2012 NFL Free Agent Signings:
Chicago Bears Free Agents:
Michael Bush, RB, Raiders. Age: 28.
Signed with Bears (4 years, $14 million)
Michael Bush will be overrated on the market. He wore down as the season went along, and he didn't even start the whole year or anything. That's a big red flag.
Jason Campbell, QB, Raiders. Age: 30.
Signed with Bears
Look up the definition of mediocre in the dictionary, and you'll probably find a picture of Jason Campbell. Campbell has been really consistent in his two years with the Raiders, completing about 60 percent of his passes and throwing slightly more touchdowns than interceptions.
Eric Weems, WR/KR, Falcons. Age: 27.
Signed with Bears (3 years)
Eric Weems scored two special-teams touchdowns in 2010, but couldn't find the end zone this past season. However, he was still effective, maintaining solid averages in both punt and kick returns.
- Geno Hayes, OLB, Buccaneers. Age: 25. -- Signed with Bears
- Blake Costanzo, ILB, 49ers. Age: 28. -- Signed with Bears (2 years, $2 million)
- Devin Thomas, WR, Giants. Age: 25. -- Signed with Bears
- Kelvin Hayden, CB, Falcons. Age: 29. -- Signed with Bears
- Chilo Rachal, G, 49ers. Age: 26. -- Signed with Bears (1 year)
- Jonathan Wilhite, CB, Broncos. Age: 28. -- Signed with Bears
- Nate Collins, DT, Jaguars. Age: 24. -- Signed with Bears
- DeMario Pressley, DT, Panthers. Age: 26. -- Signed with Bears
- John McCargo, DT, Buccaneers. Age: 29. -- Signed with Bears
2012 NFL Free Agent Rankings Coming Soon
Divisional Rival History:
Matt Forte, RB, Bears. Age: 26.
Franchised by Bears
Matt Forte was having an All-Pro season before suffering an MCL sprain right after Thanksgiving. In just 12 contests, he rushed for 997 yards (4.9 YPC) and caught 52 balls for 490 receiving yards. With no holes in his game, he's one of the top running backs in the NFL.
Israel Idonije, DE, Bears. Age: 31.
Re-signed with Bears (1 year)
Israel Idonije stuffs the run well and gets decent pressure on the quarterback. He'll be 32 in November, however.
Kahlil Bell, RB, Bears. Age: 25.
Tendered by Bears
I liked what I saw out of Kahlil Bell late in the year. He collects a good number of yards after contact, displays great vision and patience, and picks up his blocking assignments well. He can also catch passes out of the backfield.
Tim Jennings, CB, Bears. Age: 28.
Re-signed with Bears (2 years)
Tim Jennings played well last year (57.3%, 0 TDs), but at 5-8, 185, he's pretty scheme-specific. He means much more to Chicago than most other teams.
Amobi Okoye, DT, Bears. Age: 25.
Signed with Buccaneers (1 year, $2 million)
After being discarded by the Texans, Amobi Okoye found a home with the Bears as a rotational defensive tackle who can pressure the quarterback.
Josh McCown, QB, Bears. Age: 33.
Re-signed with Bears (1 year)
Josh McCown was pretty impressive in two starts late in the year. He's a solid backup quarterback.
- Craig Steltz, SS, Bears. Age: 26. -- Re-signed with Bears (2 years)
- Corey Graham, CB, Bears. Age: 27. -- Signed with Ravens (2 years)
- Kellen Davis, TE, Bears. Age: 26. -- Re-signed with Bears (2 years)
- Brandon Meriweather, S, Bears. Age: 28. -- Signed with Redskins (2 years, $6 million)
- Anthony Adams, DT, Bears. Age: 32.
- Zackary Bowman, CB, Bears. Age: 27. -- Signed with Vikings (1 year)
- Roy Williams, WR, Bears. Age: 30.
- Caleb Hanie, QB, Bears. Age: 27. -- Signed with Broncos
The teams split in 2011. Chicago had won 10 of 12 before that.
Green Bay Packers:
Jay Cutler is 1-5 against the Packers.
The home team has claimed 16 of 19. This excludes that weird game at the University of Minnesota.
Features to be Posted This Offseason:
More 2011 NFL Offseason Pages:
- 2012 NFL Draft Grades (Pick-by-Pick NFL Draft Grades as well - Live on Draft Day!)
- Detailed season preview
- Fantasy football projections
- Positional rankings
- Daily updates on free-agent signings
2012 NFL Offseason Pages
2016 NFL Mock Draft - Feb. 11
NFL Free Agents
NFL Picks - Feb. 7
2017 NFL Mock Draft - Feb. 5
2016 NBA Mock Draft - Feb. 2
Fantasy Football Rankings - Jan. 15
2012 NFL Draft Grade: C+
Goals Entering the 2012 NFL Draft:
The Brandon Marshall trade was just the beginning. The Bears need to continue to bolster Jay Cutler's supporting cast. The offensive line still needs to be retooled, while the receiving corps is devoid of play-makers outside of Marshall. Chicago also needs to find a capable pass-rusher across from Julius Peppers.
2012 NFL Draft Accomplishments:
The Bears didn't improve the offensive line (surprise), but they did everything else they were supposed to do. They found their second pass-rusher in Shea McClellin, and they also obtained a No. 2 wideout in Alshon Jeffery. Evan Rodriguez, meanwhile, could be a solid intermediate target for Cutler.
There are some concerns though. McClellin was widely considered a second-round prospect until he was pushed up boards late in the draft process. He could definitely be a good player for Chicago, but No. 19 was the ceiling of his draft range. Jeffery, on the other hand, fell after being considered a top-15 prospect early on. He dropped for good reason though; he played at 230-240 pounds in 2011. If the Bears don't closely monitor him, he could eat himself out of the league.
Chicago reached twice after that, especially with Brandon Hardin in the third round. Why didn't the front office take someone like Bobby Massie to bolster Cutler's protection with that pick?
2012 NFL Draft Individual Grades:
19. Shea McClellin, DE, Boise State: B Grade
I'm fine with the Bears selecting Shea McClellin, but this is a bit higher than he probably should have gone. There were also better defensive ends available according to the consensus board, like Whitney Mercilus and Chandler Jones. But draft projections are unpredictable, and McClellin could easily end up being better than any of them. This is a solid pick.
45. Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina: B Grade
The Bears have moved up for Alshon Jeffery for a fifth-round pick. I can't exactly blame them. He has immense talent and is worth the risk in the middle of the second round. I say "risk" because he has serious weight issues. He played at 230-240 pounds last year and looked like he could barely move. Jeffery's boom or bust. He can be great if he wants to be, but he could just as easily eat himself out of the league in three years. The Bears better make sure he stays in shape.
79. Brandon Hardin, S, Oregon State: D Grade
This is a pretty big reach. No major big board had Brandon Hardin ranked above No. 125. He belonged in the fifth round. If Chicago really wanted him, it should have traded down.
111. Evan Rodriguez, TE, Temple: B- Grade
The Bears are guilty of another reach here - albeit a slighter one. Evan Rodriguez fills a need; Mike Martz is gone, so the Bears are actually going to use the tight end position in the passing game.
184. Isaiah Frey, CB, Nevada: C Grade
I did not expect Isaiah Frey to be drafted, and neither did any of the major publications. At least he fills a need; cornerback depth had to be addressed.
220. Greg McCoy, CB, TCU: C Grade
What's with the Bears drafting UDFA-caliber cornerbacks in the final couple of rounds? Again, this fills needed corner depth.
Someone on the Bears must have defiled an Indian burial ground. The team was 7-3 heading into Thanksgiving weekend, but would drop five of six because Jay Cutler and Matt Forte were knocked out with serious injuries. And to make things worse, Brian Urlacher tore his MCL and PCL in a meaningless Week 17 game at Minnesota.
Bears sign DT John McCargo
Bears sign DT DeMario Pressley
Bears sign OLB Geno Hayes
49ers sign G Chilo Rachal
Buccaneers sign DT Amobi Okoye
Bears sign CB Kelvin Hayden
Bears sign CB Jonathan Wilhite
Broncos sign QB Caleb Hanie
Bears sign WR Devin Thomas
Vikings sign CB Zackary Bowman
Bears announce retirement of RB Marion Barber
Ravens sign CB Corey Graham
Bears sign RB Michael Bush
Bears re-sign S Craig Steltz
Bears re-sign DE Israel Idonije
Redskins sign S Brandon Meriweather
Bears re-sign TE Kellen Davis
Bears sign WR Eric Weems
Bears re-sign QB Josh McCown
Bears sign ILB Blake Costanzo
Bears sign QB Jason Campbell
Bears acquire WR Brandon Marshall for two third-round picks
Bears re-sign CB Tim Jennings
Bears tender RB Kahlil Bell
Bears cut DT Anthony Adams
- Wide Receiver: Jay Cutler loves throwing to Earl Bennett, who should just be a secondary option. Roy Williams and Johnny Knox aren't the answer. The Bears will look at Michael Floyd, Kendall Wright and Alshon Jeffery at No. 19 in the 2012 NFL Draft. Traded for Brandon Marshall; drafted Alshon Jeffery; signed Devin Thomas
- Left Tackle: I think it's safe to call J'Marcus Webb a lost cause at left tackle. He was guilty of a whopping 12 sacks and 14 penalties in 2011.
- Cornerback: Three of Chicago's top four cornerbacks, including starter Tim Jennings, are set to hit the market in March. I currently have the Bears selecting Alfonzo Dennard in my 2012 NFL Draft. Re-signed Tim Jennings; signed Jonathan Wilhite and Kelvin Hayden
- Interior Lineman: Chris Spencer was a sieve at right guard; he allowed the third-most pressures in the NFL last year. The Bears can either draft a right guard to replace him, or a center so Roberto Garza can move back to Spencer's position. Both Peter Konz and Cordy Glenn will be options at No. 19. Signed Chilo Rachal
- Tight End: Mike Martz was a crazed lunatic who didn't like to use tight ends in his offense. He is gone though, so Chicago could use the third-round pick it acquired for Greg Olsen on a new tight end. Re-signed Kellen Davis; drafted Evan Rodriguez
- Running Back: Retaining Matt Forte will be Chicago's No. 1 priority this offseason. Franchised Matt Forte; signed Michael Bush
- Strong Safety: Major Wright isn't a very good safety. Meanwhile, both Brandon Meriweather and Craig Steltz are free agents. Re-signed Craig Steltz; drafted Brandon Hardin
- Linebacker Depth: The Bears should be prepared just in case Brian Urlacher can't start the season on time because of his MCL and PCL tears. Signed Geno Hayes amd Blake Costanzo
- Defensive End: I'm just listing this as a formality because Israel Idonije is a free agent. Idonije already said that he'll be re-signing with Chicago. The Bears could stand to find an upgrade though. Re-signed Israel Idonije; drafted Shea McClellin
- Defensive Tackle Depth: The Bears cut Anthony Adams, so they'll need depth here behind Henry Melton, Matt Toeaina and Stephen Paea if they can't re-sign Amobi Okoye.
- Backup Quarterback: The Bears will need a capable backup behind Jay Cutler if Josh McCown isn't re-signed. Signed Jason Campbell; re-signed Josh McCown
2012 Chicago Bears Analysis: If it weren't for all of the injuries the Bears incurred last year - mainly to Jay Cutler and Matt Forte - they would have made the playoffs and perhaps advanced deep in the postseason tournament. They return most of their talent, and even added a very potent offensive weapon in Brandon Marshall, so there's no reason to think this team couldn't make a run at the Lombardi Trophy - just as long as everyone stays healthy for a change.
Projection: 11-5 (Tied for 2nd in NFC North)
2012 Fantasy Football Rankings
More 2012 NFL Season Previews
*** 2012 NFL DRAFT GRADES, OFFSEASON NEEDS BELOW COMMENT BOARD ***