The Bears have landed a pretty big fish with the signing, late into the free agency period, of Jared Allen from the Minnesota Vikings.
It has been two weeks since free agency started and names have been flying with the money. The NFC North has been particularly active with the top teams adding some high-priced players to help bolster their attack on both sides of the ball. The Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers have been trading blows (literally) in the offseason much like they do on the field. Chicago started it off by adding Lamarr Houston from Oakland then Green Bay countered with acquiring Julius Peppers. Now Chicago has answered by bringing in Jared Allen.
The Bears obvious need this year is defense after last year’s debacle in Week 17. Chicago had one of the most prolific offenses in the game and now need to turn their attention to the other side of the ball. The additions of Houston, Allen, Mundy and Jennings have been to shore up the defensive core and they should all be opening-day starters. Although the Bears lost Henry Melton, he wasn’t worth paying $8.5 million to be an interior lineman. Perhaps it was a shrewd move given his climbing age and lack of importance at the position.
Given the assets that teams are collecting I’ve got a renewed sense of the importance of the passing game on both sides. Chicago has the best outside WR combination in the game with Marshall and Jeffery and a solid TE in Bennett. In this offseason the money has gone league-wide to the cornerbacks, outside pass-rushers and safeties. Chicago has been no different in this respect by disregarding the run game and focusing on stopping the aerial attacks. This is a lot tougher to do on the field than it is on paper given players in the division like Aaron Rodgers and Calvin Johnson.
Chicago has kept their best corner – Charles Tillman – while bringing in another (Jennings) and a safety (Mundy). The Bears during re-signed Tim Jennings and should be in the market for a defensive back of any sort in the draft. The likes of Hah-Ha Clinton-Dix or Justin Gilbert would look great in a Bears uniform next year. Chicago currently holds the 14th, 51st and 82nd picks in the draft. Don’t be surprised if all three of those players are in some form or another involved in stopping the pass. Most certainly the Bears will look to grab a secondary player with the 14th selection unless someone falls in their laps and needs to be taken. With all the quarterbacks projected to be taken in the top-10, the draft could prove to be very beneficial to this team.
Without a doubt GM Phil Emery is wasting no time trying to wrestle the division away from the cheeseheads to the north. There’s no doubt that if Jay Cutler stays healthy for an entire season the Bears should not only win the division but get a bye into the divisional weekend.