Fixing the Bears Defense (Part 3: Bears Free Agents)

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Don McPeak-US Presswire

CB Charles Tillman: It’s hard to be objective about one of my favorite Bears of all time. Tillman looked like a shell of the player who made the Pro Bowl in 2012 and it’s possible that age (32) has finally caught up to him. Another theory is that he was playing with a myriad of injuries and that was why his on field performance suffered. Either way, I think Peanut deserves a shot to prove himself in 2014 and to end his career with the Bears. A 2-yr, incentive laden contract sounds about right to me. A switch to safety is also an option which could extend Tillman’s playing time a few years. No chance he’s worse than Conte or Wright.

Re-sign: Yes

Projected deal: 2-yr, $3 Mil base with another $3M in incentives (long shot)

CB Zach Bowman: Played well as Tillman’s replacement in weeks 13-16, but had his worse game of his career in the season finale against the Packers. He was beat routinely by Jordy Nelson and didn’t look like a starting NFL corner. Hopefully that last game against the Packers lowers his contract value a bit and the Bears can bring him back at a reasonable rate. Bowman is best suited as a 3rd or 4th CB and if he is willing to be paid as a back-up, it makes sense for the Bears to bring him back as he is familiar with the scheme and they have zero depth at CB right now with only Jennings and Isaiah Frey under contract.

Re-sign: Yes

Projected deal: 2-yr, $2Mil

CB Kelvin Hayden: Was injured this year before he had a chance to make good on his prove-it contract (1yr, $840,00). I think the Bears should bring him back on the same deal as last year with maybe a few less dollars considering his age (30) and that he is coming off a serious injury (hamstring).

Re-sign: Yes

Projected deal: 1-yr, $800,000

FS Major Wright: According to Pro Football Focus, Wright was the worst safety in the NFL last year. He ranked 86th out of 86! It was Wright’s 3rd year in the league, which is when most players blossom into the player they are going to be. In Wright’s case he regressed into a player that will be lucky to be on an NFL roster next year. Let’s hope it’s not the Bears roster.

Re-sign: NO!!!!

FS Anthony Walters: Was one of the Bears best special teams players last year, but couldn’t earn the coaches trust enough to see the field on defense. When you are backing up the statistical worst safety in the league and still can’t see the field, that’s not a good sign. Good special teams guys are a dime a dozen and I think it makes more sense to find ones that can actually contribute if called upon to play game snaps. If the Bears think Walters can eventually be a 2nd string safety then they should bring him back. If not, he’s replaceable.

Re-sign: No

SS Craig Steltz: If you can’t beat out Chris Conte for a starting role, it’s probably time to hang up your cleatsSteltz was given one chance to start in week 13 against the Vikings and was terrible (-5.8, 4 missed tackles). He’s decent on special teams, but not good enough that he’s worth keeping around just for that purpose. The Bears need a complete overhaul at the safety position.

Re-sign: No


Defensive Coordinator (1/6)

Defensive scheme: 3-4 (1/7)

Current Bear Free Agents: (1/8)

NFL Free Agents: (1/9)

Possible Defensive Draft Picks: (1/10)

Twitter: @MikeFlannery_

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  • Thompson Way

    Why is everyone pushing the Bears into going with the 3-4? The 3-4 sucks! The Bears should stay with the 4-3. Even the lowly packer fan is wishing they could switch back.

    • Sinclair Phos

      Why does the 3-4 suck? Doesn’t the 4-3 suck sometimes too? Doesn’t it
      depend in part on the talent you have on the field, and what offense is
      being run? Don’t some offenses perform better against the 3-4 and some
      against the 4-3. To say a scheme sucks by itself is just wrong. The
      Bears should run a defense that puts their players in the best position
      to succeed based on not only the strengths and weaknesses of the players
      on their roster, but also against the offense being ran. That is why
      the best overall complete teams run somewhat of what is being called a
      “hybrid” defense. That is a big boy modern day NFL defense where there
      are elements of both schemes and they are utilized to smack down the
      offense as needed.

  • Dr. Johnny Nacho

    I agree to stick w/ the 4-3 but burn every play call for a soft tampa 2 coverage. I doubt Emery signs Melton unless it is for the bare minimum. Same reason he never brought Lance Louis back is b/c he doesn’t like signing guys he knows is hurt coming into camp. They should sign DJ and move Bostic….didn’t like him in the middle, just didn’t seem to fit. Granted he was a rookie so….maybe he would improve. Resign Wootton as well.

  • Sinclair Phos

    I started to read this piece but the author lost all credibility when he got down to Zach Bowman and he wrote “it makes sense for the Bears to bring him back as he is familiar with the scheme and they have zero depth at CB right now” The Bears are getting ready for a complete defensive rebuild, and the “scheme” he is familiar with will no longer (thankfully) be the scheme that is run here in Chicago. Nor should he be kept because of a perceived “lack of depth” at the position. Again the Bears are rebuilding the defense, the scheme will be changed so any “familiarity” with a scheme is not a reason to sign or not sign someone back for 2014. Secondly…why are we talking about free agents in part 3 instead of part 1? Free agency sets the rest of your strategy. Free agency comes before the draft and will have a direct impact on who you draft, what your needs are, and what you are trying to accomplish. Free agency should have been Part 1 not Part 3….Part 1 and 2 are not even worth my time to go back and read because of this fact.