Charity starts at home. While fans around the league are looking for the “big name” free agent to come to their team, those moves don’t always work out. For every Julius Peppers signing, there’s a Brandon Manumaleuna or Chester Taylor. The Bears are in a tight spot with salary cap space and have a bunch of their own free agents that are drawing interest around the league. These aren’t ‘big ticket’ guys, but are serviceable players that could turn out to be bargains for someone.
The Bears should do their own bargain shopping before these free agents hit the open market at 3PM on Tuesday. Here’s my list of the Top 5 of Their Own Free Agents the Bears Should Try to Keep:
Before I get to the Top 5, let’s get a couple of guys who flirted with the Top 5. Quarterback Jason Campbell would make a lot of sense for the right price. With Matt Moore signing with the Miami Dolphins, Campbell is the most experienced QB on the market. He won’t get nearly the $3.5 the Bears overpaid for him last season.
Another player who is an interesting prospect is Zack Bowman. He came to the Bears mid-season yet still made huge contributions on special teams. Keeping an ace special teamer would be great if the Bears can squeeze him into the budget, but not at the expense of one of my Top 5.
#5 Lance Louis
Louis was arguable the most consistent offensive lineman for the Bears last season, which might be the tallest midget award. He’s coming off an ACL injury, which hurts his value and could bring him back at a discount. Target price = 3 years at $2 million per
#4 Izzy Idonije
Izzy has proven his value and versatility over the years. He can play at DE or DT depending on the situation and what the Bears need. For the right price, he’s a no brainer despite being on the wrong side of 30 (who on the Bears defense isn’t?). With youngsters like Corey Wooton and Shea McClellin, Izzy becomes a little more expendable. Target deal= $2.7 million.
#3 Kelvin Hayden
Hayden played well in his first year with the Bears. Not great, but good enough in his role as nickelback to supplant DJ Moore and make him expendable. The Bears want him back but he wants to dip his toe into the Free Agent pool and test the waters. If he goes elsewhere, the Bears will have a need to fill at nickel. Target deal= $1 million
#2 Brian Urlacher
The sentimental choice, Urlacher has been the face of the Bears franchise for well over a decade. I’m not ready to retire my #54 jersey and #54 is doing everything he can to prove that he’s ready to come back. He wants to be back and the Bears want him back, but at the right price. Target deal = incentive laden 2 year deal worth about $8 million.
#1 Nick Roach
Roach is getting a lot of buzz in the legal tampering period with up to 8 teams expressing interest in the veteran linebacker. He’s proven to be able to play the middle linebacker spot while filling in for Urlacher and has been solid as a SLB for a few years. The Bears would be wise to keep Roach as another Urlacher insurance policy and keep some continuity with the linebacking corps. Target deal = 2 years at $3 million per.
What do you think Bears fans? Which of their own free agents should the Bears keep? Let’s see your suggestions in the Comments.