Dec 15, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns running back Edwin Baker (27) runs past Chicago Bears outside linebacker James Anderson (50) during the third quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports
Phil Emery did a great job of filling out key positions of need with veterans on 1-year deals. After the initial wave of free agency, when the big name guys get scooped up, the second wave will present opportunities to go bargain shopping. Guys like DJ Williams and James Anderson on the defensive side and Eben Britton and recently resigned Matt Slauson jump to mind.
This season, there might be an opportunity to bring back some guys who finished the season on IR at a discount. Guys like DJ Williams, Henry Melton, Nate Collins and Kelvin Hayden could come back on a “prove it” deal at a discount.
Dec 29, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall (15) with the ball during the first quarter against the Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Another way to save a few bucks is to take an existing deal, extend it and spread the money around over a few years. The most obvious choice for that is Brandon Marshall. He’s set to count $9.3 million against the 2014 cap. A nice deal to extend him 2-3 more years would make a lot of sense. Put him on the same schedule as Cutler and keep him around to continue to mentor Jeffery and bring along other wide receivers.