In 2012 the Chicago Bears boasted a pretty devastating defense (at least for the first half of the season.) If they weren’t stripping or intercepting the ball, they were causing all sorts of nightmare scenarios for opposing quarterbacks. That said, it seems odd that defensive end would be a position the Bears find themselves in the market for, but it’s not a far reach either.
While the Bears aren’t in dire straits for help at defensive end this off-season, there are some definite things to consider. Julius Peppers, while still very formidable, is aging, and may not be quite as quick off the ball as he used to be. On the other side is Corey Wootton, and 2012 first-round pick Shea McClellin, both of whom show a lot of promise, and could be solid starters in the future, but are yet unproven.
Add in the fact that Israel Idonije is hitting free agency, and it becomes very feasible that Chicago could be scoping one or more free agents to bolster the pass rush group.
There are some players at the position who are about to hit free agency, provided their current team doesn’t re-sign or franchise tag them. If the Bears want a proven commodity who would help bring along some of the younger talent, then Dwight Freeney and Osi Umenyiora could be names worth looking at. Guys like Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett and Michael Johnson, if available, would be solid acquisitions as well, but may be out of Chicago’s price range.
The Bears also now have the option of scouting free agents that come from the 3-4 outside linebacker position. Players like Anthony Spencer, Paul Kruger and Connor Barwin could be an option, but as with Avril, Bennett and Johnson, these three are also going to be on the pricey side.
The Bears new coaches will have to do a lot of evaluating both of current talent, and of free agent prospects, to see what (if any) help is going to be needed at end.