Chicago Bears Free Agency Wish List: Defensive Backs

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /
3 of 3
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

Depth with upside

CB Jeremy Lane, Seahawks (25) – Somewhat of an unknown after only starting 6 games in four years, but Lane played very well late last season after coming back from two major injuries suffered after an interception during the 2014 Super Bowl (ACL tear, broken arm). Over the final four games of last year (2 starts), Lane graded out positively by Pro Football Focus and was in the top 15 in yards allowed when target.

Lane is a little small for Seahawks standards (6’0, 190) but that is still above-average length for the rest of the NFL and would potentially give the Bears two 6 foot+ starting corners (Lane, Fuller) outside the hashes. He’s got a thin build, but Lane’s aggressive against both against the run and as a hitter in coverage. The primary question mark with Lane is whether he can stay healthy for a full season. Injury concerns will most likely keep the contract short-term, but Lane has flashed enough talent to get a significant raise from the $660k he made last season.

Projected salary: 2-yrs, $6M

S David Bruton, Broncos (25) – A former 4th round pick in 2009, Bruton entered the league as a safety prospect with ideal size (6’2 | 219) and athleticism (4.40 40-time | 41.5″ vertical | 11′ broad) but very raw safety skills. He made his mark early in his career as a special teams ace but has developed over the years into a reliable safety for the Broncos and even started three games for the #1 defense in the league last year before breaking his leg late in the season.

Bruton occasionally struggles in man coverage but is above average in the deep zone and a sure tackler against the run. Obviously Bears HC John Fox is familiar with Bruton from his time in Denver and Bruton’s versatility to play either strong or free safety should appeal to DC Vic Fangio. Even if Bruton can’t crack the starting lineup, the Bears would be getting an upgrade to their special team’s coverage unit which struggled often last season.

Projected Salary: 3-yrs, $6M

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /

CB Tracy Porter, Bears (29) – The Bears signed Porter on a one-year veteran minimum deal last season and for most of 2016 he was the best corner on the team and at times one of the best in the NFC. His play slipped a little down the stretch, but he was above-average for most of the season. His best game was during the Bears surprising Thanksgiving upset of the Packers when Porter became the first player ever to record four pass breakups against Aaron Rodgers in one game.

Staying healthy has always been Porter’s biggest problem, but when 100% he proved last year that he is still a starting-caliber NFL corner. Porter’s injury risk and history with Pace, Fox, and now Fangio could give the Bears a little discount on a corner who should get a significant raise from the veteran minimum Porter made last season. The Bears should bring him back, but also either sign or draft enough DB depth that they don’t have to rely on Porter staying healthy all season.

Projected salary 2-yrs, $5M