2014 NFL Free Agency: 5 Players the Chicago Bears Should Not Re-Sign
The Bears Need to Pass on These 5 Soon-to-Be Free Agents
The 2014 NFL offseason will be a telling one for the Chicago Bears. After one of the most eventful off seasons in franchise history last year, the Bears should be on their way to another one filled with some tough decisions.
Chicago entered this offseason with over 20 players set to hit free agency. Yet, they were just about $7.6 million under the cap before Thursday. Fortunately, the NFL decided to raise the cap to $130 million, thus giving Chicago almost $4 million more to work with than they were originally anticipating.
Something that fans have debated since the beginning of last season is about to become a reality. Which veterans will be re-signed going forward, and which ones will be let go without a new deal? There are some important names for Chicago to address shortly, but not all of them can get new deals.
How about Charles Tillman and Henry Melton? Should Chicago take a chance on a 33-year old cornerback coming off of a triceps tear? Should they bring back a defensive tackle coming off of an ACL tear? In short, I believe the answer is yes -- for a few reasons.
Other notable names set to hit the open market include: Safety Major Wright, linebacker James Anderson, linebacker D.J. Williams, linebacker Blake Costanzo, defensive tackle Nate Collins, return specialist Devin Hester, cornerback Kelvin Hayden, quarterback Josh McCown, center Roberto Garza, safety Craig Steltz and defensive end Corey Wootton. Those, as mentioned, are only some of the impending free agents in Chicago.
Which guys absolutely must be re-signed? That is up for debate. However, there are five players that Chicago should most definitely decide to pass on when looking at the group as a whole. A couple of them may be tough decisions, but the following guys need to be let go.
5. Kelvin Hayden
Last year, Hayden missed the season with a torn hamstring. While the defense suffered due to many injuries, Hayden's was not a big factor. The team was already high on Isaiah Frey to play the nickel, and Hayden appeared on his way further down the depth chart. There is no question Hayden is not needed and can be let go.
4. D.J. Williams
This is a tough one, for me. When healthy, Williams played pretty well. He moved well and showed the motor he had as a younger linebacker. But, after a season-ending injury and rookie Jon Bostic taking over, I believe the Bears can let him go and pursue younger options for competition going forward. Williams is aging and Chicago could use some young competition, especially at the linebacker positions.
3. Roberto Garza
Probably one of the toughest decisions for me, if I was general manager Phil Emery, would be in regards to Garza. He makes everyone else better, simply because of his leadership and coaching abilities in the locker room. Last year, the Bears' offensive line kept the same group on the field all season long and finished as a top-5 unit. That is an incredible accomplishment for a team that couldn't say anything close to that a year prior. Garza is aging, though, and out of all the offensive linemen had the least amount of positive plays. Chicago should move on and find a younger prospect to replace him.
2. Devin Hester
One of the most exciting eras in the NFL will officially end as the Bears are very likely to move on from Hester. Easily the most entertaining return man in the history of the game, Hester will be dearly missed by fans. But, if you are smart, you realize he can't offer the team what he used to be able to do. His talent has diminished over the last three years and Chicago can't afford to keep him.
1. Major Wright
Without a doubt, the Bears need to enter 2014 with a new tandem of safeties. Both Wright and Chris Conte combine to offer the worst pair of safeties in the league, if you ask me. Both take terrible angles. Both fail to make key tackles. It's not even debatable. If you're a Bears fan, you understand that the safety positions must be upgraded and that Wright cannot be re-signed.