S Duron Harmon, Patriots – The Bears badly need an experienced and reliable coverage safety. Their defense was burned repeatedly by their safeties being in the wrong place in coverage and taking poor angles after the catch.
Tony Jefferson might be the top free agent safety, but I think Harmon might be a better fit for what the Bears need. Jefferson excels in the box and is decent in coverage, but it’s in coverage where the Bears safeties really got killed last year.
Harmon was the Patriots third safety last year but was on the field for the majority of defensive snaps with so many teams running three-four receiver sets. He played in the box occasionally, but mostly as a single-high safety where he excelled.
Harmon gave up only 0.14 yards per coverage snap in each of the last two seasons, which was good for 2nd among all safeties last year and 4th in 2015. For his career, he’s allowed just a 78.0 QB rating against according to Pro Football Focus.
Not only do the Bears need a safety that’s good in coverage, but they also need one that can force turnovers. The Bears entire group of safeties were involved in just two turnovers total last season. As a part-time player over the last three seasons, Harmon’s has seven interceptions, 13 pass deflections, two fumble recoveries, and a forced fumble.
A former third-round pick in 2013, Harmon just turned 26 in January and has been stuck behind All-Pro Devon McCourty at free safety. The Pats are trying to bring Harmon back, but he’s rumored to be looking for a chance to start and the Bears happen to have a couple of openings at the safety position.
Predicted contract: 4 years, $22M