Jan 19, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) fumbles after being hit by Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett (72) during the second half of the 2013 NFC Championship football game at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Free agency is just days away. For many teams, it’s an annual right of spring to dream of quick fix free agents to solve their teams’ problems and pave the way to a Super Bowl. That’s certainly what the Bears had in mind when they signed Julius Peppers to a monster $84 million deal back in 2010. Peppers was supposed to be that one key free agent who was going to fix the Bears pass rush and put the Bears defense over the top and carry the Bears to a championship. Now it appears that the Bears are ready to move on from Peppers and you can’t help but say that the experience was a failure.
The Bears need to learn a lesson from the Peppers deal – big free agent dollars do not equal championships. Look to consistent playoff contenders like the Packers and Patriots to see the path to the Super Bowl doesn’t usually go through the ATM and big free agent spending.
The Free Agent Market is very much like any other economy, it’s about supply and demand. The supply of high quality defensive ends is low and the demand is high. That means a high price tag. When free agency opens next Tuesday, the price will be the highest for the few remaining high quality defensive ends like Michael Bennett, Lamarr Houston and Michael Johnson. Same goes for safeties Jairus Byrd and TJ Ward. There will be a mad dash to secure the services of the top flight guys.
The knee jerk reaction and what every fan wants is a quick fix. Go out and back the Brinks truck up to Michael Bennett’s door and have an instant pass rusher. Have Phil Emery show up and Jairus Byrd’s door with a wheelbarrow full of money and say bye bye to the Major Wright and Chris Conte fiasco. We’ve been down this road before Bears fans and we don’t want a repeat.
As much as they have to fix the defense, it’s not simply a “just add water” solution. The Bears need to head into free agency with some fiscal responsibility. They’re going to have to pay to keep Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. There are a lot of holes to fill and not every one of them is going to be a Pro Bowler. There will be a mix of young players added through the draft. Adding a couple of key vets and making one big splash would be fine by me.