Chicago Bears Free Agency Wish List: Defensive Backs
CB Sean Smith, Chiefs (28) – The Bears need a play-maker at corner after finishing 2nd to last in the league with just 8 interceptions as a team, which unfortunately isn’t Smith’s strength. He’s never had a season with more than 2 picks, but the Bears also need a tall corner, which Smith at 6’4 fits the bill. Smith missed the first three games of last season due to a suspension and took a few games to get back into playing shape, but the Chiefs secondary was much better in the 2nd half of the season when Smith played well. He finished in the top 12 overall in completion percentage allowed on passes thrown his way (PFF). Smith also has shown the rare ability to be a physical press corner without drawing penalties, he wasn’t called for any during the whole 2014 season.
The Bears signed a tall corner last off-season, 6’2 Alan Ball, but he was worthless and won’t be back. Smith, on the other hand, has been very good the last three years and even made Pro Football Focus’ All-Pro team in 2014. His lack of interceptions might keep the price down a little, but he’s still relatively young (28), has been solid for three seasons in a row, and there aren’t any other 6’4 corners with Smith’s ability out there so he won’t be cheap. The Bears could use a corner with length to handle the NFL’s bigger receivers and Smith is one of the best tall corners in the league.
Projected salary: 4-yrs, $40M
S George Iloka, Bengals (25) – With both the Vikings and Lions rumored to be interested in Iloka, the Bears will have to act fast if they want to sign the former Bengals starting safety. Iloka has unusual size for a safety (6’4, 225) and can be a force in the box against the run. He also moves well (4.6 speed) and has improved his coverage so much over the last two seasons that he actually graded out higher in coverage (+7.4) than against the run last year according to Pro Football Focus. His ability to play both in the box and in single-deep coverage would give DC Vic Fangio the type of versatility he prefers in his safeties, allowing him to disguise his schemes better pre-snap. Iloka has shown significant improvement over the last few seasons and at only 25 years old, his best football could still be ahead of him.
Projected salary: 4-yrs, $22M
Next: Depth with Upside