2013 Cap Hit: $8 Million
2013 Grade: Peanut finished up his 8 game season with a rare negative grade from ProFootball Focus. He graded out as a -6.5 overall, +2.0 vs the run and -7.4 in pass coverage. Peanut was ranked the 89th cornerback in the league according to PFF. This just goes to show that sometimes figures lie and liars figure.
Pros: Peanut is as good as it gets at the cornerback position, regardless of what PFF says. He’s arguably the best cornerback in Bears history. He can still cover the big wide receivers like Calvin Johnson and AJ Green. He’s terrific in run support and is a takeaway machine. Besides the on the field excellence, Peanut is an excellent locker room guy and his work in the community are second to none.
Cons: Peanut is coming off another injury plagued season, where he battled a knee early in the year before getting shelved after just 8 games with a torn triceps. He’s about to turn 33, but it’s a hard 33 for the 11 year vet, who’s had numerous surgeries and battled injuries for years. Phil Emery declared the Bears are going to get younger on defense this offseason, then re-signed 30-year old Tim Jennings to a contract extension. Can they get younger by keeping one of their elder statesman? Can they count on him to bounce back to his Pro Bowl form?
Potential suitors: Lovie Smith would love to have a takeaway machine like Tillman to help him install his system in Tampa. Otherwise, any team looking for a veteran, Pro Bowl caliber cornerback. Tillman even mentioned that he’s a fan of how the Patriots do things. Hmmm?
Bottom Line: Peanut is the best cornerback the Bears have ever had. Fans all certainly want him back and don’t want to see another legend leave, just as Urlacher did last season. Tillman sounds like he’s got a couple of years left in the tank; the Bears should roll the dice on a 2-year deal with a hefty pay cut and draft his successor.
What do you think? Can the Bears bring Peanut back? How do you think this plays out?