NFL.com is reporting that the Bears may be readying to make a run at a big name free agent defensive end such as the Panther’s Julius Peppers or division rival Green Bay’s Aaron Kampman.
Defensive end is clearly a position of need for the Bears. With Adewale Ogunleye headed to free agency himself and the tragic passing of Gaines Adams, the Bears are left with Alex Brown and a handful of projects.
Last season the Bears tallied 35 sacks and struggled to get a consistent pass rush without blitzing. That certainly weakened the much maligned Cover-2, which is predicated on getting pressure from the front four.
There is no denying Peppers’ talent – with 81 career sacks in his 8 year career, including 25 over the last two seasons. There are a couple of problems with the notion that the Bears will sign Peppers.
First of all, Peppers will command top, top, top dollar and the Bears organization is not known for spending big bucks. In an uncapped year, do you think the Misers of the Midway will outbid the Jerry Joneses and Daniel Snyders of the world? Me neither, but let’s suspend disbelief for a moment.
Going along with point #1,the big question is whether Peppers’ best years are in the rear view mirror? If you spend top dollar, you’d best be getting your money’s worth. How much bad money have the Bears doled out over the last few seasons. Brian Urlacher’s extension? Don’t even get me started on the Tommie Harris deal after his serious leg injury.
Kampman, on the other hand, is another interesting player. He didn’t particularly flourish in the Packers’ switch to a 3-4 defense and is better suited with his hand on the ground as a true DE.
Kampman might be a little more affordable when compared to Peppers, who will be highly coveted around the league, but he comes with his own risk. He suffered a season-ending injury knee injury in November against San Francisco. According to a January report, he is making great progress and expects to be ready for the start of training camp but it bears watching.
These guys seem like long shots, but did you think the Bears would ever trade for Jay Cutler?