The Bears signed restricted free agent defensive back Brandon McGowan to a 1-year deal. No word yet on the dollar amount of the contract. It’s not fair to call McGowan a safety or a cornerback, though I think the Bears technically list him as a safety. Injuries forced McGowan to learn several different positions in the Bears defensive backfield, which may have made him a greater commodity.
The never ending injuries to Charles Tillman and Nathan Vasher last season forced every able body to take a turn at cornerback and safety. The return of a healthy Tillman and Vasher should allow McGOwan to concentrate on the safety position and improve the achilles heal of last year’s defense.
McGowan played in 14 games last season and started 9 games. He finished with a career high 80 tackles and 2 interceptions. He has all the makings for a fan favorite after making the team as an undrafted free agent two years ago in minicamp. He played three games his rookie year but tore his ACL. In his second season, he had to wait until the seventh game to return and promptly tore his achilles. Last season was his first full year with the team and he responded by finishing sixth on the team in tackles.
He’s still a young player with a lot of upside and an ability to learn quickly. If McGowan can step up and make an impact for a full season he may heal some of the pain from watching Adam Archuleta get burned deep for big plays.
McGowan also gives the Bears an insurance policy at safety, where they have had serious issues with injuries almost every year. Mike Brown is one of the best safeties in the game but no one knows it because he can’t keep himself of the injury list. A full season of McGowan learning the craft of the position could give the Bears a good long-term solution. The weakness on offense makes returning the defense to one of the most feared lineups in the league a priority. A one year contract gives McGowan an audition to show the organization he fits into their defensive scheme.