Chicago Bears 2014 FULL Off-season Preview**UPDATED SALARY CAP & SIGNINGS**

Season Review:

****UPDATE UPDATE NFL SALARY CAP TO INCREASE TO $133 million, $4.7 million over my projection, which was $2 million above the consensus in December****

Head Coach: Marc Trestman

General Manager: Phil Emery

Last Season's Overview: 8-8. 2nd in NFC North

QB(s): Spectacular, check out the QBR and how they handled the ball and limited the sacks. It was more on them then the O-Line

HB(s): Best since Walter Payton Running/Receiving, Need better pass pro

FB: Average blocking (Much Better on edge, then point of attack)

WR(s): Best Season All-Time for Jefferey and Marshall. Watch out for Wilson, the bears WILL NOT go receiver in the draft or pick up a slot. Wilson will be spectacular next year, watch out.

TE: Great Receiving from Martellus, but a slide in blocking from last year with NYG, Rosario Good blocking

OT: Worse then you think, Jordan Mills got destroyed all Season Except 2-3 games in Pass Pro, Jermon Bushrod was an average Pass Blocker, Did very well on the edge on sweep plays

OG: Matt Slauson should have been a pro bowler, not Kyle Long. Long missed on several assignments, showed promise on the inside run game

OC: Best season thus far, Did his job and kept the rookies in check. TOP 15 center this year. Needed to work on short term run game.

DT: Injury of Henry Melton was important, Nate Collins too. The issue was our training camp as I will discuss later. Paea Took a step back and maybe out. Landen Cohen was the worst Defensive Tackle per play in the history of the bears. I think Jay Ratliff is worth keeping, he will provide significant value with a full offseason and does not have alot of tread on his tires though he will be 33. **Major Draft Watch Here**

DE: Corey Wotton performed strongly against the run in the beginning of the season, then the Bears made the worst move of all-time by moving him inside in favor of Shea McClellin. Who in my mind was a terrible draft pick, had no fit in our scheme, passed up on players that could have made a difference (Chandler Jones). McClellin will fail at LB, Emery is moving him so he becoming strictly a special teams players and maybe a situational pass rushing from the middle on stunts.DO NOT think he is being moved to start, Bostic is being moved to Will. **Major FA watch alert here**

LB: James Anderson performed well in game 1, then teams figured him out, and turned out to be a terrible Veteran. Williams hurt more then anyone could have imagined (though he played average), Bostic isn't a middle line backer as Emery was quick to qutoe, and when briggs got hurt, Bostic showed he couldn't be a signal caller. **Major Draft Watch Alert here**

CB: Tim Jennings was the exact opposite of James Anderson, Game 1 for him was awful, the rest of the season he was underrated in what he did. Charles Tillman was great, his impact in terms of punching out the ball can't be accounted for. Players cringe in the open field when around him and if it weren't for a few bounces his play would have resulted in more TO's. Isiah Frey was beat almost every time the ball went to him. He has potential he just needs to come out of his breaks faster if he isn't going to play physical in the nickel. **Major Draft Watch Here**

S: Major Wright made plays when we were full strength, significant game changing plays, When we weren't well he struggled. Chris Conte has effort and was in position to make interceptions....of which he dropped 3-4. His Tackling was non-existent at times, showing his unwillingness to lay the hammer, as he tried to lunge to make tackles. **Major FA watch for SS, Draft Watch for FS**

K: 3rd best All-Time

P: Very Bad

2014 February/March Internal:

Salary Cap # will be $126.3 million, with the possibility of rising up to $128.3 million due to a clause in the new CBA. The Bears will likely spend all of it. Bears Currently have $14.8 million

QB: Josh McCown This one is tough, I see him testing free agency but signing before the end of July. 3 year deal to backup Cutler during the years of his guaranteed money. Lets say 3 Years $10 Million. 2014 Cap Hit- $2.5 million, Bears use the Automatic Conversion Clause to free up atleast $9 million. This makes his cap hit $ $13 +1.5= $14.5 million this year

RB: Micheal Bush is released, Cap Savings: $1.85 million in cap savings, which ultimately will go to another free agent.

WR: Bears will Retain Eric Weems (Special Teams) and Marques Wilson will be next year's slot. (He was a projected late 1-2 going into his senior year, the bears loved him and so do I, and he it working at fitspeed with Marshall and Jefferey in Miami). He will come back better and heavier next year. Earl Bennett will be cut saving $2.45 million.

TE: Rosario was a good addition this year, he played well and blocked well. We gave up a 7 to go get him, I could see us bringing him back for the minimum.

OT: Eben Britton's versatility played his way into a new deal. Johnathon Scott most likely will not return. Joe Long will be brought into training camp.

OG: James Brown will be brought into training camp.

OC: Believe Garza Is Gone(wrong)***Garza staying for one year***, boggs will be brought into training camp (correct)

DT: Henry Melton this and that, and in the end he will be brought back before free agency starts. Phil Emery knows his importance to the team. I would imagine we sign him to a 3 year $15 million deal if he so wishes to receive that with a cap hit of $3.5-4 million, I believe it will be highly incentive based too, so that cap # could be lower. Ratliff should come back for a 2 year $3-3.5 million deal, he filled in well out of shape and no notice. Nate Collins also could come back, but he would be a training camp decision after the injury.

DE: I just don't see anyway Peppers Comes back. $$ wise we could restructure and save $6.5 million but then that just puts the burden onto next years contract. The only way to bring him back would be a cut and the possibility of earning some back via incentives. Corey Wotton should come back, he plays really well against the run as an end, decent against the pass rush and could play a hybrid D-tackle $1 million for him. Cheta will be brought into training camp. and Cornelius Washington will certaintly get a good shot.

LB: James Anderson is gone, GONE. Worst run defending veteran SAM LB in the league. No leadership either, their is a reason Ron Rivera let him go from the Panthers. DJ Williams I see as not being picked up either. . Bostic again will be moved to the outside. Blake Costanzo will be here next year around the vet minimum.

CB: Unfortunately Tillman knew he was gone after the last game of the season. Hayden is gone(wrong) ***Hayden signed for one year.. McMannis will be brought back to training camp.***UPDATE** Peanut announced he will retire a bear, does that mean a 1 day contract after he is done, will he retire now like Urlacher did, or does that hint him and the bears are close to a deal.....interesting. I think you have to allocate atleast $2 million to him if he does stay, right now I am still a leaning no for his return unless it is to safety.

S: Major Wright is a dilemma. I can not say if he will be brought back, as he had a bad year last year towards the end. I would assume the bears would cut ties with him and injury-riddled Anthony Walter, but bring back Craig Stelz.

K (KR): Nothing Here, I'll bet Hester will be attempted to be brought back for $1.5 million per year...he DOES NOT want to leave chicago and he showed last year he is worth every penny. Anybody who says otherwise doesn't know the importance of football. 2012 he was down but last year he showed up, minus the fumble in the Philly game.

P: Podlesh will be dropped saving $1 million and we will sign another punter

Final Result Before Free Agency:

Cuts: $12.5 million

Conversion: $9 million ($7.5 million in savings), Extra ($2.5 conversion from Slauson, Gould)= $10 million in savings

Current Re-signings: $2.5 QB + 620,00 TE+ 620,00 OT + 4 DT + 1.3 DT + 1 DE + 620,000 LB + 620,000 CB + 1.5 KR.= $12.8

Pre-Acqusition Depth Chart and needs

QB: Cutler, McCown

RB: Forte, Ford, (Open))

FB: Fiametta

WR: Marshall, Jefferey, WIson, Weems, (Open) , (Training Camp)

TE: Bennett, Rosario

OT: Bushrod, Britton, Mills, (Open)

OG: Slauson, Long, (Open), (Training Camp G/T)

OC: Garza, (Training Camp)

DT: Melton, Paea, Ratliff, (Open DT "1 tech"), (Open)

DE: Wooton, Washington, (Open DE 1), (Open DE 2), (Training Camp)

LB: Greene, Costanzo, Briggs, Bostic, McClellin, (Open ILB 1)

CB: Jennings, Hayden, Frey, (Open CB 1 "Big"), (Open), (Training Camp)

S: Conte, Stelz, (Open FS 1), (Open SS 1?)

K: Gould

P: (Open)

KR: Hester

33 signed and 20 more to go (18 on the salary cap, 7 presumably draft picks), leaves 11 UFA and undrafted Rookies

Remaining Cap: $14.8 million current cap+ $12.5 in cuts + $10 million in Cutlers Automatic Conversion Clause - $12.8 in re-signings=

$24.5 Million- $5.5 Millions for Rookies= $19 million for Roster Spots (11 count against cap)

2014 Free Agency

Phil Emery vouches Pass Rush!

Micheal Bennett- profile from Walter Football and PFF

Michael Bennett, DE, Seahawks. Age: 28.
Michael Bennett signed a 1-year "prove it" deal this past offseason because he was coming off an injury. The gamble paid off, as Bennett registered 8.5 sacks while being a dominant force against the run, as usual. Letting Bennett go was one of the many reasons why Mark Dominik was fired as Tampa Bay's general manager. PFF Rating Below

Name Age 2013 Team 2014 Team Rating Snaps

Michael Bennett 28 SEA UFA 24.2 617

Micheal will Sign with the Bears for 4 years $26 million, His 2014 Cap hit will be $4 million, Leaving $19.3 in Free Space

Lamarr Houston- profile from Walter Football and PFF

Lamarr Houston, DE, Raiders. Age: 27.
Lamarr Houston, the Raiders' best player, is a strong pass-rusher and is even better at shutting down the run. He'll only be 27 in June, so he deserves a massive contract.

Name Age 2013 Team 2014 Team Rating Snaps

Lamarr Houston 27 OAK UFA 11.4 1049

Being one year younger the bears give him a 5 year $22 million deal, slightly less production, his 2014 Cap number comes in at $3 million leaving the Bears with $16.3 million left.

No Safety with this man screaming around, help the running game

Donte Whitner, S, 49ers. Age: 29. (3 1/2 stars)***UPDATE

Name Age 2013 Team 2014 Team Rating Snaps

Donte Whitner 29 SF UFA 11.5 1033

Bernard Pollard 29 TEN UFA 3.4 1077

I believe it comes down to these two strong safeties from which Whitner's price get bid up and the Bears pick up Pollard for 3 years $9 million. His Cap hit is $3 million.***UPDATE**** Bears make this a big priority and sign whitner to 3 year 13 million. $4 million cap hit Bringing the Bears cap to $12.3 million.

The $12.3 Million will go to players who will have a decent to minimal splash in UFA market (keep in mind the bears MAY NOT do any conversions due to the increase in the salary cap). These 7 players after rookies to fill the roster look for former bears to fight for spots with undrafted FA's. AND This extra $$$ is for if the bears decide to trade future picks for draft picks this year.


The Bears now have solved multiple issues, they now have an enforcer in the middle of the field in Donte Whitner. They have secured two pass rushers. Also they have resigned Melton and Ratliff bringing freedom to the 3 tech and still have Stephen Paea who struggled last year.On Draft Day they come in with 3 wishes, and some wiggle room. They would like to get a Defensive Tackle who can play the one tech eating up blocker. They would also like to draft a Bigger Corner back to play up the Bigger Receivers. And Finally adding a safety to challenge Chris Conte for a starting spot.

Round 1 (#14) Player Currently on the Board

1/3 techTimmy Jernigan

1 tech/ nose Louis Nix III

ILB CJ Mosley

CB Justin Gilbert

3/5 tech Stephon Tuitt

1/3/5 tech Rashede Hageman

GIVEN THESE options I think the bears would choose Louis Nix III.

This is because he provides a nose tackle in hybrid fronts and is a true run stuffing 1-tech that will suck up blocks for our younger LB's. A trade back is VERY possible given the amount of players still available.

**Nix reminds me of Wilfork but much lighter on his feet, while Jernigan is a Tommie Harris type.**

Round 2 (#51) Players Currently on the board

CB Louichez Purifoy

CB Stanley-Jean Baptist

S Lamarcus Joyner

S Dion Bailey

CB Bradley Roby

I personally think Phil Emery will go with Bradley Roby at this spot, he is fast and 6-0 with playmaking abilities kind of like Richard Sherman. He would have gone top-15 if he didn't have a bad year.

ROUND 3 Bears MOVE UP to #69 giving up their 3 #82 and a 5 #144

ILB Shane Skov

ILB Chris Borland

ILB Yawin SmallWood

They could go either way here but I believe they will ultimately select Shane Skov. He was outstanding at Stanford despite injuries and can lead a team and a defense. He would fit perfectly into our defense.

Round 4 #113- Time for a safety

The Bears have one man on their mind to challenge Chris Conte and that is Jimmie Ward out of Northern Illinois.

Round 6 167 & 175(2 picks) **one gets traded to the 49ers**

The Bears pick up a RB in storm Johnson from UCF, powerful and shifty the former top recruit fills in nicely behind forte

The 49ers acquire the Bears #175 for #218 & #219

The Bears Select Aaron Colvin with 218 who tore his ACL

The Bears Select James Gayle DE with the 219 pick


QB: Cutler, McCown

RB: Forte, Johnson, Ford

FB: Fiametta

WR: Marshall, Jefferey, WiIson, Weems, (Training Camp) , (Training Camp)

TE: Bennett, Rosario

OT: Bushrod, Britton, Mills, (Training Camp)

OG: Slauson, Long, (VET FA), (Training Camp G/T)

OC: Garaza, ("Boggs"Training Camp)

DT: Melton, Nix III, Paea, Ratliff, (Training Camp)

DE: Bennett, Houston, Wooton, Washington, Gayle

LB: Briggs, Skov, Bostic, McClellin, Greene, Costanzo,

CB: Jennings, Roby, Bowman, Frey, Colvin**Injured**, (Training Camp)

SS: Whitner, Stelz,

FS: Conte, Ward

K: Gould


KR: Hester

It is impossible to predict who will make the squad from here, the team will bring in vets and rookie alike, more rookies then vets preferably due to the lower cap number they will take on. This roster through renovations and changes is completely YOUNGER and remade on the defensive side of the ball. The bears need proven defensive linemen which why Bennett, Houston are important at defensive end and the re-signing of Melton is huge for Defensive Tackle. Donte Whitner provides a force in the middle of the defense and we will finally see Bostic in a position he is more comfortable in. Shane Skov is NFL ready after starting from his freshman year and is use to adjusting plays from the middle. Ward should challenge Conte, I am not sure who would win there. Conte reminds me of Tim Jennings, everyone was throwing him out of town.....he signed a two year deal and rewarded us with two pro bowls. The challenge from Jimmie Ward will be intriguing. I also believe Storm Johnson could be a valuable, valuable asset down in the Red Zone.

<em>This FanPost was written by a Windy City Gridiron member, and does not necessarily reflect the ideas or opinions of its staff or community.</em>

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