The Bears have continued to plod along in the free agent market, losing a couple of players from last season and retaining another. Backup quarterback Jason Campbell packs up his clipboard and heads to Cleveland to vie for snaps with Brandon Weeden while OG Lance Louis takes his surgically repaired ACL and talents to South Beach to join the Miami Dolphins. Meanwhile, they bring back nickelback Kelvin Hayden. Hit the jump for my thoughts on the moves.
I’m not going to shed any tears for Jason Campbell’s departure. The Bears brought him in to back up Cutler and paid him handsomely but when he was called upon, he pooped his pants. That 49ers game was going to be a tough game no matter who was under center, but Campbell’s performance was poor. With their backs against the salary cap wall, the Bears can’t overpay for a backup quarterback.
Lance Louis, on the other hand, will be missed. Many observers, myself included, thought that Louis was the most consistent lineman on the Bears last season. His season was cut short with a Jared Allen cheap shot that blew out his ACL. I think if it weren’t for his injury, the Bears would have put a higher priority on bringing him back. Louis’ departure puts that much more pressure on the Bears to pick up some help on the interior line either on the fringes of free agency or especially in the draft. If you read my post projecting the Bears’ offensive starters, I have them adding a starting guard in the draft. (I’m not going to tell you who it is; you’ll have to go read it for yourself!)
Kelvin Hayden comes back for a defensive unit in transition. The front seven will have a distinctly different look, but the secondary should stay mostly in tact. It’s a solid move to keep the veteran who played well in the nickel.
There are still some moves to be made. I would hope that Israel Idonije is a focal point as a versatile cog for the defensive line. I wouldn’t be surprised if a guy like veteran guard Brandon Moore gets a sniff. The Bears also need to figure out their backup quarterback situation. Could they bring Rexy back? Grossman would be a good #2 and Emery scouted him in his first go-round with the Bears.
What do you think? What moves would you like to see the Bears make in the late stages of Free Agency? Who else is out there that should get consideration?