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Top Bears Targets - And why we may be better off missing on Rolle.

This is without a doubt one of the first years I can remember us being super active in free agency. We've been connected with no less than six players, have signed three, and may not be done yet. Free Agency is the life blood of a team that doesn't have any first day picks, and has holes to fill, but as we've all seen with the Washington Redskins free agency isn't a cure all, and still requires just as much talent evaluation as the draft. Big names don't always equate to big production, and good fits aren't always the right fit for you. Let's take a quick look together at why Antrel Rolle might not be the best for us, and who could be much better.

Antrel Rolle

  • Struggles in coverage at times
  • Doesn't have the ability to keep up with the fastest receivers in the league, which is why he no longer plays CB.
  • Turned down a contract that reportedly was to pay him 33 mil over 6 years, meaning that he's looking for at least 6 mil a year + signing bonus as the absolute rock bottom price, with his current asking price sitting around 8 million.
  • There is a distinct undercurrent in the league that he is somewhat the beneficiary of playing in a good secondary and would be further exposed if placed in one with some issues.

Now we have a few other options available to us right now, which is great since it appears everyone is balking at the 8 million price tag. There are a few other options that are either on the market right now, or could be on the market shortly.

Darren Sharper

  • Age is the primary concern with Sharper, coming it at 34 he likely only has a year or two of play at a high level left in him barring injury.
  • Extremely smart player, which is more important in the Bears defense than some others.
  • His high intelligence combined with being a complete player and veteran experience means some physical drop off will be recoverable by sheer guile and knowing where he needs to be.
  • His price tag is likely going to come in right around 12 or 13 million, with a front loaded bonus.
  • Because of his age, the Bears would still need to go after a FS in the draft to groom for the future.

O.J. Atogwe

  • The Rams have basically disrespected this guy in every way possible over the last two years, and have done again by giving him an absolutely awful tender offer.
  • The biggest downside with Atogwe is that he is coming off of an injury last year, but all reports say he is going to be in perfect health by the start of training camp.
  • While the Rams have the ability to match any offer we make, they are unlikely to match a high-end long term deal, as they wanted to avoid paying him in the first place which is why they didn't give him a higher tender. This isn't even getting into poison pill type scenarios.
  • Without a shadow of a doubt, this guy is the best fit for our team where it's at now. He was basically the only person of note on the entire Rams defense, and their absolute collapse once he went out just goes to show how good a player he actually is.
  • This guy is almost the definition of what the Bears look for in a FS, he is a definitive ball hawker who led the NFC with 8 ints in 2008, and just has a knack for coming up with the ball.

There are also a few also rans such as Ryan Clark who may end up hitting the wider market if negotiations with the Steelers fall through.

My personal opinion is that if we're going to be offering any Safety eight million a year it should be Atogwe, to me he's the only one deserving of that level of money and the only player I'd feel comfortable with locking down at the FS position for four to five years with that kind of money attached. Rolle may end up improving, as people say he still has upside, but if I want a tall safety who used to play corner but was too slow to play CB at the NFL level I'll take Myron Lewis with a fourth round pick and save around 7.5mil that can go elsewhere.