The Bears had a rough 2016 season. John Fox enters his third year with the club and GM Ryan Pace has some work to do. Chicago had needs at QB, DE, CB2, nickel CB, WR1, and SS coming into free agency Let’s see what Pace did in free agency so far for the Bears for 2017.
End of Smokin Jay and Rise of the Giraffe
Jay Cutler was cut by the Bears which cleared 14 million in cap space. We’ll miss his pouts and interceptions. He just never got over the hump in Chicago and had some injuries the last few years. Cutler is still on the market despite some QB needy teams out there.
Mike Glennon will be the new starting QB for Chicago. He was signed to a three year 45 million dollar deal. Glennon was the backup for Tampa Bay and barely played the last two seasons. This is a big risk for the Bears but they saw something in Glennon’s giraffe-like style.
Brian Hoyer was allowed to walk despite a solid season with the Bears taking over for Cutler. Hoyer signed a 2 year 12 million dollar deal with the 49ers. Matt Barkley also signed a two year deal with the 49ers. The Bears signed Mark Sanchez to a one year 2 million dollar deal to be the new backup QB in Chicago. Connor Shaw was re-signed to a one year deal as well as the developmental backup QB. It was a QB Shuffle in Chicago and they may use a high pick on QB in the draft.
Alshon Jeffrey bolted to the Eagles on a one year 9.5 million dollar deal with incentives. The Bears added speedster Markus Wheaton on a two year 11 million dollar dea from Pittsburgh. Chicago also added tight end Dion Sims to a 3 year 18 million dollar deal.
Chicago lost a big weapon by losing Jeffrey. Kevin White must finally stay healthy in year 3 and Cameron Meredith had a nice 2016 season for the Bears at WR that the Bears hope is repeated.
Pace added competition in the slot WR job and added former Titans first round pick Kendall Wright. Wright signed a one year 4 million dollar deal to battle with Eddie Royal for the slot job. Deonte Thompson and Joshua Bellamy were also re-signed on cheap one year deals. Reuben Randle was added in January on a reserve deal.
Sims and Zach Miller is a decent tight end duo but Sims may be overpaid. The Bears lack a true number 1 WR but have plenty of decent options for Glennon.
Chicago needs secondary help badly. Kyle Fuller should get healthy and be the Bears number 1 CB again. Prince Amukamara was added a one year 7 million dollar deal. Amukamara will get a shot to resurrect his career after a down year in Jacksonville. Marcus Cooper got a surprising 3 year 16 million dollar deal. Cooper will compete with the re-signed Bryce Callahan in the slot. The Bears still have Tracy Porter and Deiondre Hall at CB as well.
Quentin Demps was a nice pickup by Chicago at strong safety. Demps is older but got a 3 year 13.5 million dollar deal. Demps was the 12th ranked safety per PFF last season at Houston. The former Texan could help solidify Chicago on the back-end next to a strong player in Adrian Amos. Chris Prosinski was also re-signed to be the backup strong safety.
Defensive Line Depth
John Jenkins was added to a one year 900,000 contract. Jenkins can backup Eddie Goldman at nose tackle and add to the rotation. CJ Wilson was also added at 3-4 DE to a one year contract. Cornelius Washington bolted to the Lions on a 2 year 5.825 million dollar deal.
Bears Going Forward
The Bears addressed some needs this offseason (WR, CB, QB, SS) but they still have more issues. The Bears need to add a 3-4 DE, more CB help and a number 1 WR. Chicago could also upgrade their left tackle situation and it never hurts to add more pass rush. However, Floyd, McPhee and Willie Young should provide plenty in 2017. Chicago’s new starting QB addition is questionable but could succeed if surrounded by enough talent. We’ll see if Prince, Cooper and Demps can fix their secondary along with the return of Kyle Fuller.
Also, we will see if Glennon really is the future or if Chicago adds a QB in Round 1 of the draft.
Chicago has 24.6 million in cap space left per the top 51 rule. Chicago will have pick 3, pick 36, pick 67, pick 111, pick 117, pick 147, and pick 221 in the 2017 draft.