When we posed this round table question to our staff immediately after the NFL Draft, there were still a handful of spots available on the Chicago Bears 90-man offseason roster, but with the recent additions of John Jenkins, Ted Ginn Jr., and Tashaun Gipson, they are all full up now. But we all know the roster at this point is a fluid thing and there will surely be some other moves before they get to camp.
So with that being said, check out how many of our guys were looking for a veteran safety or a speed receiver to be brought in with this round table question; Who is the one free agent the Bears should sign?
I’ll share what my WCG colleagues had to say before adding my take at the end...
I would love the Bears to grab a safety or a guard, but I’m going outside the box here. Give me Carlos Hyde. The Bears are woefully thin at running back, and nobody on the roster outside of David Montgomery is capable of taking a 15+-carry workload in the NFL. Tarik Cohen is more of a gadget back, and if Ryan Nall was a capable committee back in the league, he would have more than two carries at the professional level. Hyde is just coming off of a 1,000-yard season with the Texans and should be had for relatively cheap. Considering he wouldn’t cost against the compensatory pick formula anymore, he would be a great addition to form a three-headed monster that the Bears originally intended with Mike Davis.
Honestly the ranks of free agency are fairly thin. On offense I’d grab Jonathan Williams to back up David Montgomery. He’d be inexpensive to sign, runs hard, and is productive. On defense I’d take a shot Everson Griffen as a rotational 5-tech or pass rushing stand-up EDGE. Again, he’ll likely be more productive than the players the Bears currently have on the roster at the back-up EDGE spots. If they wanted to kick the tires on a veteran LB I’d take a flyer on Stephone Anthony, Darron Lee, or Jeff Holland.
A receiver with some speed like Chester Rogers or Jaron Brown or Robby Anderson. That’s three guys but whatever. Or maybe a guard like Michael Person.
I think the Bears need to tweak their roster with a few more veteran additions. Those spots with be an RB2 behind David Montgomery, an ILB3 behind Roquan Smith and Danny Trevathan, and a veteran safety that can start opposite Eddie Jackson.
I think Deon Bush is fine as the third safety, but I have concerns with him as a starting safety. That would instantly be the weakest starter on the defensive side of the ball and it also would show some really weak depth behind him if he was the second best safety on the roster.
I’ve been pounding the table for Tony Jefferson who wouldn’t be signed for a couple more months because the Bears need to see how healthy he is. I think Jefferson would be a great fit in Pagano’s defense and pair with Jackson really well. However, Tashaun Gipson being released by the Texans is probably more intriguing because he’s not coming off a major knee injury like Jefferson. Gipson ticked down last year, but he’s not quite 30 and could be had an a pretty affordable rate and could really blossom in a defense with that much talent around him.
Prince Amukamara. Say WHAT? Hear me out, signing Prince on a one-year lower-dollar deal gives us plenty of time to work Johnson up to be ready (remember, no mini-camp or OTA’s this year) to start, and if we have a very limited pre-season then Amukamara is plug-and-play. He wasn’t worth $9M to us, but he is worth a reasonable one-year deal.
At this stage in the game, I think anyone the Bears end up adding is a menial acquisition at best. Who already sits on the roster is who they charge into 2020 (or 2021) with. But if they wanted more capable veterans, some speed on the outside couldn’t hurt. Think Paul Richardson.
Safety Tony Jefferson.
Pace did a very good job going out and taking Jaylon Johnson, but I do think an “easy” hole to fill is at safety. While it’s likely that defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano is higher on Deon Bush than most of us are, there’s still a few veteran names out there that won’t cost much and won’t cost them a compensatory pick. At this point, I see very little downside to bringing in another veteran to at least push Bush but at this point, Bush is better off as the third safety and Jefferson would be an immediate upgrade, assuming he’s healthy by camp, which it sounds like he will be.
Erik Christopher Duerrwaechter
Give me Kelechi Osemele all day. He’s the big nasty that’ll upgrade the entire Bears’ O-Line as a unit when inserted at right guard. It’s reminiscent of when Ryan Pace had the chance to land Josh Sitton and pair him with Kyle Long. Plus, Osemele is the best possible fit for what the Bears want to run regarding their protection schemes. His size, athleticism and anger will fit in with Juan Castillo’s preferences for his linemen.
A consolation prize would be Tony Jefferson. He’d thrive in this Bears’ defense as the ideal complimentary safety to free up Eddie Jackson in coverage.
Lester A. Wiltfong Jr.
I’m with ECD in my desire to see one more veteran offensive lineman added, and Osemele makes sense as he has experience at both tackle and guard, and has already expressed a desire to come to the Bears. Worst case scenario for him he’s a key reserve, but best case scenario is he beats out Germain Ifedi to start at right guard.
I really hope Alex Bars, Rashaad Coward, or one of the young interior o-linemen on the roster can solidify a reserve spot, but right now the Bears are still thin when it comes to interior depth.
Now it’s your turn. Let us know which free agent you’d like to see the Bears pickup...