Big time helmit tip to Midway as now we have what appears will be the new CBA and with it the rules of FA. FA would revert back to a 4 year system; however, a good number of tags will no longer be used under the new CBA. A reported 400 players, with a good number of them being notable pro-bowlers, will become available. I will list some of those notable players as well as others and you are free to comment on whomever you want after the jump. HERE...WE...GO!!
Okay so first off lets look at our needs. The top needs are: interior O-Line, WR, CB, LB, and D-Line. Well the first is obvious as we need to beef up our interior O-Line and we also should add more firepower to our WR corps. As for Defense we need to add more talent and competition at CB as well as building up depth at our LB where we only have 2 players under contract ( Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs ) plus I feel we can add more power to our D-Line where DT and another DE would be nice to add. Now its time for the grand list in perhaps the deepest FA pool in recent years.
Players are listed in no particular order
C Olin Kreutz - We need to resign him as he has been our key O-Lineman for a very long time and knows all of the calls on our O-Line
And if we fail...
C Samson Satele - He has played rather well in recent years with the Raiders and has decent size to be a nice fit in this offense.
C David Baas - He is HUGE (6'4" 330 pounds) and is a balanced O-Lineman who would be a perfect fit for Tice.
C Lyle Sendlein - A relative unknown but has been a solid Center for the Cardinals. Would be worth a look in addition to being the lower costing option of the group.
Now for Guards (especially LGs)
OG Carl Nicks - IMO the best LG in the NFL and also without a doubt the best possible fit for the Chicago Bears as he has the size ( 6'5", 343 pounds) and skills to be the veteran presance our young LT Gabe Carimi needs to have a great season in addition to being a centerpiece for our interior O-Line well into the future.
OG Logan Mankins - Right up there with Nicks as one of the top LGs in the NFL.
OG Justin Blalock - An up and comer in the NFL and would also be a good fit as he played very well in a complex and balanced Falcon's Offense.
OG Brian Waters - His major drawback is his age but to me is still a very good LG who played extreamly well for the Kansas City Cheifs' top ranked rushing Offense. He is also a reliable pass blocker that can be a mentor for the younger O-Lineman.
OG Deuce Lutui - Best known around here as being the guy who Tommie Harris childishly punched in the face, he has been an excellent high character OG for the Cards offense over the years and has the size (6'4" 338) and mean streak to be what we need on our O-Line.
OG Harvey Dahl - Probably the Falcon's best O-Lineman next to RT Tyson Claybo and would also be a good fit in Tice's schemes as a RG.
OG Marshal Yanda - Solid young veteran who helped the Ravens tremendously the last few years.
OG Davin Joseph - Great young player who is one of the meanest O-Lineman in the game. Has size and power to go with great athletisism.
Now time for WRs:
WR Vincent Jackson - Has the size ( 6'4" 230 pounds ), speed (4.45 forty), hands, route running, and flat out playmaking skills many Bears fans crave for in a WR. The biggest reason he is my top choice is because he has been extreamly productive in a system very similar to ours in San Diego, and Lovie Smith wants to add a productive WR as opposed to someone who is just 6'5" (like our next person)
WR Plaxico Burress - Again has size but no speed as well as the fact he has been a problem for teams in the past. He still would be a solid red zone target because of his sheer size advantage.
WR Sidney Rice - Relative unknown until hewhosnameshallnotbespoken stepped in and all of the sudden emerged as a top target. He has good size and speed to go with decent route running to be a good fit in our system. Only real concern is his health, which is still a big concern.
WR Chad Ochocinco (Johnson)- He will be available eventually, and he is still a great target to throw to for Jay Cutler. After all perhaps a change of scenery is what he needs. He also happens to be a good run blocker which is what Martz demands from his WRs
WR Santana Moss - An old wardog who is tough as nails and still is a great weapon to have in a WR corps. He would be an exellent fit in Martz's schemes with his great route running and hands.
WR Santonio Holmes - One of the two New York Jets WRs that will be available and imo the better of the 2. Has great speed and route running ability as well as his effort to catch the ball. Only is 5'11" but plays like a 6'3" WR when it comes to fighting for the ball.
WR Braylon Edwards - A.K.A "Dropappotimus"- The other Jets WR that is to be available. Has good height ( 6'3) and speed to get down field in a hurry. Now one of his main issues is that he has a bad habit of dropping the ball but thanks to Indy he has shown he is becoming more of a dependable WR than in years past. He only dropped 4 passes last year which all came from an inconsistant QB in Mark Sanchez in addition to having fewer opportunities in a run heavy Jets offense. Plus if he does come to Chicago he wouldn't be the #1 WR rather Earl Bennett would and would open up the offense tremendously for our other WRs to make plays. But the other and what seems to be an unavoidable issue are his issues with the law.
WR Steve Smith (Giants) - A solid all-round WR who has great hands and is a skillfull route runner. Also a good road grader in the running game.
WR Steve Smith (Panthers) - Very good player despite his size and he is still rather fast despite his age. Would be a nice pick up for a team running a system like ours.
WR Malcom Floyd - The other Chargers WR who is a rising star in the League who is not as fast as Jackson but has great size of his own and is a sure handed catcher. Also a disciplined route runner.
WR Mike Sims-Walker - A fan favorite; he has great speed (4.35) and decent size (6'2" 214 pounds) as well as a discaplined route runner in addition to being a reliable run blocker to be a good all-round fit hypothetically in the Martzfense. However, he has yet to finish a full season healthy due to minor yet constant problems in his right knee, and the offense he is accustomed to playing in is a virtual polar opposite to what we have in Chicago. But, he would still be a rather nice lower costing addition to our WR corps.
WR Terrell Owens - The other Bengals WR. Big mouthed prima dona with talent.
WR Randy Moss - Umm...no thanks.
WR Steve Breaston - A WR that was overshadowed in Arizona by Larry Fitzgerald and a couple years ago Anquan Boldin. However he is still a reliable target that has great hands and is a good route runner who would be a solid WR in Martz's offense.
WR Legedu Naanee - Has great size ( 6'2" 220 pounds) and like his fellow teamates Vincent Jackson and Malcom Floyd played in a system in San Diego that is very similar to ours. Has been in recent trouble with the law though.
Now for CBs
CB Nnamdi Asomugha - Easily the top coverage corner in the NFL who every team wants.
CB Brandon Carr - He would be an outstanding fit in our scheme as he is a very good coverage CB as well as a sound tackler plus he is young who will only get better over time. Only thing is I'm not sure if he has accumilated enough seasons to void the tender he received. Could be worth the price though.
CB Antonio Cromartie - Good playmaking CB who has good coverage skills to go along with his playmaking skills.
CB Carlos Rogers - Has very good coverage skills but is nagged on by his hands of stone. Of coarse that wouldn't matter much in the Tampa 2 where pressure on the CB is significantly less.
CB Johnathon Joseph - Vasher 2.0, is a ballhawk when healthy.
CB Brent Grimes - A rather underated player who is a solid tackler and a very intelligent individual when it comes to pass coverage, as he knows when the appropriate time to break on the ball and make a play on it comes and when its time to play it safe.
CB Richard Marshall - One of many former Panthers defenders to be mentioned on this post, he too possesses good coverage skills and is a physical player that is not afraid to come up and make the tackle.
CB Ike Taylor - Mostly noted around here including from myself as the CB who got embarresed by Green Bay in the Super Bowl. However, he is a rather solid coverage guy as well as a hard hitting DB (no surprise) where if he comes into a system like ours where the pressure on CBs is far less, combined with more opportunities to make plays then he could be a good option to take in FA. Also would add the size we seek at CB standing in at 6'2" 195 pounds.
CB Chris Carr - Has been a reliable player for the Ravens and could be an all round good fit for our defense. Should not cost too much neither.
CB Nate Clements - He was considered as one of the best all-round CBs in the NFL until he got injured in 2009. But, he still is a productive player as well as a great defensive player all-round where good coverage skills are complimented by great tackling skills. He has contested against great WRs throughout his career and has played well in every year he has been in the league. Coming to a team like Chicago where we already have a Defense loaded with great players such as Charles Tillman and Chris Harris in our secondary, topped off with the fact the pressure on CBs is significantly less in a Tampa 2, and he could return to prominance.
LB Pisa Tinoisamoa - Old veteran who played rather well last year but needs to stay healthy.
LB Nick Roach - A player who has shown can play at a high level. A must resign player.
LB Mark Herzlich - UDFA who won his battle against cancer and showed eveyone last year he is a great LB with NFL potential.
LB Barrett Ruud - He was a solid LB for the Buccaneers and we all know that Lovie loves LBs that have played in Tampa 2 style schemes. He could be a quality starter for us as a SLB.
LB Rocky McIntosh - One member of a rather talented LB corps in Washington, he is a bit older than the rest but still has a good amount of time left in the NFL. Probably would be the highest costing option out of the bunch.
LB Thomas Davis - Missed all of last year with a knee injury, but was rising fast in the league as a solid LB. Could be a great special teamer at the least.
LB James Anderson - He was Carolina's 2nd best LB right next to Joe Beason and he has great pursuit skills along with decent playmaking skills.
And finally; D-Lineman:
DT Anthony Adams - Another player we must retain as he truly was our best NT last season
DT Brandon Mebane - A solid DT who would be a solid veteran option in case we can't sign AA
DT/DE Cullen Jenkins - Very good D-Lineman who would fit perfectly as a 3T in our scheme in addition to weakening our division foe.
DT Albert Haynesworth - Has been basically wortheless in Washington but did play well in a 4-3 scheme back in Tennessee. If and only if he agrees to a small contract would I get anywhere near him.
DT Pat Williams - Is big and has played in the 4-3 but has been in recent trouble, most likely will be suspended next season.
DT Aubrayo Franklin - Not sure if he has ever played in a 4-3 but would be a good fit as a NT in our scheme, as well as a perfect compliment for Stephan Paea. **Update: He has played in a 4-3 while at college**
DT Kris Jenkins - Definitely the largest option weighing in at 6'4' 360 pounds. If you want to go big then this is your guy. Now he hasn't played in a 4-3 as far as I know but before his knee injury he had the athletisism to be a great 4-3 NT and if he has fully recovered from his injury then he could be a solid player at the right price.
DE Osi Umenyiora - Wants OUT of the New York Giants and is a good pass rusher
DE Ray Edwards - Has been getting better each year in the NFL and is a good balanced End in a 4-3. Would be a rather nice compliment to Julius Peppers.
DE Raheem Brock - Might be out of the picture in Seattle because of a rather stupid incident, could be a solid 3rd down pass rusher.
DE Charles Johnson - He is short at 6'2 but he is extreamly explosive and is a good pass rusher. Could also be a low costing player.
DE Vernon Gholston - Coming into New York as a 3-4 OLB after playing in college as a 4-3 End, he has been a major bust and is definitely on the chopping block in New York. Now what many have shown me is that sometimes when a player is a bust solely because of the scheme and that said player returns to a scheme they are familiar with, they can become a really solid player. That may be the case as he was a monster in college as a 4-3 End and is still a young player with a good amount of motivation. If he can be signed for a low salary and he erupts into a star player, then that could perhaps be a real feather in Jerry's cap.
If there are any other players in any of those positions that you would like, please list below in comments and explain why you would want them. Otherwise, Have at it Bears fans!!!