There Is Still Room For Chicago Bears To Do More In Free Agency

By Troy Dixon
Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

By this point in free agency, about 90 percent of the big-name free agents are already off the market. The others are still wrapping up their visits to different cities. Those who fall outside of those two categories are for a team to finally call.

I can’t be alone in thinking that there’s still a couple of moves still left to be made by the Chicago Bears before they’re satisfied with their activity this past week. A few of the signings addressed key needs. These included signing defensive ends Lamarr Houston and Willie Young, and signing safeties Ryan Mundy and M.D. Jennings. I mostly like that last one because he comes to Chicago as a former starter on last year’s Green Bay Packers team.

The holes in a few spots are still very much noticeable. For instance, running back Michael Bush was cut last week after a subpar season that saw him gain just over three yards per carry. He also wasn’t half of the goal line threat he should’ve been running behind that revamped offensive line. That leaves the Bears currently with only one backup to Matt Forte in Michael Ford, who has yet to carry the football one time in a regular season game.

In looking at a list of the current NFL free agent list, there are a few guys that I wouldn’t mind seeing them bring in to try and win a RB spot in training camp (in addition to any rookies that they draft). Two guys that catch my eye are Larod Stephens-Howling and Brian Leonard. Both guys have had moderate success carrying the ball and they might come at a bargain; both were paid around $700,000 in 2013. That would be a bargain considering that Bush’s release resulted in over $2 million in dead money for the Bears this upcoming season.

Both backup quarterback spots are also in question to me. The Bears normally like to have two on the roster to have a free spot for another skill position player, but Jay Cutler’s health issues over the past few seasons may warrant the need to carry three. If Cutler should go down this year due to injury, Jerrod Johnson and Jordan Palmer are the names currently behind him.

I do think that quarterback will be a point of emphasis in one of the middle rounds of this year’s draft, but ideally I would want my backup quarterback to come equipped with some quality in-game experience. Ryan Fitzpatrick is available and so is Brandon Weeden. Both are potentially done as Day 1 starters in the NFL, but either would be a good addition to have behind Cutler.

Most of the recent free agent speculation has centered around whether Henry Melton will return after visits with several teams. Even if the Bears lose out on him, their attention should be focused elsewhere to potentially fill other key spots.

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