Previously, we posted an article detailing how GM Phil Emery should address the offensive/special team free agents the Bears have on roster.
Today we look at the defensive side of the ball. A defense that was ranked 30th in points allowed per game, 30th in total yards allowed per game and dead last in rush yards allowed per game.
I think you see where this is going...Corey Wootton taking down Brett Favre
What follows are the players that Emery should:
a) Pursue vigorously, assuming the price is right.
b) Pursue cautiously, assuming the price is right.
c) Ignore with extreme prejudice.
A) Pursue with vigor
- Corey Wootton (DT/DE). Versatile, a reliable option while the rest of the line goes through a makeover. Wootton cost $1.3 million this past season and something of that nature per year for three years should be a solid investment.
B. Pursue with caution
- Charles Tillman (CB). OK, he's 32. OK, he was hurt for most of the season. But the Bears have only two cornerbacks under contract for next year, Tim Jennings and Isaiah Frey.
If Tillman can accept a two year offer for a couple million guaranteed, how do the Bears not make that deal?
- Henry Melton (DT). 15.5 sacks in the four-year career for the 27 year old and he is coming off of a torn ACL. So investing a lot of money in him may not make the most sense.
If the Bears can sign Melton to a 4 year deal for a good chunk less than the $8.5 they paid him this year, then do it.
- Jeremiah Ratliff (DT). How much do the Bears want to invest in an older (32), albeit more proven, version of Melton? If the money and years are right, go for it, but if you have to overspend to bring him back, look for help elsewhere.
- Zachary Bowman (CB). Bowman played fairly well (3 interceptions, one returned for a touchdown, and 42 tackles in 7 starts) in Charles Tillman's absence. Unless he is looking for a starting role, the Bears should be able to bring him back at market price.
- D.J. Williams (ILB). Missed most of the last two seasons, but when 100%, Williams is a capable linebacker who, with Lance Briggs, could help bring along the Bears young linebackers (Jon Bostic, Khaseem Greene and by all accounts, Shea McClellin).
Assuming the Bears can't find a better option, Williams should be brought back.
- Nate Collins (DT). Surprisingly disruptive in two starts before he tore an ACL. He should be relatively cheap, but if the Bears bring back Melton, Wootton AND Ratliff, then let Collins go elsewhere and look towards the draft to replace him.
C) Ignore with prejudice
- Major Wright (SS). Continual poor tackling, terrible angles, awful gap discipline and lack of ball awareness. Chris Conte was almost equally as abysmal, but Wright is the free agent. Cut your losses.
- Kelvin Hayden (CB). Unfortunately for Hayden, he suffered a torn hamstring during training camp. That fact, coupled with his age (30) and a decent showing by his replacement (Isaiah Frey) means the Bears should not bring back another ageing defensive back who is recovering from injury.
- Craig Steltz (S). Poor showing in his few appearances on defense this season. That, with the Bears having other players on roster specifically for special teams, means it is time to kiss Adam Archuleta Jr. goodbye.
- James Anderson (OLB). Leading tackler last year, but with Williams, Briggs, last year's draft picks Bostic and Greene, plus probably McClellin moving to the LB position, there is no room for the eight year veteran.