Marion Barber and Roy Williams share a laugh about the Bears Free Agent Class of 2011. (Photo courtesy of Chicago Tribune)

Grading the Bears Free Agent Moves

Wednesday was an off day for the Bears, so I thought it would be a good time to catch a breath and evaluate where the Bears are now that everything has settled down a little.   It looks like the moves of any significance are over, so we can hand out hand out some grades for the Bears’ Free Agent Acquisitions so far.

We’ll grade them on the three R’s.  No, not Reading, Writing and ‘Rithmetic.  More like Retreads, Rejects and Reclamation projects. Maybe I’m being harsh.  Or am I?  Let’s take a look at the Free Agent class of 2011 by a different set of R’s – Re-signings, Replacements and Reclamations Projects.

Re-signings:  C-

  • Anthony Adams - will help mentor Paea along in the DT rotation.  Solid keep.
  • Corey Graham – will provide a big boost to Special Teams.
  • Nick Roach – Roach steps into a starting role as the Sam linebacker (unless the Bears choose to go out and get someone else). He’s more than capable.
  • Brian Iwuh – another special teams guy that can also fill in at linebacker.
  • Dez Clark – after they let Manmaleuseless go and traded Olsen, Clark provides some nice depth and veteran leadership.
  • Olin Kreutz – possibly the biggest re-signing is the one that wasn’t made.  This move pulls the grade down significantly.

Replacements: B-

  • Adam Podlesh – everyone loved Brad Maynard, but by all accounts Podlesh should be an upgrade.
  • Sam Hurd – Hurd will spell Rashied Davis as another wide receiver but more importantly on Special Teams.
  • Chris Spencer – I actually feel sorry for Spencer.  He will have a tough time coming out from under the long shadow cast by Kreutz. You can bet that the first fumbled snap or sack up the middle and fans will be ready to stone him.
  • Matt Spaeth – he’ll serve as a replacement for either Olsen or Manumaleuna.  Either way, he should fit what Mike Martz wants to do at the tight end position.

Retreads:  a sarcastic A+

  • Roy Williams – reuniting with Mike Martz, Williams hopes to regain the form that led to a trip to Pro Bowl in 2005
  • Vernon Gholston – a former Top 10 pick never panned out in New York.
  • Amobi Okoye – never reached his potential for the Texans in a 3-4 defense.  He’s young and raw and many believe he could make an impact as a 3-technique in the Cover-2.
  • Marion Barber – Barber could will that short yardage void that the Bears have been missing.  (Bonus points for possibly pushing Chester Taylor out the door.)

Overall, I give the Bears a C for their free agent moves.  Everyone was expecting hoping that the Bears would make a big move, especially since they’re one of a few teams substantially under the salary cap.  Instead, they took a few low risk, potentially high reward moves and kept their own guys that they wanted to keep. I’m convinced that someone – not sure if it’s Tice or Martz if it goes all the way up to Angelo – didn’t want Kreutz back.

I think that Williams and Okoye could contribute and Barber might have a little something left in the tank, but I’m not foolish enough to think he’s going to set the world on fire.

What do you think of the Free Agent moves?  What grade would you give them?  Are there other moves that you’d like to see the Bears make?

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