The Bears have needs. Many needs. So I’ve decided to apply a point value to those needs. 0 points would mean the Bears have absolutely no need to address this position during free agency. 10 points would mean the Bears are in trouble come 2016 if they don’t make a significant move. Here are the rankings, with a single sentence of rationale for each.
9.2 Defensive Line
Yes, Eddie Goldman looked like a long-term contributor for the Bears up front, but this unit was the least explosive on the entirety of the roster in 2015.
8.3 Inside Linebacker
McClellin, Timu and Anderson each had moments last season but the Bears need a true run-stuffing thumper in the middle of their defense.
8.1 Offensive Line
With so much talent available in the middle of the line (Mack, Boone, Incognito) the Bears would be doing their run game in 2016 a tremendous disservice by entering the season with so many question marks along the line.
8.0 Tight End
If Martellus Bennett is truly headed out the door (as the whole world is reporting) the Bears not only need to sign Zach Miller but also pair him with another player to threaten the middle of the field.
Here are five thoughts on the Bears possible approach.
(1) Go get Eric Weddle. Why?
(2) The Bears targeted Pernell McPhee quickly a year ago and landed their man. Would they do so again? Yes. Because adding Malik Jackson to their defensive line will turn around their poor rush defense almost immediately. There’s concern, of course, because paying defensive linemen has bitten several clubs in the ass. But you have to spend all that cap space somewhere, don’t you?
(3) The Bears should go into 2016 with Charles Leno and Kyle Long as their starting tackles. Both showed enough a year ago to warrant another season at those positions. But don’t be surprised if they look to free agency for a tough presence in the middle of the line. Is Alex Boone a great guard? No. But he’s got some badass in him. And he shouldn’t be too expensive.
Nothing depresses me more than the idea of sitting in front of my computer all day, waiting for the Bears to do something so I can cobble together some barely-developed thoughts in column form. That’s what the draft is for. Instead I will be commenting on the whole of NFL free agency at DaBearsBlog’s Twitter feed. As always you can see that feed on the right rail of this page or follow me on Twitter by CLICKING HERE.
Of the three high profile defensive ends on the open NFL market, Lamarr Houston was the best fit for the Chicago Bears. Neither he nor the two Michaels (Bennett, Johnson) are elite edge rushers who’ll draw double teams on every down. But Houston is smart, gets off blocks and displays tremendous discipline; he is one of the best run-stopping defensive ends in the game.
The Bears could fix their pass rush all they wanted. It wouldn’t matter if they continued being one of the worst run defenses in the history of recorded time.
From Brad Biggs:
…Houston plays the run very well, he’s durable (hasn’t missed a game in four seasons) and has the flexibility to shift around on the line. There is a good chance the Bears will slide him inside in the nickel package, which is probably what the plan was for Bennett. He’s athletic enough to see time at the three technique tackle position, if needed.
Versatility is great but production is better and that is what Emery is counting on. The reality is Houston, who will turn 27 in June, offers more bang for the buck than a 34-year-old Peppers and probably more than Jared Allen or DeMarcus Ware, both soon to turn 32.
Remember this, desperate Bears fans: it ain’t all getting fixed in twenty-four hours. Houston doesn’t solve their woes along the defensive line. But he solves one of them.