FanPost

8 Buy Low Free Agents

I've seen a lot of mock off-season articles lately, and I decided instead to just touch on 8 buy low free agents that the Bears should sign. The reason I did this is because I wanted to find options which were as realistic as possible. Instead of trying to convince you guys that the Bears could potentially sign both Stephon Gilmore and Dont'a Hightower while keeping Alshon Jeffery (which would be a dream scenario), I just wanted to touch on a few cheap players who I think GM Ryan Pace may have his sights on.

1) Kendall Wright -The first player that I believe Pace has his eyes on is Tennessee Titans wide receiver Kendall Wright. Despite running a 4.61 forty and being just 5'10", the Titans drafted him in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft. At one point, it looked like Wright could have a career resembling that of current Dolphins receiver Jarvis Landry. Landry, who has an unbelievable 288 receptions through 3 seasons, is known for his elusive style of play and great hands. Landry is also short in stature at 5'11", and ran an identical 4.61 40 yard dash. While Landry is lucky enough to receive a high volume of targets in Miami, Kendall Wright has been fazed out in Mike Mularkey's power running scheme. Wright's best season came in 2013, with Dowell Loggains serving the role of Offensive Coordinator and Dave Ragone in as QB coach. With first round bust Jake Locker and journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback, Wright racked up 94 receptions for 1079 yards. With Loggains being a pass happy coordinator, the 27 year old Wright could potentially resurrect his career in the Windy City, especially with the Bears' dearth of reliable pass-catchers now that Alshon Jeffery is almost certain to leave.

2) Jack Doyle - Another underrated option on the free agent market is former Indianapolis Colts tight-end Jack Doyle. Doyle had a breakout season last year, catching 59 passes for 584 yards and 5 touchdowns. The 26 year old has a 6'6" frame and above average athleticism for the position. Doyle is one of the more well-rounded free agent tight-ends, solid as both a receiver and a blocker. With the Colts, Doyle became one of Andrew Luck's most trusted targets. Doyle was undrafted out of the 2013 NFL draft, and finally got an opportunity last season, starting 14 games for the talent-poor Colts. While teams will take notice of Doyle, he will be considered a tier below tight-ends such as Martellus Bennett and Jared Cook, allowing a team such as the Bears to potentially swoop in and get a cheap deal. Other than the fact that Doyle fills an immediate need for the Bears, he also has another connection to the team. Newly hired WR Coach Zach Azzanni coached Doyle as an Offensive Coordinator at Western Kentucky, and Azzanni, a highly regarded coach given credit for helping develop Antonio Brown, could potentially help sway the WKU Hilltoppers tight-end in his final decision.

3) Dre Kirkpatrick - A third option that the Bears could gravitate towards is former Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick. After measuring in at 6'2" and running a 4.5 second forty, Kirkpatrick was picked 17th overall in the 2012 NFL draft, just 3 picks ahead of Kendall Wright. Kirkpatrick has underwhelmed so far through his career, but he has also lacked opportunities to show his worth due to the fact that he was buried on the Bengals' depth chart at the beginning of his career. Kirkpatrick's height and length could make him appealing to Vic Fangio, who made Chris Culliver and Perrish Cox look like good cornerbacks in San Francisco. Fangio and highly regarded DBs coach Ed Donatell could potentially develop the talented 27 year old corner into a good starter in Chicago. While Kirkpatrick won't be cheap (no cornerback is), he will come at a much lower price than players such as AJ Buoye, Stephon Gilmore and Logan Ryan, considering that Trumaine Johnson's tag just made him the highest paid cornerback in the NFL, foreshadowing the amount of money that teams may be willing to throw at this year's established free agent defensive backs.

4) Micah Hyde - This former Packer will be one of the steals of this year's free agency class. After Casey Hayward blossomed into a Pro Bowl cornerback after leaving Green Bay, Hyde could potentially follow suit (he probably won't). Hyde is a swiss army knife, with experience as a return man, cornerback and safety. All three positions were issues for Chicago last season, and Hyde could provide a quick fix. A former 5th round pick, the 26 year old has 8 interceptions in his career. Hyde, who is 6 feet tall and ran a 4.52 forty, has only started 33 out of the 63 games he has played in, never starting more than 12 games in a season. This low usage could not only mean that Hyde has plenty of tread on his tires, but could also cause a team to be weary of giving him an exorbitant deal. Hyde will not be among the highest paid defensive backs of this year's free agent class, and this could work in Ryan Pace's favor when attempting to strike a deal.

5) Kenny Britt - Britt, a 6'3" pass-catcher for the LA Rams, broke a decade long drought when he recorded a 1000 yard season last year. Despite this production with the combination of Jared Goff and Case Keenum throwing football's, Britt has been both streaky and injury prone throughout his career. The 28 year old, who was picked with the 30th pick in the 2009 NFL draft by the Titans, also has played under Dowell Loggains, failing to produce meaningful stats. Despite his lack of production, Britt may have turned a corner with his 68 receptions last season, which bested his previous career high by 20. Under a competent quarterback, Britt may be able to put up big numbers for the first time in his disappointing career. Overall, Britt has the size and catch radius for some to call him a poor man's Alshon Jeffery. While almost all of us would love it if Pace resigned Jeffery, if Pace wants to bring in a lower cost version of Alshon, Britt may be the man.

6) Jairus Byrd - While Byrd was a huge bust in New Orleans, he may be able to return to form as a ball-hawking center-fielder with a change of scenery. The last time Byrd hit free agency, he was considered the number one player available. While he didn't live up to his exorbitant contract, Byrd was injured and began to pick up steam towards the end of last year. Byrd ball skills are unquestionable considering the fact that he nabbed 9 picks in his rookie campaign, and if given the opportunity, the 30 year old could potentially return to being the dominant, rangy safety that he once was with the Bills. His two interceptions last season showed that he still has something left in the tank. Considering the Bears lack a true free safety, Byrd is worth a shot for Ryan Pace. The Bears need every interception they can get, considering they tied the NFL record for the least turnovers forced in a season last year with a paltry 11 takeaways.

7) Jarvis Jones - With Lamarr Houston a cut candidate for Chicago, the Bears need a cheaper alternative as a rotational OLB in the 3-4 scheme. Jarvis Jones would be a crafty option to fill this role. A former first round pick who was selected 3 picks before Kyle Long, Jones was considered somewhat of a bust in Pittsburgh due to his lack of explosive plays. Despite his inability to consistently rush the passer, Jones excelled at setting the edge and stopping the run last season, a skill the Bears could have used when Ty Montgomery ran all over them in Week 15 of last season to the tune of 162 yards and 2 touchdowns. According to Pro Football Focus, Jones had a run stop percentage of 8.7% last season, the best on a Steelers defense which consists of the ageless James Harrison and electric Ryan Shazier. Jones would be cheap due to the fact that he only has 6 sacks through his career so far, but he would be worth the money as an edge setter in the 3-4 scheme.

8) Sylvester Williams - Williams, a first round pick in the 2013 NFL draft, is one of John Elway's lone draft "busts". Coached up by John Fox for the first two years of his career, Williams is a capable rotational nose-tackle in the 3-4 scheme. Given the familiarity with John Fox and his inability to stick out on the loaded Broncos defense, Williams is a prime candidate for the Bears to scoop up for cheap. Eddie Goldman was unable to stay on the field last year, and Williams would be an upgrade at backup over Will Sutton, who is more suited to be a 4-3 defensive tackle. The 28 year old Williams started 13 games in Fox's last seaon in Denver, so there is a good chance that Fox would be comfortable with Williams as a spot starter if Goldman's injury struggles continue. Overall, Williams, who was the 28th overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft, would most likely welcome a move to Chicago due to his familiarity with John Fox and the 3-4 scheme, which was run by Wade Phillips in Denver.

These are 8 players who I believe won't immediately make the Bears a contender, but could possibly be short term solutions and patch up some of the Bears biggest deficiencies. I believe that these guys are likely be found at below market value prices after free agency commences, and there is a realistic chance that GM Ryan Pace and Head Coach John Fox strongly consider signing one or more of these players to their teams in preparation for the 2017 season. What do you guys think? Did I miss any underrated free agents?

This Fanpost was written by a Windy City Gridiron member, and does not necessarily reflect the ideas or opinions of its staff or community.