First off, apologies for skipping out on the mailbag last week. We decided to put it on hold because we expected the Bears would more active in free agency than they've been up to this point.
Anyway, let's get started:
First off, apologies for skipping out on the mailbag last week. We decided to put it on hold because we expected the Bears would more active in free agency than they've been up to this point. Anyway, let's get started:Jared Allen, Willie Young, Lamarr Houston and Pernell McPhee at outside linebacker. Both head coach John Fox and general manager Ryan Pace have said as much recently. I'd encourage you to take a step back, take a big-picture perspective and match up that with what you know about new defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. Fangio is a creative schemer, and if all those guys stick on the roster (which I anticipate happening), he'll find a way to incorporate all of them. The Bears plan to play base defense out of a three-man front. But when the team goes into substitution packages, which will likely be more than 50 percent of the time, it will probably execute out of four-man fronts designed to get the team's best four pass-rushers on the field at the same time. We don't yet know which players Fangio plans to deploy in those positions because he doesn't know, and won't know until the team gets out on the field for practice. Fox said that once the guys start working out, they'll define their roles through their play.
Ndamukong Suh and Darrelle Revis, I don't think there were many must-have players in free agency. And you know the Bears weren't about to spend what it took to land Suh and Revis. It would have made sense to go after Denver receiver Demaryius Thomas, but he was franchised. Defensive tackle Terrance Knighton was asking for more than $8 million per year and ended up signing a one-year deal worth $4 million. One source told me "his weight was a problem" last year. So Chicago was wise to not overpay to land Knighton. Devin McCourty would have made sense, but I think the Bears could get comparable production out of Antrel Rolle. And obviously, Randall Cobb re-signed with Green Bay. So although nobody really wants to hear it, the Bears have handled free agency wisely. New York Giants president John Mara recently said this year's class of free agents was mediocre, and he anticipated that because of the increased cap, teams would overspend for that mediocre talent. Well, the Bears exercised self-control throughout this process, which you should see as a positive sign from the new regime.
Brandon Marshall, elevating Alshon Jeffery into that role. And the truth is I'm not sure how Jeffery will handle being a No. 1. How will he handle the extra coverage consistently devoted to him by opponents with Marshall out of the mix? So I think the Bears could and should help out Jeffery by bringing in a legitimate No. 1 or No. 2. Defensively, the Bears need another corner and inside linebacker. But I honestly don't think either of those needs is more important than receiver. I think they're all just about equal in terms of needs.
Trae Waynes ' pro day. So the Bears are certainly showing some interest in Waynes, expected by many to be the first defensive back off the board. Could he be Chicago's pick at No. 7? I think it's certainly possible, because he's talented enough, in my opinion, to be a top-10 pick. Waynes moves well. He's fluid, smooth and fast with decent size (6-foot, 186 pounds). When you watch Waynes play, he appears to be an ideal bump-and-run corner because he's aggressive at the line, but also disciplined with his eyes. Waynes played quite a bit of man coverage at Michigan State, and I anticipate the Bears utilizing plenty of man with Fangio now running the show with his aggressive schemes. So on the surface, Waynes seems to fit what the Bears are expected to be doing in the secondary. And Waynes also fits a need. Having said that, it's important to note, though, that Pace believes in drafting the best available player, regardless of the team's needs. He said as much during his introductory news conference.