I spent most of last off-season calling for the Bears to sign free agents and make trades. They made the brilliant Cutler deal but balked at signing Darren Sharper and Brian Dawkins – two men that would have made the 2009 Bears infinitely better. They also attempted in vain to acquire Anquan Boldin on draft day and avoided Brandon Marshall like the plague. All in all, they walked into the season believing the Cutler was the last piece of the puzzle. He was. When the team put the puzzle together, it was a gorgeous picture of 7 wins and a third-place finish.
Now the availability of Julius Peppers is sending a thrill down Lake Shore as fans are starting to believe that a premiere pass rusher may be heading to Chicago. And while the signing isn’t likely to happen, it would be fitting. Everything the Bears have done recently reflects a bucket listian sense of impending death. Mike Martz may shift the offensive course but who wants to bet we’re waiting for the group to gel in late October? Rod Marinelli was deemed the savior of the defensive line and after failing miserably at that task has received a promotion to the defense’s top spot. These are not plans for the future, attempts to re-think the on-field philosophy. These are last gasps by the head coach to show he knows what is correct for the ballclub.
Peppers would fit along those lines. The once-dominant defensive end may have a year or two left in the tank but he’ll be saddling his signer with an outlandish bonus that won’t pay itself off unless he plays five years at a high level. But neither Jerry nor Lovie can possibly believe they’ll be here in 2011 without a successful 2010. So wouldn’t it be in both their best interests to mortgage the team’s future for their own short-term salvation?
Peppers makes the 2010 Bears better. Without question. And I expect every decision made between now and September to be made toward that end.