The Truth Behind the Chicago Bears 43 Free Agents

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Heads could be rolling at Halas Hall next season (Photo: Chicago Tribune)

A lot has been made of the 43 upcoming free agents that are on the Chicago Bears roster, setting up a Super Bowl or Bust Up scenario for a team that could be on the cusp of a major overhaul.  The fact that 43 of the 90 men on the roster are in the final year of their deal could be daunting, but the reality is much less scary.

Here’s a list of all 43 free-agents-to-be, thanks to the Sun Times’ Adam Jahns:

TE Kyle Adams

RB Armando Allen

LB James Anderson 

WR Joe Anderson

WR Devin Aromashodu

C Taylor Boggs

DB Zackary Bowman

OT Cory Brandon

OL Eben Britton

DT Nate Collins

LB Blake Costanzo

QB Jay Cutler 

TE Brody Eldridge

DT Sedrick Ellis

DE Jamaal Anderson

FB Tony Fiammetta

LB Jerry Franklin

C Roberto Garza 

K Robbie Gould 

CB Kelvin Hayden 

KR Devin Hester 

DT Corvey Irvin

WR Jerrell Jackson

CB Tim Jennings 

LS Patrick Mannelly 

DE Turk McBride

DE Josh Williams

QB Josh McCown

DB Sherrick McManis

DT Henry Melton 

DE Kyle Moore

S Tom Nelson

TE Fendi Onobun

DT Cheta Ozougwu

OT Jonathan Scott

OG Matt Slauson 

S Craig Steltz

CB Charles Tillman 

RB Harvey Unga

OT J’Marcus Webb

LB D.J. Williams 

OL Edwin Williams

DE Corey Wootton

S Major Wright 

S Tom Zbikowski

These guys represent just over $65.3 million in cap space this season but many of them are unlikely to even make the final 53-man roster.

Only 15 of the 43 are what I would consider key guys, guys who are starters or playing key roles.  The other 28 guys certainly have value and might surprise us, but if we were using baseball stats, their respective WARs (Wins Above Replacement) wouldn’t be all that high.

Of those 15, you’ve got the two rent-a-linebackers DJ Williams and James Anderson.  Now that DJ Williams is injured, he might just Wally Pipp’ed right out of a job.  There are rookies on the roster who will be expected to supplant the veterans some time this season, maybe sooner than later.  Phil Emery and the Bears need to see what they have in those guys to know how to approach free agency.  If we assume the rookies will pan out, the list goes down to 13.

Of the 13 guys remaining, you have three specialists in Robbie Gould, Patrick Mannelly and return specialist Devin Hester.  We certainly can’t undermine the contributions these guys have made to the Bears organization, they’re still just specialists, on the field for only a handful of plays each game.  Are they valuable? Of course.  Are they replaceable?  I think so.  That whittles our list down to 10 key guys.

Let’s take a closer look at those 10 and decide how many should really stick around.