As the Chicago Bears prepare to come off of their bye, there are plenty of questions to be asking regarding their playoff chances. How will they survive without Jay Cutler? What about the loss of Lance Briggs? How is the defense going to improve? The Bears clearly have some issues and if they want any chance of making the playoffs, those questions have to be answered in the most positive way possible.
One of the areas the Bears have struggled is specifically with how free safety Chris Conte has played. Defensively, they haven’t been able to get pressure on the quarterback or stop the run, so don’t get me wrong, there are many more issues than just Conte.
But, Conte has played his worst season as a pro from the way I see it. He continuously allows wideouts and tight ends to get past him and behind him, making way for big plays by the opposition. Tackling has been the worst I’ve seen it on the Bears in quite some time, and Conte is one of the biggest culprits this year.
On numerous occasions, Conte has allowed a much bigger gain on plays where he was in position to make a tackle. Whether he has simply been too weak to finish it or whiffed completely, Conte has been just plain bad.
With that said, the Bears could make a move at the trade deadline to help solidify that position. Buffalo Bills free safety Jairus Byrd is one name that’s been thrown around as the trade deadline comes Tuesday, and the Bears could take a gamble in trading for the BIlls’ Pro Bowl safety.
The 27 year old safety was the second highest rated free safety last season by Pro Football Focus and is great in all aspects of his craft. But, he has a salary of nearly $7 million and hits free agency next offseason. The Bears would have to decide whether or not they think they could bring him back on a long-term deal and whether he’s worth doing so with.
Byrd is clearly one of the best in the league and is not happy in Buffalo. Would he desire to play for an organization like Chicago long-term? That’s the question that must be answered before the Bears would pull the trigger on anything.
Also worth noting: The Bears have lots of positions that need draft attention next year. They must get younger at cornerback. They have to draft a defensive end and maybe even a defensive tackle. The safety positions are also worth taking a look at, which Byrd would help solidify.
Overall, it would be a risk for Chicago to consider, but at least a risk worth looking at.