The Bears have been active through the opening days of free agency and, while they haven't issued any megabucks super deals or signed the big-named superstars that have been out there, there is little doubt that the Bears have gotten better over the past 72 hours.
The Bears have signed Lamarr Houston, Willie Young, Ryan Mundy, M.D. Jennings, Domenik Hixon and Jordan Senn while re-signing D.J. Williams.
Additionally they've cut Julius Peppers, Michael Bush and Dante Rosario, only to re-sign Rosario again last night, after having originally re-signed him a couple weeks ago.
It's been a busy few days for Bears fans, as well as the organization itself. The Bears have been rumored and reported to have been in discussions with Michael Bennett and Jared Allen. So no one can say that Phil Emery isn't trying.
The dust has settled a little bit with the first initial wave of free agency having passed and now things slow down a little bit as teams continue to adjust their rosters, stay under the cap, and host second and third-tier free agents. The Bears have more needs and wants and will likely continue to monitor and negotiate with players, both their own and others.
But as it stands right now, how have the Bears done?
I would give them a sold B+. I think that the moves have certainly made the defense better and, while they aren't the big names some had hoped for, I think they got good players who are scheme fits and will give the team something they lacked last year, while not risking having salary cap hell down the road.
Argue over whether the team overpaid Houston but the deal is way less than what Michael Johnson got from Tampa Bay and, on a yearly average, less than Michael Bennett got for re-signing with Seattle. The Bears needed to overpay to get their guy - every team overpays on day one of free agency - and it will shore up the Bears' defensive line to have a guy who is equal parts pass rusher and run stuffer. To me this signing is a B+
Young should add some pass rushing ability that Houston may lack, even if he lacks in the sacks department too. Pro Football Focus tweeted out a handy chart that shows what Young and Houston bring compared to who the Bears had last year. A
Mundy and Jennings aren't spectacular and arguably are, at best, slight upgrades but they could be competing with a high draft pick and competition breeds success, so it's not a bad thing to have. C
Adding Hixon and Senn should help a special teams unit that was down by recent Bears standards last year. Hixon could replace Devin Hester, Eric Weems, Earl Bennett or a combination of those three (or none of them). B
The Bears don't get an A from me for the lack of signing CB depth or a true pass rusher with the gaudy stats. Maybe that's just the meatball in me though. Overall I like the moves but I try to keep the outlook that it could always be better.
But now I turn it over to you, how do you grade the Bears' moves so far? Choose your overall grade in the poll and comment with your grade for each individual signing.