Oct 26, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns free safety Tashaun Gipson (39) reacts after making a stop against the Oakland Raiders during the fourth quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Browns won 23-13. Mandatory Credit: Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports
With the offseason just over 24 hours away, it’s time to start looking at the additions the Chicago Bears could make to improve their team. I’m not sure how much cap room the Bears will have since the NFL has yet to determine how much the salary cap will increase for next year, but I expect them to have a decent chunk despite the large deals handed out to Brandon Marshall and the disappointing Jay Cutler. Any of these players could be resigned by their current teams or franchise tagged before the start of free agency in March, so this is more of a wish list than anything.
1. Tashaun Gipson, S, Browns: Gipson had a breakout season this year and has emerged as one of the top young talents at the position. He is solid against the run as well as in pass coverage, and I think he fits what Vic Fangio is looking for in his safeties perfectly. The 5-11, 205 pound undrafted free agent from Wyoming will be turning 25 in August, so the sky is the limit in terms of his developmental potential. Given the well documented troubles the Bears have had at the safety position the past few years, Gipson seems like a no-brainer. On the downside, Gipson is a restricted free agent so the Browns could give him a high tender offer to keep other teams away from him, but you can never count out a team as dysfunctional as the Browns have been since their reboot in 1999 from botching this situation.
2. Devin McCourty, S, Patriots: McCourty would probably be at the top of this list if he were a little bit bigger and played for another team during the course of his career. The Patriots have a history of making players look better than they are by adjusting their scheme to hide a given player’s flaws. Remember how good Patrick Chung was before he went to the Eagles? That worries me a little bit. Also, the 5-10, 195 pounder might not have ideal size to be as physical as Vic Fangio likes his safeties to be. That having been said, the converted cornerback from Rutgers doesn’t appear to have any flaws in his game, and at 27 years old he could be an answer to the Bears’ safety woes for years to come.