Feb 18, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Pace speaks at a press conference during the 2015 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pace and the Chicago Bears are easing into the Free Agent Frenzy. He’s just dipping his toe into the water of the free agent pool and with a couple of moves under his belt, he’s showing that the Bears are willing to make some moves, but they’re not going to go hog wild. Let’s make this analogy for what Pace is facing with this Bears roster:
You’re heading out of town on a two week vacation and the airline loses your luggage. It’s nowhere to be found. The airline gives you a $500 check to compensate you for the loss. While you’re on vacation, do you go buy a $500 suit that you’ll have to wear all week or do you go to the Gap or Old Navy and buy enough clothes to last you the duration of the trip?
Pace is facing a familiar situation with this Bears roster he’s inherited. Jerry Angelo and Phil Emery lost his suitcase and left Pace to get a new wardrobe. Rather than diving into the free agent pool, Pace is inching in making strategic acquisitions while other teams set the market on some big ticket guys.
The Bears have busted out the checkbooks in past offseasons and where has it gotten them? Sure, they’ve picked up some quality pieces like Jermon Bushrod and Martellus Bennett to open free agency, but they’ve also picked some clunkers like Brandon Manumaleuna and Chester Taylor were also Day 1 pickups.
Big ticket free agents make sense in some circumstances. If you’re a team that believes that you’re one or two pieces away from a Super Bowl, go break the bank and bring in the guys you need to compete for a title like the Bears did when they signed Julius Peppers to a 6-year, $91 million deal to open free agency in 2010. Or, if you’re in a struggling market and you want to put some butts in the seats, go get someone who will draw well like Ndamukong Suh will help get fans to show up for Dolphins games just to see what he’s gonna do.
I don’t think the Bears are in either position. While they’re gutting the roster, they need a lot of pieces to convert the defense to a 3-4 scheme on the fly. Let’s face it, they’re more than a player or two away. Besides, when you dip into Free Agency, you’re going to overpay. We’ve had plenty of examples of the Bears ponying up big bucks to lure players away from their familiar situations into the unknown.
Players are creatures of habit and there’s a price to get them to change situations. That’s part of the old hometown discount that the Packers got when Randall Cobb turned down as many as five other offers to stay in Green Bay.
Pace promised us that the Bears would become a draft-driven team and that’s what it looks like he’s aiming to do. Get some young talent that you can pay reasonably to retain rather than doling out bloated contracts to other people’s castoffs.