It is the obligation of everyone who covers a football team from a non-beat writer’s perspective to take a stand when it comes to said football team’s approach to free agency. In that spirit I state the following: if the Bears must decide between pursuing Mario Williams and Vincent Jackson, I hope they fix their scope squarely on the chest of the elite defensive end from North Carolina State.
Yes I acknowledge the Bears have a lack of explosive talent on the outside. Yes I believe Vincent Jackson is a very good player and would continue being a very good player in Chicago. No I would have no problem with the Bears announcing they’ve signed Jackson to a lengthy, lucrative contract just seconds after the opening of the free agency period.
My preference is just that – a preference. If the Bears HAVE to select one or the other to pursue (the contention of most analysts), I prefer Williams. The reasons are simple. Jackson is very good.Williams is elite. And he is elite at what might be the second most important position in the modern NFL. If you were to poll franchises around the league and ask them whether they’d be more afraid to face a Bears side with Vincent Jackson or one with Mario Williams opposite Julius Peppers, I believe the result would be overwhelmingly for the latter.
Would I like both? Yep. Would my dream scenario be signing Mario Williams and trading for Brandon Marshall? You betcha. (This scenario may gain traction as rumors circulate about Peyton Manning not wanting to play with Marshall.) But if the Bears plan this March is to land one major free agent, I’m hoping they take the best player on the open market. That is Mario Williams.