Now that the draft is over and assuming that the labor problems of the NFL could be sorted out, it's time to move to the subject of free agency. With Bears GM Jerry Angelo stating that the team is open to any possibility with the sole exception of the QB position (which means that FA Caleb Hanie will most likely be reacquired) and with the recent acquisitions of high priced free agents like Julius Peppers and Chester Taylor last season then it may be entirely possible that the Chicago Bears could very well make a splash for the third year in a row.
Looking at the current Bears roster, the consensus is that the team still has some holes in needs to fill:
Cornerback: With Charles Tillman getting a bit long in the tooth, the only other players on the roster aren't exactly stars so it is important that the Bears grab an immediate playmaker.
Nnamdi Asomugha (OAK) This guy is clearly the top free agent this year, almost every team in the league would love to have him so it gives the Bears a very slim chance. But then again the Bears were able to land Peppers, who was the top dog in the market last year so I guess anything's possible, right?
Brent Grimes (ATL) The question is how much will the Atlanta Falcons try to keep their current roster of star players? If there's a slip up then perhaps the Bears might be able to land this guy, he's an ace in deflecting passes and just gets better every season. Being a restricted free agent may mean the Bears give up a lot on him if they grab him though.
Antonio Cromartie (NYJ) He may not get the same adulation as his Jets teammate Revis but Cromartie is every bit as tough, with so many shut down corners available in this year's FA market, maybe the Bears should shell out some big bucks and land him.
Ike Taylor (PIT) While Taylor has been pretty consistent for the Steelers he is now 30 so age may be a factor but the Bears should sign him up for maybe a 3 or 4 year contract. While not a long term solution Taylor still has plenty of talent.
Linebacker: With only two veterans (Urlacher and Briggs) under contract (Thomas just got drafted so is a raw rookie) it is important that the Bears grab at least one veteran to help out their very thin roster.
LaMarr Woodley (PIT) If there is one linebacker the Bears should go all out to grab then it should be Woodley, he is a Wilbur Marshall type LB who can anchor the defense for many years to come.
Barrett Ruud (TB) If the Bears can't get Woodley then this guy is my next choice. Ruud was a little inconsistent last season but I would guess its because he wasn't happy with his contract at Tampa Bay. If he accepts then he would be a good steal for Chicago.
Pisa Tinoisamoa (CHI) Sign him for another year. Why not?
Guard/Center: With Carimi and Webb now holding down the tackle positions and assuming both improve, then the Bear O line is set at the edge for years to come, the next concern would be our center Kruetz getting old along with Roberto Garza. With the Lions and Packers ramping up their defensive lines, its imperative that the team grab some new players that can handle the added pressure.
Carl Nicks (NO) Grabbing Nicks would be a no-brainer for any team but do the Bears have the money to do it? And would New Orleans let him go?
Harvey Dahl (ATL) If the Bears can't grab Nicks then this is the man they should go after. But the question remains the same, just how far will Atlanta try to keep its roster intact for a superbowl run?
Alan Faneca (ARZ) Although Faneca is also getting long in the tooth he is still an interior force, perhaps good for another two or three years. Why not take a chance on him? Yes, we know what happened the last time the Bears tried to get a veteran lineman in free agency (Orlando -cough- Pace) but Faneca wasn't released...
Wide Receiver: The Bears WR corps didn't exactly have the breakout year we anticipated but they did come close. Nevertheless, Jay Cutler needs a bonafide superstar WR who can catch those critical passes if the team is to take the next step and win the Superbowl.
Santonio Holmes (NYJ) Yes, he has personal issues. Yes, the Bears hate anyone with personal issues. But if a guy has enough talent to get you to the Superbowl would you take a chance? Please?
Braylon Edwards (NYJ) Okay, if the Bears think Holmes has too much issues then grab his equally talented teammate! Problem solved.
James Jones (GB) Though Jones tends to drop passes, he has talent and would be a fine grab since his acquisition would weaken our main rivals, the Packers. So on that reason alone he is worth a look.
Cullen Jenkins (GB) Although the Bears are loaded on the ends with Peppers, Izzy and Wotton, it would still be a good grab since Jenkins can help out with the rotation and at the same time weaken the Green Bay D.
Danieal Manning (CHI) Come on, this guy is an excellent returner and one of the best athletes on the team. Please sign him up!