There has been enough venting in comments posted on here to last a car ride from Halas Hall to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, and back.
The Bears are cheap and they never spend any money. Just look at what’s left to do for an offense in need of a tackle, guard, running back, receiver and, oh yeah, quarterback. (Those needs, by the way, are in no particular order of priority).
The club brought back linebacker Lance Briggs at its price, got out of the bidding for wide receiver Bernard Berrian when the money escalated far above what it was willing to pay. And then waited. While some rank-and-file offensive linemen signed elsewhere, the Bears stood pat. Then, they brought back Marty Booker for essentially the money they had earmarked for fellow receiver Muhsin Muhammad before he was released. And they added another receiver in Brandon Lloyd for the minimum-salary benefit. If he goes bonkers on the sidelines as he once did in Washington, he’s gone.
What’s left in terms of needs will be filled mostly through the draft.
As Goose points out, the last three Super Bowl winners—the New York Giants, Indianapolis and Pittsburgh—sat on their wallets in the free agency period leading in to their championship seasons. Free agency isn’t what it once was, and this class in particular was not loaded with difference makers. When you’re paying top dollar for rank-and-file players, a term general manager Jerry Angelo likes to use, you’re overspending.
Sure, the test will be for the Bears to hit with some players in this draft, but chasing after some average linemen in free agency with the McCaskeys’ checkbook probably would have been a mistake. Now, could the Bears have used wide receiver Bryant Johnson? Could they have signed him to a modest deal? Yes and yes. But Angelo has a thing for not wanting young players to be suffocated by veterans. Devin Hester needs an opportunity. Mark Bradley needs one as well. I’d make the case Bradley is no longer young, that he’s a player with an injury history. But Angelo is making the calls.
Here’s one other point to consider in free agency. Don’t the contracts cornerbacks Nathan Vasher and Charles Tillman received last summer look pretty good right now?
Both would have been in this free-agent class (provided the franchise tag wasn’t used on one) and the Bears got them done with good contracts before last season. Tillman got $38 million in new money with a six-year extension. Vasher’s five-year deal totaled $28 million in new money and he’ll have pocketed more than half of it by the end of this coming season.
DeAngelo Hall landed $66.28 million in a seven-year deal from Oakland after being traded from Atlanta. Marcus Trufant just signed in Seattle for $50.2 million over six years. The Eagles brought Asante Samuel into the nest for $57.14 million. You can make a case these three players are a notch above Tillman and Vasher. There's a steep difference in pay, though.