Once again we're in that situation close to the playofffs but no cigar, and we look into the future with renewed enthusiasm and curiosity about what waits in the path of our beloved Chicago Bears.
Emery made very clear, as if was even necessary to, that rebuild the defense is the main priority, Bears have the cap flexibility to do it, even without release or trades we would be roughly U$$ 50 millions under the Cap, i believe Bears is the 4th team with most cap space in the league.
Even after we signed Cutler, Slauson and Jennings, i believe we would be U$$ 20 millions under, i think we gonna need 4 million to sign rookies, that would leave 16 million to sign free agents, ours and new ones, it's not much considering the amount of Free Agents on the Defense, we need to free at least more 10 million to sign the free agents in our teams we wanna keep and bring reinforcements.
For Starters i think its unavoidable to release Peppers, i'm one of his big defenders i think he still can be a productive player in the league but not one that counts to 19 millions in the cap, unless he takes a pay cut close to the 10 million we can save by cut him that's the only way to go with the 10 millions you have enough to bring a premiere pass rusher, younger and save some cash.
Next in order of business is the release of Earl Bennett, he have a good rapport with Cutler and i like him, but he have 0 dead money and $2,450,000 can be saved by cut him, i don't think he is that important to our Offense, and we have younger players ready to take his place.
The same reason the next one to be cut would be Michael Bush, he have 2 millions of dead money but cut him would save close to 2 millions.
Brandon Marshall contract is due to count 9 millions against the cap, i would extend his contract, a little backloaded 5 years 48 millions, with 5 millions in the first year and improving from that, we could save more 4 millions by extending his contract.
Releasing Podlesh would save 1 million.
So just by releasing Peppers, Bennett, Podlesh and Bush and extending Marshall contract we would free up close to 18 millions with the 20 we would have 39 millions to spend in the off-season, 4 or 5 would go to the rookie pool making actually 34 million in FA.
First FA signing of the day would be Josh Mccown, 6 Millions contract with 3,5 guaranteed, cap numbers in 2014 2 million
Second: Nate Collins with the injury although i think he played fairly well i'm not ready to sing him to a long term deal and would sign him to a similar contract he came here, one year contract 1 million cap for 2014. (31 millions so far)
Jay Ratliff i would like for him to come back, but he is 32 and have an injury story i would sign him to the same contract as Nate Collins 1 million 1 year (30 millions)
Henry Melton: that's where gets complicated, Melton was before the injury a premiere DT in the league, aguarbly the best 3 Tech in a 4-3 D in football, he would make a lot of money if we signed him before the Franchise Tag, but now we don't know where he stands, we had a great 3Tech too that injured his knee and never was the same as before, but we can't give him veteran minimum either some other team we offer more just for the mere prospect he is, i would say 2 years contract 10 millions, performance bonus based, with a cap money in 2014 of 3 millions (27 millions)
Now it's where gets interesting with this money we could sign a premiere safety and an average pass rusher, or the other way around, we could sing the Best Safety in FA, i follow the line of thought that pass rush generate good cover and not the other way around, i think we should strike big in that department and go after the best pass rusher in FA.
My dream would be to drink for the same font we find Peppers and go after Greg Hardy, but i don't think the panthers will let him just walk, he gonna be franchised, so the second best opinion would be Michael Bennett is hard to guess his salary because he have average production for the DE position but is an all-around player, not flashy but not a liability, he also could give us a discount to play with his brother, my guess is 4 years 35 millions , 12 guaranteed, 8 millions per year , 7 millions cap number in 2014 ( 20 millions left)
Next in order of business is find a Safety that stabilize the position and also help stop the run, and that's my friends is TJ WARD, Browns could use the Franchise Tag on him but i think they gonna use the franchise on Alex Mack , TJ fits our Defense perfectly is a hard hitter with a nose for the ball and best against the run accordly to PFF, i think WARD will cost some but less than Jarius Byrd, 5 years 40 millions, 15 guaranteed 7 millions p/year Cap Numbers in 2014 9 millions ( 11 millions left)
Still need to address the LB situation both guys we singed this year are UFA, and Bostic and Greene in my opinion are still green, even if the Mccelling situation pans out and/or we go to a Hybrid D we still need depht in this position, i say go after Brandon Spikes he is kind of ok covering but he is a stud against the run, and would fit a Hybrid Defense perfectly - 5 Years 30 millions 10 guaranteed 5 millions cap number in 2014 (6millions)
Resign DJ Williams for the same contract he came here 1 million 1 year
Resign Garza 1 year 2 millions cap number in 2014
So that would leave us with 3 millions for emergence even after the rookie signs.
Even if all this would happen still need to get young in the Defense so the Draft would mostly be focused on the Defense with the eventual bargain on Offense if a player fall too much.
1st round 14th) Louis Nix, DT, Notre Dame
Height: 6-3. Weight: 340.
Projected 40 Time: 5.55.
Projected Round (2014): Top-20 Pick.
Here's a guy that can anchor a defense and draw constant double teams take the middle of the line and stop the bleeding in our Run Defense, and he fits both 4-3 and 3-4 Defenses he is nightmare to plan against, i know Emery loves agile athletic guys, but this is the case to get bigger and meaner on the D-line.
I know he had an injury but if we build enough depth in the DT position i'm ready to take the risk, intangibles are off the grid, he is a smart guy that could be a great addition to our locker room.
2nd round 50th) Scott Crichton*, DE, Oregon State
Height: 6-3. Weight: 260.
Projected 40 Time: 4.73.
Projected Round (2014): 1-3.
That's our next Alex Brown, when i see Scott Crichton i see Alex Brown reborn, in fact their measurable are nearly identical, he is a guy that don't have Clowney freakish athleticism but have a non stopping motor, terrific work ethic and his ceiling is not very big his floor is very high for a player coming out of college
3rd Round ) Bears select Calvin Pryor*, S, Louisville
Height: 6-2. Weight: 208.
Projected 40 Time: 4.53.
Projected Round (2014): 2-3.
Pryor is a big, phisical safety that don't get lost in bad angles, and has a nose for the ball in 3 seasons as a starter he had at least 2 INT and 2 forced fumbles in every season, i'm not giving up on our Safeties yet, but with TJ WARD and Calvin Pryor we would have intense competition and could field the best possible Safety combo
4th Round)Odell Beckham, Jr.*, WR, LSU
Height: 6-0. Weight: 187.
Projected 40 Time: 4.40.
Projected Round (2014): 2-3.
Addressing the offense a little in the 4th and with a little luck we could get a potential slot receiver, i know in our offense don't have the same use as this designation, and that Marshall many times align in the same place a slot receiver would do, but i still think we could use some speed to the offense and a guy that potentially could replace the likely gone Hester on punt duties.
5th round) Tyler Larsen, C, Utah State
Height: 6-4. Weight: 312.
Projected 40 Time: 5.16.
Projected Round (2014): 4-6.
Garza replacement, Larsen is the anchor of the Utah State offense line, played 3 years, was selected as 2nd team all-american the past season, and is an excellent run Blocker and more important for a center is a leader.
"Utah State actually evaluated him as carrying out the correct assignment on 97 percent of his snaps with four games at 100 percent"
6th round ) Keith McGill, CB, Utah
Height: 6-3. Weight: 205.
Projected 40 Time: 4.48.
Projected Round (2014): 4-6.
A guy that was probably headed for a 2nd round early 3rd round picks, missed the 2012 season with a shoulder injury, and wasn't exactly ubber productive in 2013, but the talent, size and speed is there.
6th round) with our own pick in the 6th Bears select Chris Davis, CB, Auburn
Height: 5-11. Weight: 200.
Projected 40 Time: 4.40.
Projected Round (2014): 5-7
I know i know, with all the hype after the Bama FG Return and his possible value as a returner he probably will be selected before, but i hope we could land him here in the 6th, more likely Hester replacement on return duties,