Chicago Bears Twitter mailbag: Brandon Marshall should return in 2015

@mikecwright: To kick off 2015 without No. 15 would be foolish, and I'm not buying all the rhetoric about Brandon Marshall being a potential distraction. So I think he'll be back. The Chicago Bears are a better team with Marshall on the field. Besides, if you're a good player, teams will put up with the drama. At this point in Marshall's career, I believe he's still one of the best. One component of being a head coach in the NFL is managing all the personalities in a locker room. Former coach Marc Trestman did a poor job of that. John Fox won't. Remember, back in the day, Fox worked for quite a long time in Carolina with a fiery receiver named Steve Smith, who actually beat down a few of his teammates. If Fox could manage that, he shouldn't have a problem dealing with Marshall, whose "drama" throughout his tenure in Chicago pales in comparison.

@mikecwright: I believe every option is on the table for the Bears with that pick. And I think a lot of what happens in the draft will depend on how the Bears fare in March during free agency. As you know, there are sure to be teams interested in moving up to get to a certain player they might want at No. 7. In that case, the Bears could potentially trade back and grab an extra pick, which would help with the rebuilding effort and expected scheme change on defense. At the same time, the Bears could choose to stand pat because at seventh overall, there will still be plenty of talent left on the board when they go on the clock. Personally, I think the only way the Bears trade back is if they receive an offer they can't refuse from a team looking to move up. Remember, it's easy to say you want to move up or back in the draft. But you've got to have a trade partner, and you've got to make sure you receive proper value if you're moving back or that you're not giving up too much trying to move up.

@mikecwright: Well, on Feb. 3, Lamarr Houston's $5.9 million base salary became fully guaranteed (the deal was guaranteed for injury when he signed). So I'd say he's staying. Now the answer to your second question is interesting. I believe Houston is capable of playing defensive end in a 3-4, but I think the Bears would be better served with him playing outside linebacker if the team decides to move to that front. Prior to joining the Bears, Houston played outside and inside in the Oakland Raiders' 3-4 scheme. I think if you play Houston as a defensive end in a 3-4, you're squandering his talents somewhat. Houston is a decent pass rusher, but he really shines when asked to set the edge against the run. Houston also moves well for a man his size, and is perfectly capable of dropping back into coverage. So I'd expect Houston to be an outside linebacker if the Bears go to a 3-4.

@mikecwright: I think Randall Cobb is a realistic possibility as are other free agents with similar skill sets. I've always thought the Bears lacked diversity in the receiving corps with big strong players in Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery playing on the outside, but no real threat playing in the slot that defenses have to account for. When former general manager Jerry Angelo ran the show, he used to talk about former offensive coordinator Mike Martz's preference for point guard types at the receiver position. When he said point guard types, I never took it to mean Martz preferred speed burners as much as just shifty types of players. You mentioned the New England Patriots, and that's what they have at receiver in Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola. They're not necessarily blowing past defensive backs with their speed, but they certainly made a major impact in the Super Bowl with quickness and shiftiness.

@mikecwright: Funny you asked because it's amusing how people always seem enamored by all the outside possibilities, but the truth is there's a reason those players are available. I believe Jimmy Clausen is still in play as the potential No. 2 quarterback, as he certainly earned consideration with a fairly decent performance in December against a good Detroit Lions defense. As you know, Clausen and new head coach John Fox have history from their time together at Carolina. Fox was put in a tough situation in 2010 when he ended up having to start Clausen as a rookie. And obviously, we know what happened from there for the coach and quarterback. Fox stuck with Clausen throughout his disappointing rookie campaign, which ultimately led to the coach's firing. Given all the pressure Fox was under at that time, he could have easily bowed and benched Clausen. But he didn't. So if the Bears can find a way to re-sign Clausen, a free agent, I think he'd definitely be in play as the No. 2 behind Jay Cutler. Clausen is still a young player with tons of experience as a starter.