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Is Bullocks the Bears' answer at safety?

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
Bullocks Chicago might have found a short-term replacement for the departed Mike Brown after agreeing to terms with free agent safety Josh Bullocks on Wednesday. Bullocks was a three-year starter for New Orleans, but the Saints haven't attempted to re-sign him this offseason.

Bullocks got a one-year deal that includes $525,000 guaranteed, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Sun-Times. That's not exactly a long-term commitment, but Bullocks is joining a roster that doesn't have a true cover safety. Kevin Payne, Danieal Manning and Craig Steltz are all better in run support than they are in coverage.

The Saints ranked No. 23 in pass defense last season and No. 30 in 2007, and you can draw your own conclusions about their decision not to retain Bullocks. For an additional take, here is an excerpt of Scouts Inc.'s evaluation as Bullocks entered free agency:

"He is a good-sized safety with good top-end speed with above-average quickness and agility in coverage. He is a little stiff in his pedal and tends to play erect, which causes him to miss some tackles in space. ... He shows good route awareness and can read the quarterback's eyes to get a jump on the ball, but is not a great ball hawk and often gets there after the catch. He is inconsistent wrapping up and often chooses to try and knock the ball carrier down, rather than wrap up and form tackle. He is willing in run support, but is not a real physical player unless he can hit on angles, rather than heads up. He is an adequate starter but does not stand out in any one phase of the game."

That's pretty much the type of player you get on a one-year contract during week 2 of free agency. I would expect the Bears to continue exploring their options, especially in the draft. But at least Bullocks gives them a veteran presence at the position when they line up for the first practice of their mandatory mini-camp next Tuesday.