Will Chicago Bears Free Agents Play for Lovie Smith?
The chances of the Chicago Bears re-signing all 25 of their remaining free agents is impossible. What isn’t impossible is the fact that some of Chicago’s free agents could be reunited with their former head coach.
At the start of the New Year, Lovie Smith agreed to a five-year deal to coach the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after a one-year hiatus from the NFL. As soon as Smith settled in Tampa Bay, he wasted no time assembling his coaching staff. One of those members happens to be Gill Byrd, who spent seven years under Smith in Chicago as a defensive backs coach.
Looking at the list of Bears free agents, many can assume that Smith and the Bucs could put in a bid for players such as cornerback Charles Tillman and safety Major Wright. Both Smith and Byrd are highly familiar with Tillman, and would love to have such great veteran leadership and big-play ability on their defense. In addition, the possibility of playing opposite Darrelle Revis makes Tillman even more attractive. The same probably can’t be said for Wright, but he could add depth to the secondary.
Not only are Tillman and Wright probable candidates, but Pro Bowl defensive tackle Henry Melton also falls into that category. Even though Melton missed virtually the entire 2013 season due to injury, the fact that he’s young (27 years of age) and still has a major upside brings much attention his way. Melton will also look good playing alongside Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy.
Even though Smith is a defensive-minded coach, I don’t think that he would mind having return specialist Devin Hester on his roster as well. I’m not sure if Chicago is willing to pay Hester a large sum of money just to return kicks and punts, but with a good enough contract offer, and a chance to play in his home state of Florida, I think that Hester just might jump at that opportunity.
There are other players, such as cornerbacks Zack Bowman and Kelvin Hayden, safety Craig Steltz and defensive end Corey Wootton, who could be on the Bucs’ radar as well. But once the season is officially over and the offseason is underway, don’t be surprised to see some Bears migrating to warmer weather.
Clyde A. Speller is an NFL writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ClydeASpeller.