Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Bears sign Charles Tillman for 1-year, $3.5M


Just minutes after posting about how the Bears need another cornerback, the Bears announced that they have signed Charles Tillman to a 1-year deal. There were plenty of rumors out there that Tillman was going to leave the Bears and possibly join Lovie Smith in Tampa, but he ultimately decided to come back to Chicago for his 12th season as a Bear. His contract is for “just under” $3.5M which is a massive pay cut from the almost $8M that Tillman made last season. That is a big sacrifice from Tillman, but it is also indicative of the market for a 33-year-old corner who struggled with injuries in 2013 missing 8 games. He also struggled in the 8 games he did play, earning a -6.5 grade from Pro Football Focus. Tillman is only a year removed from his Pro Bowl campaign in 2012 when he forced 10 fumbles, made 86 tackles, and was PFF’s 3rd rated corner in the league with a 23.8 grade.

Here is what Bears GM Phil Emery had to say about Tillman at today’s press conference: “Charles is one of the NFL’s great players and a true leader on and off the field and we’re happy he will be staying in Chicago… He remains the best in our game at forcing turnovers and always has brought a tough, physical presence to our secondary.” Agreed!

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

I rarely let emotions cloud my analysis of Bear players, but Tillman is an exception. He is one of my favorite Bears of all time and I am pretty happy that Emery decided to bring him back.

Twitter: @MikeFlannery_

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Tags: Charles Tillman Chicago Bears Free Agency

  • bearisity

    Did they bring him back as a corner or as a safety?

    • Mike Flannery

      Good question. I hear he wants to play corner, but no word on where the Bears plan to play him.

      • LaughHammer

        My friend Scott who is interning said he will come back this year going into camp and the season as the starting corner. He also said there is a chance he may see some time in training camp lining as the strong safety as opposed to free safety, so that he provides more support in the run, as opposed to being responsible for single coverages on the deep routes and such. I’m trying to think who in the NFL mad that kind of change that relates. I don’t know if Darrel Green did that or not. Darrel Green never really lost a step in speed, he’s still fast even today for his age.

        • Mike Flannery

          Both Charles Woodson and Rod Woodson switched to safety in their 30s and it added a few more productive seasons to their respective careers.

          • Mike Flannery

            Lions FS Quin Glover played corner his first few years in the NFL and has turned into a solid safety.

          • LaughHammer

            I knew it was a Steeler that moved but the name blanked me. As far as Charles, I never think about the Packers. I even forgot about McMahon and McMichael when they put on those colors.

      • LaughHammer

        BTW Mike, I like what you’re doing with your blog or commentary. Your forum is turning out pretty good, and you don;t seem to have the usual group of beer drinking tools, that come in without any common sense and trash conversation with lack of intelligence.

        • Mike Flannery

          Thanks. There are some of those types that comment, but I only hear from them when I criticize the Packers.

          • LaughHammer

            HA HA! You can never get rid of those types.

  • mmattucc

    Great move by the Bears. Still wouldn’t mind them targeting Justin Gilbert with the 14th pick to be the heir to the Tillman throne.

    • LaughHammer

      NO WAY! The best way to improve a secondary is to VASTLY improve the pass rush. The year they won the superbowl their secondary was average at best, Their front 7 made that defense dominant as hell. They need to draft either Jernigan or Donald. If they don’t get either one of those guys, I bet they go after Ha Ha Nix. Fencik and Duerson got tons of interceptions because of QB’s that were throwing the ball off their back foot, why they were going down, and out of out right fear of getting their privates pounded into the turf. Especially at Soldier Field and other places that had the old Astro Turf.

      • mmattucc

        Donald or Jernigan alone wouldn’t fix the pass rush problems. But Jared Allen would definitely help. This all depends on Melton as well.

        • Mike Flannery

          Jared Allen is still a possibility, but Bears are running out of cash. His price would have to come down significantly, like <$5M

          • LaughHammer

            I have read on a couple of sites and also heard a report that anything under 6.5 million would have Allen contemplating retirement. One name that I have given a lot of thought to that not many others on many of the Bears sites mention, that I feel might be a good addition for 1-2 years in my opinion is Kiesel from Pittsburgh if the price is right. He’s hard nosed, he’s a good locker room guy, he’s a Bill Cowher lunch pale player, and I think he’s the kind of guy next to a 3 technique that would be a good influence for a rookie, if the Bears bring in a Donald or Jernigan in the draft.A couple of my friends mentioned Ziggy Hood, but to be honest I watch a lot of Steelers games, and to me I can only think of maybe 4 times all year, where I honestly remember him making an impact play, or heard his name called on a big play. Kiesel always seems like a guy who absorbs multiple players to free up linebackers and ends to make big plays when I watch the Steelers.

          • Mike Flannery

            They had Hood playing as a 3-4 DE, I think moving him inside to DT like he played in college would have been interesting. He already signed though with the Jags (4-yr, $16M). Way too much imo

        • LaughHammer

          Melton is a Seahawk

      • Mike Flannery

        I agree that improving the front 7 is more important then adding another CB in the first round. I like Donald, Jernigan, or even Ealy at 14. You can never have enough pass rushers.

  • LaughHammer

    I commented on another one of your posts yesterday that he would be back. I was hearing it was going to be basically a 2 year deal with a club option for a 3rd. I was also hearing that 2.5 million was all guaranteed this year as a signing bonus. I have a buddy who is interning as a journalist who was giving me some insight into the matter. I’m sure they agreed that this is probably either a swan song for Peanut, or a deal like Peyton Manning where the team and the player will go year by year. If he bounces back healthy and has a way above average year, maybe he makes a 2 year run, or gets an extension. Maybe he moves to nickel or safety and his playing time is diminished to keep him healthier. He does solidify that backfield.

    • LaughHammer

      Tillman get 3.5 for 1 year with 2.5 guaranteed. According to what my friend who is a intern journalist is telling me, it could be that the Bears and Tillman reached an agreement where he may get another chance to get another year or 2 added depending on how this season goes, sometime before the season is over. There may also be a move to nickel of strong safety as part of his re-up with the team in the future. anyway you look at it, I’m glad he is back. He is the glue that held that secondary together.