Tier 5 – Depth (<$1M): Most of these guys would be signing for basically the veteran minimum, so I left off their projected price tag. If I think they will get more than the minimum, there is a number next to their age. With the Bears tight against the cap they will need to find some value buys in this tier.
LB O’Brien Schofield, Seahawks (27) – Has played well whenever given the chance and I think he could beat out both McClellin and Bostic at strong-side LB if the Bears brought him on for the veteran minimum. Schofield is a strong tackler and has shown a knack for getting to the QB on blitzes.
LB Jo-Lonn Dunbar, Rams (28) – Was a stud in 2012 with 115 tackles & 5 sacks but had a down year in 2013. He missed the first 4 games due to a PED suspension and by the end of his suspension had lost his job to rookie Alec Ogletree. His lack of production in 2013 should mean a lower price tag than Dunbar is probably worth on the free agent market. Dunbar is not a great athlete; He gets by mostly on instinct and determination but he’s a sure tackler. After leading the league in missed tackles, the Bears could use one of those.
S Stevie Brown, Giants (27) – Missed the 2013 season with a knee injury but was a solid free safety in 2012 with good coverage skills. He’s a bit of a liability against the run but could provide value as a sub-package safety.
S Kendrick Lewis, Chiefs (28) – Showed flashes of being an every-down safety early in his career, but has stagnated with the Chiefs. A change of scenery and scheme could do wonders for Lewis. He could push Conte for the starting gig and provide solid depth with upside.
S Ryan Mundy, Giants (28) – Versatile safety who can play either safety position and was having the best season of his 6 year career until week 17 when he got roasted by Stafford and the Lions. Decent in coverage and verse the run, but doesn’t excel in either. I only have on this list because of the rumored Bears interest. I’m not sure why and think there are better fits out there for the veteran minimum.
S Steve Gregory, Patriots (31) – Filled in at both safety spots due to injuries and played surprisingly well for the Pats with a positive overall grade. Gregory is better against the run then the pass and ideally would be a backup strong safety.
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TE Anthony McCoy, Seahawks (26) – Missed all of 2013 with an injury (achilles) but showed flashes of being a decent receiver in 2012 (18, 291, 3). McCoy has good size, soft hands, and is pretty athletic after the catch with some big play potential. McCoy hasn’t shown much at the NFL level, but averaged over 20 yards per catch in college at USC.
RB Andre Brown, Giants (27, $2M) – Tough inside runner who has been excellent when healthy. That’s the rub as he can’t seem to hold up as a featured back. Brown could be great in a back-up roll which he could have with the Bears if/when they cut Michael Bush.
RB Toby Gerhart, Vikings (27, $2M) – Another tough runner who can get a yard or two when needed. Gerhart has been solid as a backup to AP and has been a decent starter when needed. His skill-set is better suited to a short yardage specialist which the Bear should be in the market for shortly.