With the season finally over, it’s time to start looking at the 2017 season and what decisions the Bears are going to make before next year. The Bears have 27 free agents and before they start focusing on external options and the draft, they need to figure out who they want to bring back from this year’s roster.
I’ve already covered the offensive free agents and I’ll break down the decisions I’d make on the Bears defensive free agents.
Bears Free Agents: Defense
OLB Sam Acho – I like Acho as a reserve pass rusher and special teams player. By all accounts, he’s also a solid presence in the locker room, sets a good example for younger players, and gives it his all on the field. He’s just not a first division player.
Acho has gotten plenty of snaps the last two years with all the injuries to Pernell McPhee and Leonard Floyd, but he’s not an impact pass rusher. In 13 starts over the last two seasons, Acho has just one sack.
There is a limit to how much hard work and good effort can impact a team. Acho seems like a great guy, but if the Bears are going to become a competitive team they need to upgrade their talent level wherever they can.
If Acho was still on his rookie deal, then it might make more sense to bring him back. Unfortunately, he’s 28 years old and a minimum contract for Acho is going to cost right around a million per season.
It’s hard to quantify effort level, locker room presence, and similar intangibles, but ideally a player who brings those skills to the locker room can also add some production on the field. At his age, Acho has already reached his peak as a player and the Bears could use a player with more upside at the backup pass rusher position.
Verdict: Let him go
S Chris Prosinski – Bears fan were relieved when the team finally cut safety Chris Conte, until they signed his older, slower cousin Chris Prosinski. It’s a testament to how bad the Bears are at safety that Prosinski actually started six games for them the last two seasons.
To his credit, Prosinski played hard when on the field and actually made a couple nice plays over the last two years. There weren’t even close to enough good plays to cancel out all the ones he missed, but at least he gave it his all.
It’s time for the Bears to find some safeties that are actually good and not just guys that can be lauded for their effort level. I wish Prosinski the best in the job he’s most qualified for… coaching high school football.
Verdict: Let him go