The Bears have a lot of holes on their defense to fill, that's no secret. With their change to a 3-4 under new defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, they have more needs than might otherwise have had.
The Bears defensive roster is currently constructed for a 4-3 defense and, as evidenced over the past two seasons, constructed poorly to do that.
However, greener pastures are ahead as Fangio and new head coach John Fox have a history of turning around defenses quickly. Granted that it's likely that the Bears will spend their first pick on a defensive player, the Bears will likely dip into the free agency pool in order to assist their defensive shift.
The Bears need an overhaul at linebacker where they've lacked playmakers, and haven't found any consistent young players either.
There are some good choices in the free agency class at OLB; check out the whole list from Spotrac and a list by team from NFL.com. I will be exploring more FA options for the Bears over the next couple of weeks.
The lists are in flux somewhat because franchise tags can be applied starting today.
For today I'm looking at Philadelphia Eagles OLB Brandon Graham.
Graham, a 2010 first round pick out of the University of Michigan hasn't necessarily lived up to the billing. He has 13 career starts in five seasons and just 17 sacks. Hardly world-beating numbers, so why should the Bears take a chance on such a disappointing player when they could try and get a guy like Jerry Hughes, or back up some Brink's trucks for Jason Worilds or (in the highly unlikely event he isn't tagged) Justin Houston?
Well that would be a pretty good reason.
Graham is 26, the same age as free agents Houston and Worilds but he is primed for a breakout. The Eagles may or may not tag him, but his asking price could be high.
The Bears may not be able to throw a $30 million contract at a pass rusher just one season removed from dumping money into Lamarr Houston and Jared Allen, but the team needs all the help it can get on D and Graham is scheme versatile and good against the run, too.
What do you think? Should Brandon Graham be an option for the Bears?