After a disappointing end to what looked like a promising season, everyone has been quick to claim that the Bears have many holes to fill on offense and defense. Are we forgetting the 7-3 start? That they were averaging over 30 points a game during the 5 game winning streak? What about the impressive defensive effort in the games after Cutler's injury? I firmly believe that had the Bears not been plagued with injuries, they would be be preparing for a rematch with the Packers this weekend, with a serious shot to win it all.
With that being said, there really isn't much to fix on a team that was a serious contender with their players healthy. While some positions are lacking depth and others could use an upgrade, every NFL team has holes and there is never a perfect team. There are only 3 things that the Bears need to do to win the SuperBowl next year and have a 13-3 to 14-2 season next year. First they need to...
1. Trade their two 3rd round draft picks to Miami for WR Brandon Marshall. This Pro-Bowl receiver was Cutler's number one weapon during his pro-bowl year in Denver, and they have the chemistry that few quarterback-receiver duos have. After the recent tweets, it is clear that both players have interest in bringing in Marshall, and he would be the true number 1 receiver that they're lacking. WIth Marshall and Bennett at 1 and 2, using Knox and Hester as speedy deep threats, and Cutler orchestrating it all, the Bears offense could easily be a top 5 offense. Not to mention they have Matt Forte running the ball to open up the passing game.
2. Trade up in the first round of the draft to get CB Morris Claiborne. It will cost a first round pick and probably a second and third in the 2013 draft, but this all-american cornerback is worth it. This would solidify the other cornerback position. Along with Major Wright/Craig Steltz, Chris Conte, and, of course, Peanut Tillman, the Bears secondary might finally be stable for some years.
3. Sign DE Cliff Avril from free agency. 11 sacks, 6 forced fumbles, need I say more? With Peppers and Avril at defensive ends, and future stars Henry Melton and Stephen Paea at tackles, the Bears will have the scariest D-line in the NFL.
There's two things that people say over and over again, "Oh no! the bears have an 'aging defense'", and "the O-Line is terrible!" Frankly, both are mistakes. Sure Urlacher, Briggs, Tillman, and Peppers are seasoned veterans, but sign Avril and Claiborne, and they have virtually the youngest defense aside from those 4. And next year with Gabe Carimi and Chris Williams coming back(well, maybe, he always gets hurt), along with Garza, Spencer, and surprise player Edwin Williams, the line is pretty solid. Sure J'Marcus Webb is sketchy, but there isn't any depth at LT in this draft class, and they shouldn't waste a pick on the hope that a subpar linemen will develop into a star. Webb can hold it down for a year or two until the talent is available. Use the second round pick on an inside linebacker that will be Urlacher's successor.
For people who say the Bears shouldn't trade away picks and that that's the mistake Angelo made, are they really that bad off? They got their franchise QB from trading picks, why not get a franchise receiver and cornerback?
The Bears need to stop building for the future, and focus on the present. They went to NFC championship last year, started strong this year until injuries ruined the season. The tools are in place. Get those 3 players and a Super Bowl title is in grasp.