Feb 4, 2007; Miami, FL, USA; Indianapolis Colts cornerback Kelvin Hayden (26) intercepts a pass for Chicago Bears receiver Muhsin Muhammad (87) in the second half of Super Bowl XLI at Dolphins Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

Bears Add Cornerback-ups Hayden and Wilhite

Phil Emery and the Chicago Bears added some much needed help in their secondary by signing Kelvin Hayden and Jonathan Wilhite  to compete with Tim Jennings for playing time opposite Charles Peanut Tillman.  For now, let’s call them cornerback-ups.

When the Bears re-signed Tim Jennings, you thought they might be done shopping for free agent cornerbacks, but after losing backups Zack Bowman and Corey Graham, Phil Emery had to pick up a couple of bodies to bolster the secondary.

The Bears flirted with Hayden last offseason, but with some injury concerns, the Bears backed off and he ended up in Atlanta for a season after spending his first 6 seasons in Indianapolis in the Colts’ Cover-2 defense.  Hayden is a Chicago native and turned out to be a nemesis to his hometown team in Super Bowl XLI, when he picked off Rex Grossman to virtually ice the game.

As for Wilhite, he is a former Patriots draftee, but let’s hope he works out better than the last New England castoff that ended up in Chicago, Brandon Merrweather.

Don’t expect either of these guys to set the world on fire, but hopefully they can provide better depth behind Tillman.  Neither Bowman nor Graham were very capable in their roles as backups.

I had been hoping the Bears would add a cornerback with a fairly high pick in the draft, but this move might show they’re thinking of going in another direction.

What do you think?  Good moves?  Bad moves?  Should the Bears draft a corner too?

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  • http://www.beardownone.blogspot.com/ Beardownone

    This move may have tipped Emerys hand a bit. I like it, it shows he wants to win now with a team that is just this close to being in that next group. I think with this we will see a lineman of some sort in the first round be it O or D. That being said I would LOVE if they moved up and went after Michael Floyd and solidified the offensive side of the ball. Then they could focus on getting younger on defense and maybe finding a tackle in the second round. The thing to keep in mind they don’t necessarily need to find a left tackle with Carimi on the team. I think he will make his way over there most likely some time this season.

  • UCF_Bear

    I think Emery’s hand was tipped awhile ago with all of the offensive signings he procured.  I don’t think the Bears will trade up for Floyd because this receiver class is deep and plenty of talent will be left to grab in the 2nd rd.  I think signing these two gentlemen is a good move to try and ensure experienced depth.  Depth was a major concern going into last season and rightfully so, though it wasn’t discussed at length as such.  My thoughts were that Phil was going to go heavy on defense in the draft, whilst double dipping and taking 2 receivers.  I’m not off that bandwagon thought just yet either.  I really feel like a power play is in the works with Matt Forte.  If we can pickup the Browns other 1st rd pick (#22) and their  2nd (#37) for Forte maybe even send Lance Briggs in the trade and pick up more later round picks, that would give us at least Overall #s 19, 22, 37 and 50.  I like the odds of 4 picks in the first 50 drafted spots.  That would sound like another OT, definitely a WR (Toon, Hill, Criner, Sanu, Jeffrey someone will still be on the board in our range), CB and another RB.  I would see a lineman going if he was left when we first jump on the board, but a good CB will most likely be hard to pass up.  And my logic with the Browns is that if they take a QB @ 4, then a proven RB can help relieve some backfield pressure.  Also, this draft is fairly stacked with RBs as well isn’t it?  In any case, sticking with the original question, I like the signing of these 2 guys, it gives us some leverage in where we can go and what we want to do.
    Interesting thought, what if we draft a CB and [assuming a Briggs trade] another LB.  To see Tillman’s and Urlacher’s future replacements in the same class and possibly 19 and 22, respectively would be AWESOME!

  • BearGogglesOn

     @UCF_Bear Wow, interesting thought.  I could maybe kinda, sorta get in with you on the Forte trade if the Bears feel like they can’t come to a long term agreement but  I really doubt they’d trade Briggs. They just don’t have anything behind him and wouldn’t want to risk filling that with a draft pick right out of the gate. 
    The right way to do this is to draft a LB who can compete with Roach on the Strong side and has the ability to move into a starter role when ‘Lach or Briggs end their run with the Beloved. 
    I really doubt the Bears go after 2 WR’s in the draft.  Taking one of them might be a stretch given who they have in the fold unless they know Knox isn’t coming back or they try to make a move with Hester.
    My issue with the signing is that I hope it doesn’t keep them from trying to grab a stud CB in the draft.  The guys besides Tillman are all nickel or strong backups, but will be hard pressed to keep up with some of the dynamic WR units in the division and around the league.

  • BearGogglesOn

     @Beardownone It will be interesting to see how much juice Lovie still has in the draft room with the new GM.  You know Smith wants a DE or DT in Round 1.  If the Bears go another direction, it shows that Emery is clearly in charge. 

  • UCF_Bear

     @BearGogglesOn The reason I see 2 WRs being taken is because I think the 2nd one taken in either rd 6 or 7 will be geared more towards Special Teams (e.g. Ty Hilton).  The signings of Devin Thomas, Blake Costanzo and Eric Weems are a strong indicator of heavy investment into that unit.  It’s going to be great either way, I’m really excited to see who they take.  I’m liking Emery’s aggressiveness and oversight into depth.

  • UCF_Bear

     @BearGogglesOn  @Beardownone Do you think Smith places higher emphasis on the D-Line this draft or shoring up the secondary (again for this draft)?

  • flowermike

    How is it not obvious. The Bears glaring need is protection for Cutler. 
    Signing two second string corners from teams that have corner issues is no celebration. 
    Trade Briggs? RIDICULOUS. 
    Comeon guys. 
    We gave up two first round draft picks for Jay. If Emery signals change, he’ll protect that investment. 

  • http://www.beardownone.blogspot.com/ Beardownone

    @flowermike Yes that is an area that needs to be addressed but they need to avoid overvaluing a tackle at 19. Take the best player that fills a need. I feel that will be either the D-line or wideout. I’m all for getting the O-line shored up but I want them to be smart about it too.

  • http://www.beardownone.blogspot.com/ Beardownone

    @BearGogglesOn @UCF_Bear I don’t think trading Briggs is a good idea, they are paper thin at linebacker and he is better then whatever pick he may garner in a trade. Also I don’t see anyone giving a first or a second round pick for Forte the value just is not there running backs just are not what they used to be value wise. I don’t think anyone but Forte himself holds him in that top five type. That’s including the Bears. And you said it yourself the draft is deep with RB’s so The Browns can pick one up in the later rounds. There are good backs to be found not just in the first couple anymore