Some names are beginning to surface. I shall discuss them now.
Peppers is the rare 4-3 defensive end that demands double teams on almost every passing down. Peppers might not come into Chicago and register 12 1/2 sacks but I guarantee you’d see the sack totals of every other defensive lineman increase. He’s an elite talent and will demand to be paid like one. Will Halas Hall meet his demands?
Sproles has the kind of versatility that makes a football coach salivate. He can carry the rock 15-20 times a game. He’s probably the finest catcher of the screen pass in the game. He’s a game-breaking return man. There’s not many teams in the league that won’t make a play for him so expecting interest from the Bears – who don’t have sincere need in any of those three area – is fool’s gold. The money would be better spent on…
Westbrook is a dated version of Sproles but the Bears could show tremendous savvy by locking down his leadership and third-down ability while the rest of the league is lining up for the little San Diego man. Westbrook is not a must sign. But it is the kind of a sign a team makes when they believe they’re a few pieces from the promised land. Whether it’s true or not, the Bears believe that’s the case.
Walter is an ideal Mike Martz receiver. Quick feet and reliable hands from the slot, he might be able to provide a solid slant option to a quarterback that looks damn near afraid to throw the pattern. (Based on the interception totals in that regard, he should be.) I really don’t think the Bears are looking at the wide receiver position but if they are, they should look this way and ignore the higher priced trade options out there.
Antrel Rolle & Darren Sharper
Why am I listing them together? Because I want them both. And more than any free agent signings possible, the acquisition of these two men could change my expectations for the 2010 season. Just imagine the thought of going into September with two solid, professional players at safety. Just imagine knowing that the heaved ball over the top will have to get through the best center fielder in the game. Neither of these guys is great players but both are significant upgrades over Al Afalava and Kevin Payne in 2010. And as I’ve said many times recently, 2010 is all Jerry and Lovie may have left.