Phil Emery has never been a general manager before. Therefore, he has no clear track record, leaving room for the fans and media to speculate onto what he might do as the Bears head guy come draft and free agency. It's the million-dollar lingering question. We know what he has said, we know what's been said about him and we know what everyone thinks about but nobody KNOWS what he will do. Well I don't either, but, since in this social-media-driven world we live in of endless insight, insiders and rumor mills everyone seems to think they know the direction the team is going.
Plus, since there is no clear track record for Emery it's hard to really even draw comparisons or see trends from moves he's made in the past.The best part about writing for a fan blog is that I have the ability to walk the line between journalist and meathead. I can speculate with no objectivity. So, five days before free agency I am going to lay out what I would do if I were in charge of the Bears roster.
This and That
Back-up quarterback: Sign David Garrard. He's got a history with Mike Tice, so I talk to Mike and see if he likes the guy. If he does I sign him. He had that back injury and he isn't a great QB but he's serviceable and could succeed in a run-first offense. See if Josh McCown would be willing to be the third guy, otherwise bring back Nathan Enderle or a free agent for the third spot.
Tight end: Re-sign Kellen Davis and carry on. This is a weak draft class and free agent class for the position and Matt Spaeth and Davis can hold down the fort for one more year. Plus if Tyler Clutts is the real deal, as I think he showed last year, he can also take a little pressure off the TE group. Wait a year on this crew.
All right, in free agency I would aim to do the following:
1) Sign Mario Williams - For all the reasons Lester and Steven laid out over the last day, Williams would solve a huge hole, solidify the D-line and bring a great youth movement to the group. Paea, Melton and Williams for 10 years? Watch out NFL.
2) Do your best to sign Cortland Finnegan - OK, I am trying to be realistic here, it's probably not quite possible to fit a whole draft of players plus the guaranteed money of a Mario Williams deal AND the price of Matt Forte's franchise tag and then yet another high-priced free agent like Finnegan under the cap, especially when he's rumored to want somewhere north of $9.5 million/year. However, he would be worth the trouble if you could make the numbers work. Tim Jennings isn't cutting it, in my opinion. He's good enough but leaves something to be desired and Tillman isn't getting any younger.
3) Wait a few days and sign a second-tier WR like Laurent Robinson, Mario Manningham or Robert Meachem. Even if it takes a week, wait, be paitent, let the fans on WCG go nuts but wait until the price comes down. No doubt Vincent Jackson and Marques Colston are going to drive up the price and Manningham will look to cash in on his Super Bowl performance but if you wait them out you can get one for a good price. Any one of these guys would be an upgrade over Roy Williams and would lead into....
In round one I look for best available WR; Whether it's Kendell Wright, Michael Floyd or my personal favorite flavor-of-the-week, Stephen Hill. One of these guys paired with the second-tier free agent signing I proposed above solves our issues at the position for the foreseeable future. Admit it, Wright and Robinson sounds a lot better than V. Jackson and Bennett/Knox.
I will concede that there is a good chance that the team misses out on Mario Williams. In this case I change round one priority from WR to best available WR/DE. In round two I go best available of what wasn't taken in the 1st, CB or LT. In round three I look for best available of the remaining positions, in the rest of the draft I target a good center/guard prospect, a DT, another WR (if the right one is available), and just overall the best available player, even if it's a RB or QB, BAP rounds 4-7. This team could use any of those, really.
And that would be it. I believe this is what Emery should do, not that he will. I would be very satisfied if just one-third of these moves worked out.
Now; what would you do if you were Emery?