The Chicago Bears have been linked to several free agents and/or veteran trade possibilities this offseason, and while some reports are based in facts, others are of the smoke-screen variety. It’s hard to know which is which until the early negotiation period begins on March 16, but several of us at WCG have some free agent thoughts we’re running through in this latest 4-part round table.
Last time out we gave out we gave our pick for the one free agent we want the Bears to sign, so you had to expect us to get to the flip side here today.
Who is the one free agent you want the Bears to stay away from?
I’ve got two, but for the purposes of this round table I’ll just mention Eric Ebron. It’s not that I don’t feel he’s a decent tight end, I just don’t think he’s going to be worth what the market will pay him this offseason. Once Austin Hooper (okay, he’s the other guy I want the Bears to stay away from) grabs his $10 million-plus per season, teams will look to Ebron as the next best option. And he’s not worth what he’s probably going to get.
If I’m going to drop serious cash on a tight end, he damn well better be a guy opposing defenses need to scheme around, and Ebron — or Hooper for that matter — is not that guy.
Now let’s see what a few of our staffers had to say...
Bill Zimmerman - Eric Ebron, TE - The Bears need to make another move at tight end and I’m all for making a strong push for Austin Hooper, despite the price tag that might be paired with Hooper. Ebron is a decent pass catcher who has UNC ties to Mitch Trubisky, but Ebron has issues with drops and is not a good blocker. Based on the price difference of what is projected for Hooper and Ebron, a few million extra per season for Hooper over Ebron is well worth it.
Sam Householder - Eric Ebron, TE - He’s a player that has that one outlier season (2018) but overall we all know what he is. Don’t overpay for him, he’s mostly been just OK and that 2018 season was mostly about having a crazy good touchdown year (13) while he other numbers were right in line where with they’ve been his career.
Robert Schmitz - Brandon Scherff, OG - While paying for “one of the best guards on the market” sounds great in theory, I think paying Scherff $10+ million per year will ultimately hamstring the Bears’ cap situation more than his play will make up for. He’s a good player, but he’s not elite and plays a fairly replaceable position — sign a value guard or draft a late-round OL instead.
Robert Zeglinski - Marcus Mariota, QB - Sticking with a quarterback theme, I can’t think of a worse potential option than the former No. 2 overall pick. Mariota is a safe bet as a neutral ground addition, if not an actual step back from Mitchell Trubisky. He’s the best way to keep the Bears mired in their 35-year quicksand.
Patti Curl - Marcus Mariota, QB - I’ve been a fan of Mariota since his college days, but at this point, he’s a great athlete who’s failed to develop as expected, misses too many easy throws, and is running low on hope in the tank. Chicago already has one of those.
Ken Mitchell - Mike Iupati, OG - Iupati would have been a good choice 5 years ago, but father time has caught up with him. Think “Orlando Pace”.
Erik Duerrwaechter - Andy Dalton, QB - (Editor: While not a free agent, I’ll allow it!) Look, I understand that this could be seen as inevitable, whether if it’s a trade or if he’s cut outright and signs with Chicago. That still doesn’t mean I feel he’d be a wise signing; if he’s truly seen as competition for Trubisky, then that’s almost the biggest indictment you can make about your former 2nd overall pick.
Who’s the guy you want the Bears to stay away from?