2014 NFL Offseason: Chicago Bears
Draft Grades, Season Previews, Team Needs, Free Agents
Chicago Bears (Last Year: 8-8)
It's ironic that after decades of great defense and inept quarterback play, the Bears would deal with a controversy involving two talented signal-callers when their stop unit completely fell apart. Josh McCown played extremely well when Jay Cutler was out of the lineup, but Marc Trestman opted to go with Cutler upon the starter's return. Chicago lost two of its final three games, but that wasn't Cutler's fault; the defense simply couldn't stop the opposition.
- Two Safeties: Major Wright is a free agent. Chris Conte, well, I don't think Chicago fans are going to forget his ineptitude in the win-and-in season finale anytime soon.
- Defensive Tackle: Henry Melton is a free agent. He's coming off a poor season with some off-the-field incidents, so perhaps the Bears can re-sign him cheaply. If not, the 14th pick in the 2014 NFL Draft could be used on this position. Re-signed Jay Ratliff
- Two Cornerbacks: Chicago was able to re-sign Tim Jennings, but Charles Tillman will need to be replaced, as his contract has expired. Two corners have to be added: One as a new starter, and the second one for depth. There will be lots of options this May. Re-signed Kelvin Hayden
- Defensive End: Julius Peppers, coming off a disappointing 7.5-sack campaign, counts more than $18 million against the cap. It's sounding like he could be let go. If that's the case, a replacement will be needed. Signed Trevor Scott
- Strongside Linebacker: The Bears had major issues at linebacker this past season. Lance Briggs was hurt, while Jon Bostic struggled, though he was a second-round rookie, so he can improve. The team's greatest liability was at the strongside position with James Anderson.
- Center: Roberto Garza is a 35-year-old free agent. The Bears will obviously need a new center if they can't retain him. Re-signed Roberto Garza
- Right Tackle: Jordan Mills struggled last season, but he was a mere fifth-round rookie, so he'll be given another chance.
- Tight End Depth: Dante Rosario is a free agent. Depth will have to be obtained behind Martellus Bennett. Re-signed Dante Rosario
- Punter: The Bears released Adam Podlesh.
Follow me @walterfootball for updates.
2014 NFL Free Agent Signings:
Chicago Bears Free Agents:
Salary Cap: TBA.
Henry Melton, DT, Bears. Age: 27.
Henry Melton was one of Chicago's top defenders entering the 2013 season, but he struggled prior to tearing his ACL in late September. He was also charged for misdemeanor assault in October. He should be able to rebound if healthy, but the knee injury is a natural concern.
Major Wright, S, Bears. Age: 26.
Major Wright played very well in 2012, but had an awful 2013 campaign. Perhaps he deserves a mulligan, as he battled neck and hamstring injuries all season. He's only 26, so he should be able to rebound.
Roberto Garza, C/G, Bears. Age: 35.
Re-signed with Bears (1 year, $1.5 million)
The versatile Roberto Garza had yet another solid season for the Bears. Unfortunately, he'll turn 35 in March.
Charles Tillman, CB, Bears. Age: 33.
Charles Tillman used to be known as one of the NFL's top cornerbacks, but he struggled mightily in 2013 before tearing his triceps. Perhaps he'll be able to rebound, but given that he'll turn 33 in February, there's a chance he has completely fallen off.
Devin Hester, KR, Bears. Age: 31.
The greatest return specialist in NFL history, Devin Hester proved that he's still dangerous by taking back a punt for a touchdown in 2013. He'll be 32 in November though, so it remains to be seen how much longer he'll be effective.
Josh McCown, QB, Bears. Age: 35.
Josh McCown credited Kurt Warner for his improved play. Perhaps Warner should be an NFL coach because McCown was prolific when starting in place of Jay Cutler, completing 66.5 percent of his passes and maintaining a 13-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio on an 8.2 YPA.
Corey Wootton, DE, Bears. Age: 27.
Corey Wootton happens to be solid in run support, but he's only average when it comes to rushing the passer. He had seven sacks in 2012, but saw that number cut in half this past season.
James Anderson, OLB, Bears. Age: 30.
James Anderson covered well this past season, but was exposed against the run after Henry Melton was sidelined with an injury.
- D.J. Williams, ILB, Bears. Age: 31.
- Zackary Bowman, CB, Bears. Age: 29.
- Dante Rosario, TE, Bears. Age: 29. -- Re-signed with Bears (1 year)
- Jay Ratliff, DT, Bears. Age: 33. -- Re-signed with Bears (2 years)
- Eben Britton, OT, Bears. Age: 26.
- Blake Costanzo, OLB, Bears. Age: 30.
- Nate Collins, DT, Bears. Age: 26.
- Craig Steltz, S, Bears. Age: 28.
- Adam Podlesh, P, Bears. Age: 31.
- Kelvin Hayden, CB, Bears. Age: 31. Re-signed with Bears (1 year)
- Sherrick McManis, CB, Bears. Age: 26.
- Anthony Walters (RFA), S, Bears. Age: 25.
- Jonathan Scott, OT, Bears. Age: 31.
- Jordan Palmer, QB, Bears. Age: 30.
NFL Free Agent Tracker:
QB | RB | FB | WR | TE | OT | G | C | DE | DT | OLB | ILB | CB | S | K/P | FA Grades | FA Rumors
NFL Free Agent Tracker - March 8
Fantasy Football Rankings - March 8
2014 NFL Mock Draft - March 5
2014 NBA Mock Draft - March 5
2015 NFL Mock Draft - March 2
NFL Picks - Feb. 2
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