Shea McClellin - free agent - I wonder how McClellin would have fared had Lovie Smith put him as a 4-3 Sam OLB as a rookie and allowed him to rush the passer on occasion? He clearly wasn't a fit as a 4-3 defensive end, but I thought he showed promise when he was moved to SOLB in 2014. As an inside linebacker last year, the best thing I can say about his play is that he wasn't awful. He also wasn't very good, but for some reason defensive coordinator Vic Fangio liked the way he quarterbacked his defense.
I can't see anyone offering McClellin much more than a veteran minimum deal as a 5th year pro. Partly because he's never proven to be a good football player, but also because he's never played a 16 game season. Someone will take a chance on his athleticism as reserve and a special teamer, I'd just rather it not be the Bears.
Christian Jones - signed through 2016 - Depending on how many new faces show up in Chicago to play ILB in 2016, I could see the Bears asking the 6'3", 240 pound Jones to move to outside linebacker. He's a solid athlete and he has special teams experience, so he'll have a chance to make the team with a good camp and preseason.
Jonathan Anderson - signed through 2016 - Anderson seemed to have a nose for the ball in preseason, and for an UDFA, I thought he played well in his 3 starts and 11 games in 2016. His first action came in week 6 and he had an interception against the Lions in a surprise start. In a November game against the Chargers he had 12 tackles and on the season he had 36 tackles and a couple passes defended. I likehim as a back up Jack ILB moving forward.
John Timu - signed through 2017 - Timu played in 7 games last year and like fellow UDFA Anderson, he also had 3 starts. His starts came in the last 3 games of the 2015 season and he had 23 tackles and 2 fumble recoveries in those games. I like him as a back up Mike ILB moving forward.
Lamin Barrow - signed through 2016 - Barrow played in 67.6% of the Bears' special teams snaps last year so he'll at the very least be in camp fighting for a job.
LaRoy Reynolds - free agent - When the Bears make some additions to this position group, I doubt there will be any room to bring back Reynolds.
You voted and ILB is the top need for the Chicago Bears, vote on the #2 need
Last week we asked you to decide which position was the Chicago Bears biggest need this off season. You voted, and inside linebacker won by a wide margin. Be sure to vote in the poll below for Chicago's number two need and we'll look at that position in detail next time out.
2016 OUTLOOK - The Bears need two new starting inside linebackers. I like the upside for both Anderson and Timu, but you can't go into camp with these two as options A and B. The Rams just cut ILB James Laurinaitis, and while his career was spent as a MLB in s 4-3, he could fit as a 2 down thumper in the Bears 3-4 defense as the Mike.
But the guy at the top of most ILB wish lists is Denver's Danny Trevathan. His familiarity with Chicago head coach John Fox is nice, but he's a young (25 years old) ascending player that would fill a need for the Bears.
The Bears have been mocked a few linebackers at number 11 in the upcoming draft, but a guy that woudl be intriguing in the 2nd round is Kentrell Brothers or Missouri. He was a tackling machine in college playing at the Will in a 4-3, but many scouts feel he's a fit at the Mike in a 3-4.
I would love to see the Bears add a talented rookie this offseason, but they also need to add an experienced and good. free agent. I'm excited to see how Vic Fangio's defense will come together with quality players at the Jack and Mike ILB spots.
What are your thoughts on the inside linebacker position in 2016 for the Bears?