Yesterday, Brad Biggs broke the news that not only was current Bears' GM Phil Emery speaking with player representatives (agents) from around the league, but spoke with one notable agent in particular, Todd France. He represents a few notable names, both professional players and current draft prospects. These names, as well as possibilities and perhaps clues as to what Phil Emery plans on doing in the off-season, will all be discussed after the jump.
First, a little description of Todd France himself. He is one of the most respected players' agents that there is in the NFL. His agency, France All Pro Athlete Management, represents a rather impressive list of players including Takeo Spikes, Ray Rice, and Vernon Davis. Yet, it's not those names that will intrigue Bears fans, rather, it's these two known professional names: Wide Receivers Dwayne Bowe and Eddie Royal. He also "chooses" two first rounders per year, and this year those names are Oklahoma State WR Justin Blackmon and Mississippi State DT/DL Fletcher Cox. All 4 of the latest players listed could interest the Bears in some way. It is absolutely unknown at the time as to what the exact business that was spoken of between Phil Emery and Todd France was, but, each player comes with their respective possibilities. Lets break those down.
With Dwayne Bowe and Eddie Royal comes the hint Emery may be seeking to land at least 1 if not 2 notable WRs in FA to overhaul a talent starved receiving corps abused by former Bears GM Jerry Angelo for all those years. To many fans around the league, it comes as zero surprise that Phil Emery has met with the agent for Dwayne Bowe, given that not only do the Bears desperately need a good WR, but Phil Emery knows Dwayne Bowe on a personal level. Now, Dwayne Bowe seems unlikely at this point, given the fact that the Chiefs not only have their franchise tag available as well as primed, but also the revelation the Chiefs have somewhere in the neighborhood of $37 million in cap space. So, that may be the end of that, unless something that is nothing short of shocking occurs. With that taken care of, let's now change our focus towards Eddie Royal. He's not a #1 by any accounts; however, when paired with Brandon Marshall and Jay Cutler in 2008, he was a formidable option in the then 3rd ranked passing game in the NFL. He hasn't been the same since Jay was traded to the Bears in 2009, yet he still is a decent option to add into our extremely shallow receiving corps. Anything can happen with either player, and both can still somehow wind up in the FA market. If it has been confirmed as Biggs points it out to be where Emery has already met with the agent for these two players, then I'm going ahead and declaring that one, if not both, are being targeted by Phil Emery and the Bears. His top draft prospects could entice the Bears as well.
Phil Emery has stated he intends on gradually building the Bears' roster through the draft, and it happens to be such the case where one of France's draftees in considered the top receiver in the draft, one Justin Blackmon. How in the world is a top 5-10 pick intriguing to the Bears who select at 19th overall, one will ask? Some time ago, a Bucs fan stopped by on WCG and laid to claim on a radio station in his respective area, came the "fact" that the Bears were mentioned as a team that is interested in trading up in the draft with the Bucs, who sit at 5th overall. There was no link provided when asked, though, so I will not list that as a viable source. This reported meeting with his agent could change everything. Again, the Bears need to seriously boost their receiving corps, and (almost) all options should be considered. Just this past draft the Atlanta Falcons sold the barn to trade up in order to draft WR Julio Jones in the early 1st round. Any trade up will cost a considerable amount of compensation in the form of draft picks for the Bears, but all these coincidences are just too much to ignore. Maybe, just maybe, the Bears will defy the odds and pull off a fantastic trade that results in the Bears drafting Justin Blackmon. I have doubts this will ever happen, but a possibility? This perhaps could be such a possibility to fathom. And, last but certainly not least, his other notable draftee: Fletcher Cox.
DL, in particular DE, is considered a top need for the Bears, where it will be more beneficial to draft a great pass rusher in the 1st round than to try and out-compete everyone else in FA for Mario Williams and/or Cliff Avril and/or Robert Mathis. Why am I about to talk about a DT instead of a DE, where DT is not nearly as much of a need? Why add a first rounder into a rotation featuring Henry Melton, Stephen Paea, and probably Amobi Okoye? For these reasons: We need pass rushers, and we need to continue adding talent along the entire DL, including DT. Also, Amobi Okoye is no guarantee to return, and Anthony Adams may not return as well. That leaves us with 2 proven DTs, and no consistent NT type player. Plus, the Detroit Lions decided to go back-to-back drafts selecting a DT with their first pick in each draft ( Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley), and will anyone here dare to question their pass rush? It never hurts to fortify a strength, especially if it also helps another need. In saying all this, I personally wouldn't go DT in round 1 (as soon y'all shall see in my next mock), but Fletcher Cox is too good to ignore. His stock is on the rise, given his current size (6'4", 295 lbs) and consistent performances both in pass rushing and against the run. What's more impressive is that he has the frame to easily add 10-15 more pounds in the NFL, and that he's only scratched the surface of his potential. The Bears could be searching for another player to compliment everyone in the current corps with a proven run-stuffer that can provide a little extra in the pass rush, along with adding some beef to fit in with Emery's belief that this is a big man's sport. Fletcher Cox fits that description, as well as this scheme, beautifully. We have an elite DE in Julius Peppers, perhaps we could copy the Lions and add another presence in the interior of that line to open up opportunities for both Peppers and the adjacent DE. After all, we need pass rushers, and well...Fletcher Cox is all that, and then some.
All these scenarios, and perhaps many others not thought of or mentioned, could all be real in their respective ways. What do y'all want to happen, and what do y'all think? Vote and Sound Off WCG!