It would be fair to say that Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Pace is slow-playing his first free agency period. Some fans are worried that the Bears are missing out on the top level talents available, while others understand the process and realize that the best teams in the NFL aren't always the most active in free agency.
Take a look at the last seven Super Bowl champions; New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks, Baltimore Ravens, New York Giants, Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints and Pittsburgh Steelers. None of those teams really featured impact free agents signees, they were all teams that generally built through the draft, while plugging small holes with free agency. For the most part, the truly active teams in free agency are left scrambling year after year to catch up with the teams that draft well.
The Bears are in a weird place defensively, because they are transitioning to a 3-4 after a lifetime spent in a 4-3 D. Adding outside linebacker Pernell McPhee to a near $40 million deal was something that needed to be done. There's was no one on the returning roster capable of doing what McPhee has proven he could do: play as a stand up 3-4 OLB and get after the quarterback.
Safety has been a sore spot for the Bears for a decade, so signing veteran Antrel Rolle as a stopgap at the position was a must. His addition will give the Bears a little time to draft and develop a starting caliber player.
Wide out Eddie Royal brings a dynamic the Bears' offense hasn't had since, well, ever. Earl Bennett was the last inside "slot" type wide receiver the Bears had, but he wasn't the athlete that Royal is and his production wasn't what Royal is capable of.
For more on Eddie Royal, check out this Fanpost by long time WCG'er ECD.
Offensive guard Vlad Ducasse is a tough nosed competitor that will add depth to Chicago's o-line, long snapper Thomas Gafford was a need signing and he has a brief history with The Mann, and tight end Dante Rosario is a solid piece to keep keep around.
As far as free agent hauls go, some teams have made much bigger splashes, but I was reminded about a few other signings over the weekend while perusing Twitter.
Head Coach John Fox, offensive coordinator Adam Gase, defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, offensive line coach Dave Magazu and defensive backs coach Ed Donatell. While not players, this group of coaches have a track record of success and professionalism that the franchise desperately needed.
There are only two rumors floating around about the Bears lately.
Now it seems that inside linebacker Mason Foster is down to two teams.
Barring a late suitor, it appears it's down to the Bears or Chargers for Seaside's Mason Foster. The holdup could be length of contract— John Devine (@JohnJDevine) March 22, 2015
Three, if we're to believe this report that Foster is still thinking about San Francisco.
Foster would be a definite upgrade at the Mike ILB spot for Fangio's 3-4 defense, but it has to be at the right price.
The Bears also seem to be in on a defensive end.
Hearing that former Redskins DE Jarvis Jenkins is in talks with the Bears. Working to confirm how deep the negotiations are at this moment.— Jayson Braddock (@JaysonBraddock) March 23, 2015
Jenkins is a 6'4", 309 pound defensive lineman with 33 starts as a 3-4 defensive end the last three years. His stats are nothing to get really excited about, but he's still relatively young (27 in a month) and a change of scenery could do him well.
What are your thoughts of free agency so far?