Phil Emery had a serious test coming into this season - the Matt Forte situation unresolved, a team with needs in multiple various parts just a year removed from the NFC Championship Game - and to be honest, I was leery of how he'd respond in his first free agency as the Bears' general manager.
But as far as the results of the first two days of free agency, things are looking pretty good so far. It's early, but I feel a little more at ease about the future of the Bears in Emery's hands.
First off, I'll agree defensive end is a huge need, but the Bears had to have an answer at receiver, and trading two third round picks for Brandon Marshall gives them a legitimate receiver without shelling out huge Vincent Jackson (or hey, even Laurent Robinson) money. The receiver market is crazy right now, and Marshall will probably want a restructure/new deal in his final year, but for now, the Bears get a very solid number one receiver at just north of nine million, and didn't give up a ton to get it.
Second, Emery took solid care of the special teams units by mixing in a decent kick returner in Eric Weems and San Francisco special teams standout Blake Costanzo. Weems isn't a guy that will (or should) headline a receiving corps, but as a returner, his career 25.6 average is just a shade below Johnny Knox's.
Emery also made a priority out of filling the backup quarterback hole exposed after last season, with Jason Campbell and Josh McCown both signing. This might push Nathan Enderle off the roster onto the practice squad, which is fine if the Bears don't feel he's ready for 2012-13 - they should be in no danger of losing him. Plus, it's two guys with starting experience - I'm honestly a little surprised Campbell didn't stay on the market longer to push for a starter job.
The only thing that initially had me scratching my head is Kellen Davis' contract - I thought it might be a little much. But, there isn't exactly a whole lot out there in the tight end market - the headliners are, who, John Carlson and Visanthe Shiancoe? Right. If someone wanted to overpay Davis and the Bears wanted to keep him rather than bring in Shiancoe, and six million was the asking price, so be it.
All in all, I feel like Emery gets it. He chose to prioritize his holes and try to fill them as best he can - recall Jeremy Mincey almost signed with the Bears before he went back to Jacksonville. If he'd signed as a Bear, that'd be the two biggest needs filled, with a few resignings, some decent special teams additions and solid plugging of the backup quarterback position. And the best part is, there's still time to work.
So what are your guys' thoughts on free agency so far?