jernigan, and, most important, linebacker C.J. Mosley. Meanwhile, the offense needed another option besides tight endDennis Pitta on third-and-6, and the team might have found it inSteve Smith. The 14th-year vet provides Baltimore with that fearless receiver in traffic who might gain 800 yards in the regular season, but makes eight miles worth of difference in the postseason.

    Nothing is perfect ...

    The run game is still terrible, and Ray Rice's availability could be in question following his February arrest on an aggravated assault charge.

    7) Minnesota Vikings


    Call the Minnesota Vikings' offseason solid, all the way around. The free-agency period represented a time of discernment, and the draft more of the same -- with a dash of Day 1 splash. That poor wordplay will hopefully be outdone by Teddy Bridgewater, who represented the first-round noisemaking from GM Rick Spielman. The Vikes had to address quarterback ... and did (via trade). Who cares if they did so much later on Thursday night than people initially thought they would? Ninth overall pickAnthony Barr has a chance to be a force in the NFL and, of course, is 10 years younger than the departed Jared Allen. On a less sexy note, the acquisitions of mid-tier players like DT Linval Joseph and CB Captain Munnerlyn might not have graced the cover of "US Weekly," but they did retool areas of decay. Let us also not forget the Mike Zimmer addition -- a head-coaching hire thatwas long overdue, according to many league observers[​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]


    Nothing is perfect ...

    With Allen and Kevin Williams now gone, this defense is lacking some All-Pro leadership. Who can rally the troops -- and the crowd -- like Allen did? The NFC North's packed with offenses that can play.

    6) New York Jets


    The Jets seemingly did it all this offseason, acquiring a QB1 (maybe), RB1 (although not 2K) and WR1 (debatable) this offseason. Well, if Eric Decker isn't a true No. 1, he's a darn-good facet of a passing game that, all of a sudden, doesn't look so willowish. In fact, "Willow" was easier to watch than this team's pass offense last season, and that's saying something. GM John Idzik made sure the club added a tight end in the great college marketplace (Jace Amaro, a big target with viable if not top-end speed), as well as two more receivers in Round 4. As far as the RB1, Chris Johnson's best days might be behind him, but that doesn't mean he can't rush for 1,070 yards and eight touchdowns. That's all this team needs from him if Geno Smithsteps it up this season. And if he doesn't, the Jets can always insert newcomer Michael Vick into the lineup. What about the defense, you ask? It's gotten much younger the last couple of years.

    Nothing is perfect ...

    Some of the defense's youth injection came at the expense of letting Antonio Cromartie walk. That's a loss, any way you look at it.

    5) Arizona Cardinals


    I love the Deone Bucannon pick. Here's your next Adrian Wilson,Cardinals fans. But the choice of Arizona on this list is not all about the 2014 NFL Draft, though GM Steve Keim and the Cards' scouting department did a wonderful job filling needs two weeks ago. In fact, second-round pick Troy Niklas is an interesting tight end prospect -- when he learns how to leverage his 270 pounds more effectively, Arizona's run game should spike. But free agency was key in the desert this offseason, as Keim addedJared Veldheer -- a young and talented offensive tackle who still can improve -- while also bringing in an older vet who can make a solid defense one of the NFL's top three units. We're speaking, of course, of Cromartie, who teams with Patrick Peterson,Tyrann Mathieu and Bucannon to form a premier secondary. Lastly, taking a draft flier on QB prospect Logan Thomas was smart.

    Nothing is perfect ...

    We realize pass rushers don't grow on trees, but hoping John Abraham -- who just turned 36 years old -- secures 11.5 sacks again could be characterized as wistful thinking.

    4) Jacksonville Jaguars


    So many nice moves by GM David Caldwell and Co. this spring. Re-signing veteran quarterback Chad Henne was important for the Jags, even with the eventual selection of Blake Bortles. Acquiring defensive linemen Chris Clemons and Red Bryant -- both familiar with head coach Gus Bradley from their Seattle days -- makes a former weakness almost a strength. AddingToby Gerhart to the backfield was solid. Then Jacksonville went out and had a great draft. Some say they reached on Bortles, but what were they supposed to do -- hope he lasted to the second round? He was their guy, so they pounced.
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]


    Nothing is perfect ...

    This whole Justin Blackmon thing just reeks of blown opportunity for franchise and player. Sounds like the Jags' organization has already moved on. We'll see.

    3) Denver Broncos


    John Elway took a serious swing for the Super Bowl fences in the offseason, acquiring pass rusher DeMarcus Ware, cornerback Aqib Talib and safety T.J. Ward. Ward was the second-best safety on the free-agent market (behind Byrd); while he doesn't bring the name recognition of Ware or Talib, he brings critical youth and upside. Meanwhile, the Broncosneeded to unload Bailey's salary, which is a very hard thing to do when a player has played at a Hall of Fame level -- no exaggeration -- for an organization. Elway managed that, as well. And we won't penalize Denver for replacing Decker withEmmanuel Sanders. To truly judge the latter's adequacy, we need to see how he performs in this Peyton Manning offense. What was Decker before Manning arrived?

    Nothing is perfect ...

    Although the Broncos picked up some needs, why not draft a playmaker like Marqise Lee with the 31st overall pick? The club is also putting much on Montee Ball's shoulders.

    2) Chicago Bears


    General manager Phil Emery Rambo'd out on this offseason like Stallone in "First Blood Part II." Let's be honest, Jared Allen is far from Stallone-in-his-prime shredded, but the big 30-something can still produce 10 sacks for this team. Emery also knew he needed to fix the Bears' Achilles' heel -- run defense -- and did so by acquiring Lamarr Houston in free agency and drafting defensive tackles with their second- and third-round picks. Selecting cornerback Kyle Fuller in the first round makes a whole lot of sense in a division that features Aaron Rodgersand Matt Stafford. And drafting running back Ka'Deem Carey on Day 3 as some Matt Forte insurance will pay off.

    Nothing is perfect ...

    Shelling out $54 million guaranteed for Jay Cutler's re-up and$15 million guaranteed for Houston's five-year contract seems excessive. Losing Josh McCown hurts.

    1) Tampa Bay Buccaneers


    When a team cleans house after a lackluster season, you want to see it:

    » Go after a respected commodity in a head coach.
    » Hire an astute personnel mind at general manager.
    » Acquire talented young free agents.
    » Have a solid draft.

    Oh, and you also want the organization to do its best to make over a stale image. That's the recipe for a solid offseason. The Bucs have knocked it out of the park since January 1.

    New acquisitions Michael Johnson and Alterraun Verner are pups and address major team needs. Smith went 10-6 for theChicago Bears the year he was fired, and his players love him. McCown had a helluva 2013 with the Bears, and with more than a decade in the league, might have been the perfect signing by GM Jason Licht. Adding Mike Evans and Austin Seferian-Jenkins in the 2014 NFL Draft gives McCown some trees to throw to, as well.

    Nothing is perfect ...

    About making over that organization's image ... not feeling those new uni's. You? (Hit us up ... @HarrisonNFL.)
    Last edited: May 20, 2014
  2. Bearsinhouston

    Bearsinhouston Position Coach

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    So they think Lovies Buc's were the only team that did better than we did?

    Also the Vikes were in the top 10 and in our division.

    Those two were my takeaways.
  3. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    One interesting note that was buried in all of this was that John Abraham is still playing at age 36 and still turning in double digits sack years. It's becoming very interesting to see how modern conditioning and attention to diet and offseason workouts is extending the careers of many players far beyond the old norms if they stay healthy.

    I know that four year deals for 30 year old or 30 year old plus players raise some eyebrows but when you see the effort guys like Brandon Marshall and Matt Forte put into their offseason routines I begin to think the old age marks for decline aren't necessarily as accurate as they once were. These guys are dealing with their bodies and their careers in ways players never conceived of even 20 years ago. There are a lot of players ate or over the age of 30 who are still very productive.

    So when a guy like Brandon Marshall says he'd like to play 6 more years that means this may not be the last contract he signs although whether that last one will be with the Bears or not is still open to question. It seems to me that a lot of All Pro and even HOF level players won't finish their careers with the same team they've made the reps with. That's a little sad to think about but it seems to becoming a reality.

    Who would have thought that any team would invest and guarantee $3 mil to Devin Hester just to return kicks and punts although maybe the box office draw was worth it for a team like Atlanta. But Devin is Devin and it would be just like him to score 2 or 3 TDs on punt or kick off returns this year and go out with a bang. Even if he's lost a step he's still Devin Hester.
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  4. Bearsinhouston

    Bearsinhouston Position Coach

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    I love Hester and the excitement he brought to Chicago, but lately.....

    I wonder what the fans will say about him the firt time he fields a kick and goes sideways, then backwards, then sideways again and then gets dropped right as he is trying to go backward again. If you aren't going to get away, at least go forward....

    That just drove me nuts his last few years.
  5. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    True but when you looks at his average yards per return he's not getting caught at it all that often. When a guy is averaging almost 15 yds per return that means the other guys are only netting about 30 yards of field position on a punt. But I know what you mean. He never used to get caught at all.

    But it makes little difference. I don't care if he could return punts on his hands and knees we weren't gonna pay him $3 mil to do it.
  6. The Benjamin

    The Benjamin George Halas Staff Member

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    If he was always the Hester from 2006/7 how much would you pay him?
  7. Bearsinhouston

    Bearsinhouston Position Coach

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    I disagree. If he was returning for 6 points as many times as he used to, he was well worth 6 mil. He returned more than one in a game from I remember and he would get us field position about 15-20 yards better than normal. That is well worth that kind of money IMO.
  8. The Benjamin

    The Benjamin George Halas Staff Member

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    I meant from 2006 and 2007. His first two years he was always a threat to return one to the house
  9. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    Then I would pay that 22 or 23 year old Devin Hester whatever the going rate was for a game breaking return man. If that was $3 mil than I'd pay him $3 mil. But we're talking about a 30 year old plus Devin Hester who isn't that same player anymore.

    However if I believed he still was, had the cap space to spare, and wanted to bring in some excitement that puts butts in seats then I'd give him the $3 mil he asked for. Atlanta had that ability and those needs more then we did so that's were he's playing.

    I can't pretend something that isn't and then give a non-pretend answer.
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  10. Bearsinhouston

    Bearsinhouston Position Coach

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    yeah.... That's what I understood.
  11. little bear

    little bear Assistant Head Coach

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    I think the Bears had a very good offseason, but my top 3 includes Arizona, Baltimore and Minny.
  12. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    pretty dead on assessment of Emery and the Bears. They had a helluva offseason, they didn't even mention Willie Young, and making over the S position(even if it's only a slight upgrade via FA also).
  13. Henry Burris

    Henry Burris Head Coach

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    If the Vikings had drafted Manziel, there would be cause for concern, but as is...

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