The excitement and the anticipation is no doubt killing some of us around here, including me. I love free agency. It's one of the biggest and best times of the NFL machine. I found and joined this blog during free agency several years ago, back when there was only one or two writers. I think free agency is like Christmas; you never know what teams are going to get, how big the present will be or if there will even be a present, meaning there is always room for the proverbial home-made socks of disappointment (aka Frank Omiyale in '09). The draft is slightly different, you see it all play out, you see how it falls, you know who you want your team to get and you watch the clock countdown. There is a better idea of what happens in the draft, it's more like New Years Eve. There really isn't much else like NFL free agency.
Anyway, as we all wait for 4 pm EST Tuesday, I am going to take a look at some guys the Bears should kick the tires on if the big-name guys they want can't be had.
Bears fans want Vincent Jackson, the Bears, supposedly, want Vincent Jackson, Bears fans also want Mario Williams, Carl Nicks, Marques Colston or any number of guys. However, these guys are all highly sought after and will come at a very high price. In all likelihood the Bears will only be able to get one of these 1A-high-priced guys. This means the team may have to settle. Much like that one night when the football team swept through the bar you were at and took all the hot chicks with them, the Bears may have to look at the slightly chubby girl or the one who won't shut up about her cat.
But, the great thing about free agency is, there are bargains to be had. With all the high-priced guys getting all the attention and guaranteed dollars of the Redskins, the Bears can swoop in and grab some low-tier, lesser-known dudes and fill talents gaps in the process, here are some of those guys:
NOTE: I used this PFF article for reference on a lot of these guys so refer to it when you see me mention PFF.
Now this is one position that has been talked about ad nauseam, everyone knows that the draft class and the free agent class at receiver are deep. If the Bears miss out on Jackson or Colston they can still make out like bandits. On Friday I proposed the Bears look at the second-tier guys to compliment a draft pick next month. I think that's the best and most cost-effective method of solving the receiver deficiencies. Here are some of the guys to think about:
Laurent Robinson: At 6'2" he's pretty much at the threshold of what Jay Cutler and most Bears fans are looking for, but he was a TD machine for the Cowboys last year. His career got off to a slow start but last year he kind of broke out and could be a great addition when paired with a draft pick.
Plaxico Burress: As much as fans talked about him last year I completely forgot about him. Sure he's old but at least he's a bit more of a known-commodity this time around. He caught 45 passes last year, not great, but 8 TDs. He can still be a huge redzone threat and for a most guarantee plus some incentive money I'd take him.
Robert Meachem: To me, I haven't been as high on this guy as some others and he seems like a one-trick pony. He can break a long one but isn't the best "look for him in almost any situation" guy. His season high in catches last year was five, which eh accomplished twice but again, if he was a compliment to a more physical type draft pick he could be gold.
Jeremy Mincey: Who? A Jags DE who has eight sacks last year. He's 28 but could be lost in the fold with all the Mario Williams talk and be a steal.
Anthony Spencer: Wildly inconsistent for much of his career, he could benefit from a guy like Hot Rod Marinelli coaching him. It's worked with Amobi Okoye.
Ben Grubbs: Mentioned around WCG quite a bit, he could be had for a good price and could be a good stop-gap at guard.
Evan Mathis: A good center who is 30 but could solidify the position for the Bears and allow Garza to slide back over to guard.
Chris Myers: Injury prone over his career, but played in 15 games in '11.
Geoff Schwartz: Another Panther you might say, but PFF graded him out positively and he played bother guard and tackle.
David Hawthore: He's injury-prone which could drive down his cost. The Bears are already rumored to be interested, as seen in today's Den.
Phillip Wheeler: A Colt who is ofter overlooked by Pat Angerer and Gary Brackett but he's a good run-stopped and PFF is high on him.
Dan Conner: he's looking to get out of Beason's spotlight so he could look for somewhere other than the shadow of Briggs and Urlacher.
William Middleton: This site has him ranked two spots above Tim Jennings on their top 50 free agents and he's younger than Jennings by three years.
Chris Carr: The "other" Carr will be considerably cheaper than Brandon Carr but PFF seems to think he's pretty good despite falling on the depth chart in '11.
John Carlson: He missed all of last season after that nasty head injury against the Bears in the divisional round so he'll come cheap and he's got some upside.
Joel Dressen: He's got plenty of upside for a guy stuck behind Owen Daniels, plus he's only 29. PFF calls him a well-rounded TE.
Anyone you want to see the Bears get or anyone I missed?