Chicago Sun-Times

Bears search for safety while Harris cashes in

| 21 Comments | No TrackBacks

It didn’t take Chris Harris too terribly long after being traded to the Carolina Panthers at the start of training camp to realize the move was the best thing for his career.

A sixth-round pick by the Bears in 2005, Harris was going to a team that really wanted him. Castoff players in camp get dealt for conditional draft picks, often times seventh rounders. Carolina forked over a fifth to the Bears, which helped them replace the one they gave up to acquire defensive tackle Darwin Walker, and that showed a commitment to Harris.

The Panthers firmed up that commitment late Wednesday night, agreeing to a four-year extension for Harris through 2012. The deal brokered by agent Albert Elias was reported by ESPN’s Len Pasquarelli. The contract will average about $3 million annually in new money and Harris will bank at least $5.5 million over the first two years. Harris was not going to become a free agent until after this coming season.

Harris had 97 tackles, eight forced fumbles and an interception in making 15 starts for Carolina.

So, he gets the longterm security every player seeks and the Bears head toward free agency and the draft in need of a safety.

Adam Archuleta didn’t pan out as a starter this past season, but the veteran has already received all of the big money in his contract that was re-worked when he was acquired from the Washington Redskins. In terms of money, Archuleta isn’t a problem moving forward. His pay for 2008 will be just $730,000, the minimum for an eight-year veteran. That’s the kind of pay you expect a backup to be getting, and that’s not the most pressing issue.

The matter the Bears need to tend to is finding a starting safety. They know they cannot count on Mike Brown, even if they deem him worth retaining, so the search goes forward.

No TrackBacks

TrackBack URL: http://blogs.suntimes.com/cgi-bin/mt-tb.cgi/6680

21 Comments

seeing that the crop of safeties in this year's draft is very weak, it'll be disappointing if angelo doesn't make a legitimate run at ken hamlin, gibril wilson or eugene wilson in free agency. this team should've been mike brown-proofed three years ago.

Any opinion as to whether you think they will pursue a S via free agency vs. the draft?

If you told me either Adam Archuleta or Mike Brown was going to be on the roster to begin the 2008 season, I'd tell you that Jerry Angelo is no longer the GM. However, at 30, and having been a Bears fan my whole life, I know I'm most likely be wrong on both counts here and that is why the Bears organization is second rate. Archuleta was an absolute disgrace last year and Angelo and Smith should both lose their jobs for missing sooooo bad on the guy.

the bears will not pick up a safety in the 1st rd. i guess you guys forgot about kevin payne they like him a lot. i'm not saying we don't need to draft a safety but you never know how someone is going to panout take chris harris for example. dont listen to the media they just want big names to put on there fantasy football rosters.

I think they should pursue a safety in free agency, and save OL for the draft, which is deep this year. I know Faneca is avaialable, but he's 31 and not getting any younger. I would like to see Hamlin or Gibril, but don't know enough about them to know whether they'd fit into our ancient cover two. Archuleta has been a disaster and should not even be on a roster. We either traded or let go arguably the three hardest hitters on the team in C. Harris, Todd Johnson, and Cameron Worrell. That tells me there is a problem in coaching and management. Come on, who would you rather have on the field - Chris Harris or Danieal Manning? I hope the rumors are not true that Harris was traded to keep room for the only friend Cedric Benson has, who happened to be a safety (D. Manning, I believe it was; correct me if I'm wrong). If Jerry allowed that to happen, he should be fired, along with Lovie, who is trying to turn the Beloved into a dome team a la the Rams of 7-8 years ago and has yet to figure out he doesn't play on turf or in a dome. I feel bad for the next coach because he will be cleaning up Lovie's mess for his first three years.

Of all the moves, Jerry Angelo has made throughout his tenure - this one had me "scratching my head" the most....Harris was a proven hitter and player. You can never have enough depth. When the trade happened it made me uncomfortable that they would trade such a young proven player for basically nothing when depth is so important.

This was not a money issue ala Briggs and Colvin. It reminds me a bit of the Engram move....He has been solid with Seattle.

Kevin Payne already hurt again?...McGowan isn't still healthy?...Archuletta is still on the team?


I think the Bears won´t select a safety with their firsts picks in the draft and neither they will make a lot of effort in FA. They should focus first on the Oline, then maybe at QB, and in the third they should pick a RB (a strong, Nort-South Rb, maybe more close to a FB) and a WR (to develop, not to produce inmediately). Then we must address the defense (in this order): S, DT, LB.
Because of the depth of this year Oline class, i won´t mind if they trade down their first pick (maybe we can get a late first round and a second, or two seconds). That would be better as we need an overhaul at several key positions.

I liked the way McGowan and Manning played towards the end of the year. Manning always seemed to be a step behind the play, though. All season I can't remember a safety breaking up a pass downfield, let alone intercepting one. I feel like they needed to be coached up better. Instead of just dropping straight into his zone, a safety needs to identify where he's being attacked and drifting to that area early instead of just dropping straight back then trying to break once the ball's in the air. We saw over and over that that cookie cutter technique of just playing your zone instead of the man in your zone will always leave your safety one step behind.

That being said, I don't think there's anything we can do to improve the safety position personell wise via free agency or the draft. Another team's castoff or an unexperienced rook is not going to improve our team. We really need to pray that Manning and Mcgowan just get better, and that Mike Brown can return to form. Don't write him off yet. I think he should go the Rodney Harrison Route, take HGH, and get healthy for the homestretch of his career and a run at the superbowl.

Bears should try to get Kenny Philips in the draft. Just the type of safety the Bears need to run the cover-2 efficiently.

Kenny Phillps saftey from Miami....make him the 1st pick and address the offense with free agency. The Bears need a physical and punishing saftey they can count on. Only a rookie RB has a chance of making the impact we need. Load up the d once again via the draft. What offensive player besides a top 5 pick and who's jot a RB can help the Bears with the dynamic offensive playmaking the needed month ago?

I loved Chris Harris. Good to see he had a great year...unfortunately for another team.

I have the components that will save the Bears and build a new NFL dynasty for many years to come. This comes from every Bears fan that's cares about this team and wants to see the second guessing end, now!

Free Agency:
-Sign Michael Turner: perfect compliment and definate successor to your very own "Cry Baby Benson. Just look how he ran through the best run D in the league, in Indianapolis. He shouldn't command an ungodly amount of money either, since he has been sitting behind LT his whole career. Play action last year was a joke, and for good reason.
-Sign Alan Faneca: R. Brown is far too old and Alan will open up some great holes on the left side (look what Steve Huthinson did for AP and Chester Taylor in Minnesota), while adding the type of strength, smarts and tenacity that has made Olin so successful. This will allow Josh Beekman to compete for Roerto Garza's un noticed job, who has been known to make costly mistakes and have blown assignments more than a starting NFL guard should.
- Finally, Sign Max Starks: He is one of the most promising young tackles in the game and will no doubt benefit form having an old teammate like Faneca on the line. Just look at how successful the Steelers O-line has been in running and protecting their QB. Enough said, Fred Miller as our starting right tackle, is old and done!

* Its no secret the Bears have more than enough money. They are listed in the bottom half of the league in salary cap room (practicaly every year), and need to dig a little in their already heavy pockets, to make these three critical moves (we're sitting at 19.8 mil under the cap). Now is not the time to be cheap. Pay these three missing pieces what they need!


Draft:
1st Round: 1 of the top three QBs should be available......probably Andre Woodson....don't take him here (too much of a reach)! After the senior bowl, I wouldn't be surprised if Brohm and Woodson lasted until mid third round. With that being said, take either Kenny Phillips, or the best available OT (if we don't sign Starks). Mike can't seem to stay healthy, Archaletta was a absolute joke in tackling this year, and of course his lack of speed got him out of position and beat many times. He's a special teamer at best. Chris Harris for an overpaid, underacheiving Archuletta (another one of Lovie's winners)....great job Angelo!

2nd Round: Take Flacco here! He is the absolute perfect fit for the Bears QBing situation. He has the size, arm strength and even the agility to move outside the pocket....something the Bears haven't seen since Bobby Douglas (the agility part).

1st 3rd Round pick: A hole stuffer like Frank Okam or that guy from Texas A&M, has to be the pick here. The nose tackle postion is something that Lovie thinks will just work itself out (it won't!). Tommie Harris cannot continue playing the way he does and expect to get, or stay healthy. We need a solid nose tackle that will not only help Tommie out but keep those pesky blockers off our playmaking linebackers. This was probably the biggest reason why Urlacher had a tougher year. Forget the stupid back problems, that was just a cover to keep the real issues hidden. Think Sam Adams/Tony Sirgusa with the 2000 Ravens D, or better yet, Keith Traylor/Ted Washington with the 2001 Bears. Notice a trend in great defensive play here? Dusty has yet to prove to be durable (38 minutes in two years..hmmmm), and Walker/Adams are soft. Ian Scott and Alfonso Boone were not great, but at least had a massive pressance in the middle. Make the pick Jerry, and fix it now!

2nd 3rd Round pick: Has to be the best LB available here. Lance may very likley be on his way out and Jamar Williams unfortunatley, is not the answer. Usually you can tell if a linebacker is going to be great within the first few games he plays, like we saw in the past with Lance and Brian. I feel the organization is putting too much faith in someone (Jamar) who is completely unproven, and in a position (Will Linebacker) that requires great, not just adequate athleticism and instinct. Jamar is simply another case made by our fantasic GM....we drafted him so he's got to be good, right? We could also use some real depth, even if Briggs decides to stay.

4th Round: A WR that can separate from DBs and can be just a reliable safety net for whoever is QBing (a Bobby Engram/Jeff Graham type...Ron Turner coached both so he should know). Nothing great, just a reliable, hard worker.

5th-7th Round- The best available for OL (prospect/back-up), LB (more depth/possible push for Hunter) and DL (more depth on line)

Signing the above free agents will make not only the team much improved, but will open up many more options through out the draft (as shown). The organization cannot continue to be frugal in free agency. If the coaching staff is going to consist of winners such as Bob Babich and Lovie's feared 2001 Rams defensive scheme (big laugh!!!), than it would behoove them to sign and draft it right this time. The time is now!!!!!

I guess alot of you bear fans have short memories.In the play-off game with Carolina,steve smith got past Tillman,he was suppose to get help from Chris Harris,but help never came.Harris always look lost in the cover-2, just like Archuletta

Bears need to sign a proven QB, why not Donovan McNabb, what do we have to lose, he's better than all three qb's combined that we have already

If chris harris finally figured how to quit being juked by every running backs first move he will be a fine safety but while on the bears that light never came on and I welcomed his departure. I would love to draft phillips, the safety from miami, but we really need offensive left tackle and anyone who really knows the misers of the midway know they wont take a QB first. I would love to see QB Flacco in the second round or maybe ryan. but if a good running back is available look what it did for Minnisotta. Also I believe we need to gear our draft towards containing Adrian Petterson and should find tackles and safetys big enough to stop the run. something chris harris could'nt do.

Flacco is going to be drafted too high and be a bust. We have a Flacco type QB in Orton (who showed enough promise to get a shot). Rex more than likely will be gone. Griese and Orton should have an open audition and then draft a 3rd stringer in the middle rounds. The bears need to replace Briggs with Urlacher and move Williams to the Middle. This will prolong Urlacher's career and he won't have to shed as many blocks. They also should consider rotating their LBs like they do with their DT and DE.

Come on Bear fans Chris Harris was trades because he was always out of position or getting beat.No problem with his hitting though.Manning is just plain awful.McGowen has alot of upside hes your guy....

Another bad idea last year to trade Harris. It's basically the Thomas Jones trade at a different position where we think we are so solid at a position and can afford to trade someone. Now look at what two of our biggest needs are (RB and S).

Archuleta is my most hated Bears player of all time.

SAD TO SAY THE BEAR COACHES AND MANGEMENT DESIRE ALL OF THE BLAME FOR A DISAPPOINTING SEASON.THEY WERE IN THE PERFECT POSITION TO MAKE IT BACK TO THE SUPERBOWL BUT DUMB DECISION MAKING JERRY ANGELO COST THEM THAT OPPURTUNITY.FIRST LETTING THOMAS JONES GO WAS NOT A SMART MOVE, HE WAS PROVING RUNNER, TOOK PRESSURE OFF OF REX, AND HIM TEAM WITH CEDRIC BENSON WAS A GOOD ONE-TWO COMBINATION. THOMAS WOULD SET UP DEFENSE BY TIRING THEM OUT AND CB WOULD JUST RUN PEOPLE OVER.PLUS COMPETITION ONLY MAKES RUNNING BACK BETTER.SECONDLY THE OFFENSE NEED TO BE COMPLETELY OVER HAULED, ALL OFF-SEASON AND DURING TRAINING CAMP ALL WE HEARD WAS HOW SPECTACULAR THE OFFENSE WAS GOING TO BE NOTHIG WAS FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH.DEVIN HESTER AND GREG OLSEN ARE IMPACT PLAYER THAT WERE NOT UTILIZED IN THE RIGHT WAY.LOVIE SHOULD OF TOOK SOME POINTERS FROM HIS FORMER COLLEAUGE MIKE MARTZ AND IMPLAMENTED A SPREAD OFFENSE.PUTTING HESTER IN THE SLOT IS A AUTOMATIC MISMATCH IN OUR FAVOR, EVEN PUT GARRET WOLFE IN THE SLOT WOULD SOME TO EXPERIMENT WITH.MORE TWO SET TIGHT END FORMATION WOULD REALLY OF REALLY HELP OUT GROSSMAN.A SPREAD OFFENSE WOULD HAVE BEEN KEY IN COUNTERING THE BLITZS THAT TEAMS RAN AGAINST THEM.LAST DEFENSE NEED TO GET STRONG UP THE MIDDLE, FINDING A STOUT DEFENSIVE TACKLE WOULD BENEFIT TOMMIE FROM NOT BEING DOUBLE TEAMED AS WELL AS NUMBER 54.THE YEAR URLACHER WON DEFENSIVE MVP HE HAD WASHINGTON/TAYLOR PLUGGING THING UP THE MIDDLE. ALSO PLAY MIX UP DEFENSIVE SCHEMES LIKE THE PAT DO.MARK ANDERSON IS PERFECT FOR A 3-4.UPGRADING SAFETY WOULD NTO HURT NEITHER GET SOME ONE WHOSE A HARD HITTER AND CAN B A 8TH MAN INTHE BOX IS KEY

How come a guy who was so out of place have 8 forced fumbles(Team record) with another team? Fans were blaming him for every little thing. Guys act like no one should ever make mistakes or give up TDs. Why is it that fans remember a guy for a TD every now and then? Quick reminder: guys in 85 gave up TDs. So what. Guys in the hall of fame gave up TDs. What should they do take them out just because they gave up a TD. You guys constantly run players out of town for not being perfect. That's why you can"t keep a QB or anyone not named Urlcher because he's the only one you deem perfect.

Leave a comment

Twitter updates

Categories

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on February 14, 2008 7:38 AM.

Ranking the upcoming draft class was the previous entry in this blog.

Mike Brown, Ruben Brown: A year older and hoping for work is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.