Since free agency started last Wednesday the Bears have again opened up the purse strings in another attempt to shore up the defensive side of the ball. Chicago’s inked Danny Trevathan(ILB, Broncos), Jerell Freeman(ILB, Colts), and most recently Akiem Hicks(DE, Patriots) to deals which in theory should improve one of the worst defensive units in the league. Last year Chicago kept the same mindset adding Pernell McPhee, Tracy Porter, and Antrel Rolle to their team during free agency. In 2014 they nabbed Lamarr Houston with a big money deal with the idea that he could flourish and become the guy to replace Julius Peppers’ productivity on the line. Unfortunately none of these deals have worked out the way the front office had hope, with the Bears remaining in the cellar of the NFC North for the past two seasons combining for 11 wins.
The fact of the matter is that the Bears are continuing to try and spend money to solve their problems. The history of the league has proven that this isn’t the way to build a championship contender. Most teams that have sustained success are built through the draft while holding team friendly deals with players who’re playing above their pay grade. The Packers are a clear cut example of this in the division, while other teams such as Seattle, New England, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore are models around the NFL.
Chicago’s need for defense comes after a season in which they flirted with the 500 mark several times throughout the year after opening 2015 with one of the toughest schedules in football for the first six weeks. Chicago’s offense was not the problem this year, much like it hasn’t been for the past few. Chicago’s inability to get to the quarterback while causing turnovers is something that has been a problem since the last time they went to the playoffs in 2010. Under John Fox Chicago has changed their system around going back to a 3-4 defense which is the reason behind bringing in a bunch of linebackers who can move around in the formation. Chicago has no one in the middle to stuff the run, and the only hope for the future is Eddie Goldman, who looks like he’ll be a good player but in no way a game changer to this point.
Spending big on free agents is something a bad team does to try and get the fans excited for the upcoming season. The teams that have all made the playoffs last year remain quiet waiting for the bargains. Chicago was smart to let Matt Forte go, additionally they were shrewd to take the money saved from Forte and invest it in a guy like Trevathan. The downside to this spending spree is that this has been the Bears way of doing things for the past few years with the same result. It’s insane to think that finally these guys will all gel and form a tenacious defense in the black and blue division. Chicago hasn’t had a good track record of drafting dating back to the Phil Emery days, and while Ryan Pace has only had one crack at it, he seems to be repeating the same mistakes Emery had while he was manning the ship.
Another five or six win campaign is totally unacceptable. Add to the fact that Chicago’s continuing to spend big on the open market with porous results shows that throwing money at a problem is never a good move. Patience is key and right now the Bears appear to not have any of that.