Chicago Sun-Times

Four Down Territory, Feb. 17: Garcia to land in NFC North?

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Looks like things have quieted down a little bit around the league in what is usually a slow period leading up to free agency, which opens in 10 days. It's going to be very interesting to see how the shopping season opens up and we wrote about that last week. Mike Florio of Profootballtalk.com has an interesting take on it here, and he's not alone in thinking this could be a down year for free agency. Perhaps we'll get a feel for the action later this week at the combine. For now, let's jump into another Four Down Territory.

Q: Jeff Garcia has been a winner nearly everywhere he has played. Tampa Bay has decided to go with less than eight quarterbacks this offseason and he's one who will not be back. What are the chances the Bears attempt to sign him?

Eric G., Palatine

A: We're going to say the odds of the Bears pursuing Garcia are only slightly higher than the chances of them going after Kurt Warner, if indeed the two-time MVP makes it to free agency. Because like Warner, Garcia tried to land himself with the Bears before. His agent Steve Baker attempted to place his client at Halas Hall and didn't have success. Same thing goes for Warner, who expressed interest in coming to the Bears on two occasions.

Garcia has been with five teams in the last six seasons, and that's usually not a good sign. He hasn't played a full season since 2002. An ideal landing spot for him would be in Minnesota where the Vikings are a quarterback away from being a serious challenger. Whether or not Garcia, at 39, is the guy to get them to that level can be debated. He's probably got a better chance than Tarvaris Jackson or Gus Frerotte though, and he's actually played well the last three seasons when you look at the numbers. Garcia has serious experience in the West Coast offense that Brad Childress runs and he wouldn't have to be the star in a system that features running back Adrian Peterson.

Kevin Seifert at ESPN.com broke down the Garcia situation in the NFC North on Monday and did a thorough job. He says it's unlikely Garcia would return to Detroit for a second tour of duty. He rates the Bears' chances "possible" and calls the Minnesota situation "possible going on intriguing." Of course, Green Bay is not in the picture with Aaron Rodgers. Another team we've heard floated is Dallas where the Cowboys need a backup to Tony Romo. Garcia would probably seek a starting job with a competitive team like the Vikings before he would accept a position where he would be a clear No. 2. That's just our take though.


Q: I am slowly getting over the unceremonious dumping of Mike Brown by the Bears and can't understand why they wouldn't make a position available for him. That aside where do you see him playing in 2009?

Stanley L., West Palm Beach, Fla.

A: That's a good question. The best I can tell you right now is Brown's agent Ethan Lock indicated that his client wanted to continue his playing career. When you talk to coaches around the league, they've got all the respect in the world for him. But they haven't had to have the patience and resources in place to replace Brown over the last several seasons when he's been injured. Certainly, he'd bring value to a team if he can stay healthy and contribute. No question. At this point, I would be surprised if Brown was at the top of anyone's shopping list, however. He would be a complementary player that a team would maybe pursue in the second wave of free agency. We haven't spoken with Brown, and we're not going to pretend to know what he's thinking, but one would imagine he's looking for the right fit, too, and isn't just going to sign anywhere to continue his career.

The idea of Brown landing elsewhere has already popped up in some other cities. Here is what our friend Mike Reiss had to say in his blog for the Boston Globe when asked about Brown becoming the next Rodney Harrison in New England:

"My thought is that a player like Brown would impede a younger player that would be the preference at that spot. I could see him as a third or fourth option at safety, but given his recent injury history (missing 44 games in the last five years) I think it would be a concern to rely on him as a starter at this point. Brown is considered a smart player, a good locker room guy, and a leader, so he has that going for him, and those are all qualities the Patriots put a premium on."

And here is how Mike Triplett of the New Orleans Times-Picayune weighed in:

"I think Mike Brown in his prime would have been the perfect fit for this Saints defense. His skill set is exactly what they've been missing at free safety. He's a smart, instinctive leader who can run the defense from the back end. He's shown a knack for making plays, and he's a sure tackler. But he has battled injuries for the better part of the last five years, and he just turned 31. So it remains to be seen if the Saints want to target him or a younger player with more upside.

"One way or another, the free safety position will be a top priority in free agency. It's the Saints' most pressing need, it's a position that new coordinator Gregg Williams values, and they can't count on finding a starter in the draft. I don't think the Saints will go after Philadelphia's Brian Dawkins, who will likely stay with the Eagles. If he left, Dawkins wouldn't be a good value, because he'll get paid like an All Pro even though his best years aren't ahead of him. ... And I don't think the Rams are going to let free agent stud Oshiomogho Atogwe get away. They've made it clear they want to re-sign him.

"Among the possible Saints' targets at both free and strong safety are veterans like Brown and Minnesota's Darren Sharper, if they choose to go that route, or younger guys like Cleveland's Sean Jones, New England's James Sanders and Jacksonville's Gerald Sensabaugh. Sensabaugh makes some sense because he had his best season to date under Williams' tutelage last year."

Stay tuned on this one.


Q: Aside from one game, with no real preparation, why wouldn't the coaching staff look at moving Danieal Manning to corner? Seeing how he excelled at nickel back, and with the fact that he has size, speed and is "the best athlete on the team" ... with an entire offseason to learn the position, he could be a stud at corner.

Andrew B., New York

A: The Bears have been down that road before. Manning made two starts at right cornerback in Weeks 5 and 6 of the 2007 season. The more the team has moved the second-round pick from 2006 around, the more it has had to endure growing pains. Manning went from free safety to cornerback to free safety to nickel back and then he closed out last season in a spot start at free safety at Houston. The best thing for him is going to be to get one position and stick with it. Expectations are that spot will be nickel back in 2009. That's where he excelled this past season and playing nickel wouldn't preclude him from any duties on special teams, kickoff returns included.


Q: You mentioned that the Bears 2009 salary cap will not be mean a whole lot whether it's at $20 million or $30 million. That being said, how much to the Bears average in annual spending acquiring free agent players? How does it rank with the rest of the league, and do you expect the Bears to spend more than usual this off-season than usual?

Geoff, Maui, Hawaii

A: That's a good question and the answer probably isn't a very good one. It depends on the year. The Bears were near the middle of the pack in terms of actual money spent on players this past season, all players not just through free agency. When you look at the money the team spent on the free-agent market last season, it was minimal. They re-signed Lance Briggs and did some bargain shopping with some waived free agents. But when you consider what general manager Jerry Angelo did in terms of re-signing his own players, there was plenty of activity. That's where the club chose to spend its money last year, investing $185.39 million in new contracts for 10 players. Of that total, roughly $59.2 million was guaranteed. Now, not all of that money was paid out at one time. The cash is spread out over the life of a deal, but that gives you an idea on some numbers from a year ago. No one expects the totals this year to come that high. Team president Ted Phillips has pledged that Angelo has no restrictions on his spending because of the economy and his football budget has not been reduced. Make sure you say hello over in Maui to the offseason mayor, Tom Thayer.

Thanks for all of the participation and for reading. We'll get into one more Four Down Territory for the week on Wednesday.

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13 Comments

By the start of next season, the Bears will have the worst QB in the NFC North!!!In the whole NFC, for that matter......wait, the whole NFL!!!!!! ORTON HAS GOT TO GO....NOW!!!!!!!

Question #1 Certainly Garcia knows the West Coast Offense. But Garcia is an old Kyle Orton, quick reads, quick release, reads defenses, a leader on the field, fairly accurate for passes up to about 30 yards. There must be a reason why Garcia has played for so many teams in so many years. Seems to be a little bit of a disturber in the lockerroom or maybe he just doesn't get along with the coaches that well? Give Caleb and Orton the reigns and who knows maybe Leftwich is the better pro to sign given that he has had numerous years to develop and sometimes QB's get better with age and experience. As a past first round draft pick he does have the arm and size one wants in a top level QB and did a very good job for Pittsburgh in limited duty this year.

Qustion for Brad, Quarterback, we are talking the Bears here, when was the last time a Bears QB was an NFL all pro? How many times have they had an all pro QB in the last 50 years?

Question #2 Letting Mike Brown is plain and simple A#1 mistake when there is noone to replace him and Brown knows the Bears D better than the coaches. Should have kept him and paid him to develop his replacement over the next year in a young draft pick like the kid from Alabama? BAd move JA and Lovie!!!

Question #3 Daniel Manning had a very tough time at corner and at safety, he has done great at the nickel which is being played alot more than it used to be in the NFL. Lets keep him at nickel and as Kick Returner, where he also excels.

Question #4 By signing your own players it is good in one sense but bad in another. It seems to me that much of that money can go right in the pocket of the McCaskey's and not spent on NFL needed talent, when cash comes back into the system when players are cut that were earning the big bucks. Its like the leprechans and the pot of gold, well only the McCaskey's know where the pot of gold is and they don't share it readily with needed free agents.

Dahlillama........The Punky QB was all-pro in 1985.....Brown had to go..too old, too slow, too injury prone...

As far as QB goes, I don't know who out there could help us with the problems we possess with the O-line, and the lack of receivers we have. I like Orton, I am a supporter of him, and God willing he steps up. But I fear that without the protection and skilled WRs he will suffer as well as the team. Now in my opinion, I wish the team would focus on signing a skilled WR who doesn't have a record of age and injury, a skilled RT, or LT if not both, and can you guys imagine what the line would look like with Hanesworth and Harris (The H Wall)? Adrian Peterson would probably have to take a different route.

I wonder if Angelo would trade Ogun or Urlacher for Albert or Boldin. If he'll use most of his draft picks for the o-line or trade or sign.

I don't know about yall, but I can't wait for the 27th.

Go Bears!

NBS,
Don't hold back. Let us know how you really feel.

dahlillama,

Garcia an old Orton? Dude!!!! They are about as alike as Paul Bunyon and Mighty Mouse. Do yourself a favor and call up their bios on nfl.com.

I don't know why Garcia bounces around so much. The guy produces every chance he gets to play. It's probably because NFL teams have always had trouble getting past the measureables. Garcia has lousy measureables. As a matter of fact so does Warner.

Garcia's still a decent quarterback. I would rather not see him with the Queens. They are much less threatening with the ongoing saga of T-Jack.

By Moses on February 17, 2009 5:33 PM
"Dahlillama........The Punky QB was all-pro in 1985.....Brown had to go..too old, too slow, too injury prone..."

No he was a Pro Bowler in 1985, he was never an All Pro. Brown didn't have to go, but if you are going to replace a guy you may want to do it before you let him go so you know you have a guy who can step in. Remember what Angelo said last year? Steltz is ready to start day one, these are the kinds of reads Angelo makes on players.

Hey Dahli wasn't some clown giving you a hard time for saying the Bears were cheap in free agency. Gosh looks like Brad just confirmed it. So you knew it and I knew it and a few of us know it, then there are the stupid people who are confused and think the Bears are about to bring in Boldin Haynesworth, Peppers and Gross.

But don't feel bad, I had an idiot tell me Chris Williams never had a back injury today and that I was somehow making it up. No joke, actually asked how I could be sure Williams hurt his back.

Hey Brad how come the Bears don't move Tillman to Saftie and who is Better Rex or Orton? Just kidding.

Brad: Do you get to go to the combine and is there any chance while you are there you could find Angelo and give him some draft notes from me? This way the delicate genius that is Jerry Angelo won't make as many mistakes in this draft.

Note #1 Don't draft Linemen with bad backs you f#####g moron.(Brad go ahead and staple this one to his face)

Note #2 Don't be affraid to draft another Offensive Takle in the first round just cause it's the first round and you F####d up last year, doesn't mean you have to f### up again this year.

Note #3 If you suck at drafting a position, which you do, don't waste high draft picks trying to draft a position you just don't identify tallent in. That is what free agency is for.

Note #5 Remember that you suck, you suck at drafting soooo bad. If you like a guy, don't draft him, cause he will just suck. Draft the guy you don't like and try to save your job and this team.

Note #6 Don't be affraid of USC, they don't bite. Go say high and make a friend.

Note #7 Go ahead and punch yourself in the face. You should do this to remind yourself how bad you suck and how much you deserve to be punched in your f#####g face.

Do it for me Brad, do it for the fans, do it for the Bears.

Look I'm a huge Bears fan but we have more problems that can be fixed this year. I know we went to the big game 2 years ago but this is not even close to the same team that did that!

Brown was a MAJOR contributor until he went down.
Harris was a machine and couldn't be stopped (He's been invisible since).
Urlacher was playing in his prime.
Briggs made a huge impact.
Andersen shocked the world as a rookie (He's also disappeared into the darkness)
Hester was still a returner (The best the world has ever seen)
Even with Grossman's inconsistant play they were able win games with there offense. (You don't think that was because of the O-line do you?)
Thomas Jones
Berrian
Ron Rivera!
Shall I continue?

What we have this year is holes in the O-line, D-line, WR, QB, FS, CB, FB, and not to mention we need a new offensive coordinator. (FB dive on 4-1 with the worst FB in the league! Come on!)

So what the Bears need to do this year is focus on the O-line and the D-Line. This will help show the pressing needs further. The trenchs effect the rest of the team! If you don't have a good O-line the QB is always suck and the WR look like they can never get open. Well if you had to get open that fast you wouldn't be able to either. A good D-line allows the LB and Safteys actually play there positions properly and a little pressure on the QB will sure help the CBs.

Then next year you'll be able to fix the holes that have been brought into light this year. You see where I'm going with this.

I'd love to see then fix everything this year but it is just not going to happen. I love the bears but I'm a realist. I think that in two years we'll be contenders again.

Why can't anyone understand that Mike Brown can't cover anymore. I'm looking in your direction- dahlillama. The Bears can't afford to have another SS type on their team. Thus, there's no roster spot available for Brown. JA needs to fill his spot with a younger, atheletic safety (not named Manning) that can cover some ground. It's a great move releasing him. Good luck to you MB.

HHMM, interesting Do the Bears try to continue the development of Orton, or do they go for a quick short-term fix and bring in a veteran like Garcia. the only way you do that is if you are planning on starting him from Day 1, which I do not see the BEARS doing, a couple of years ago when we just got out the Super Bowl was the time to get him, if we had then we could have made another run and not waste so much time hoping that REX would break out, he never did. I like Garcia but not that much to bring him in now, get someone who if they had to play could do so for a few years especially if they turn out to be better than Kyle or he regresses then that would allow some time to develop another guy, Garcia may already be on his last legs, if not he certainly only has two more left max....I say Leftwich or Simms at this point, but really I wish we had more draft picks to try and get the kid from Ball St, Davis in mid 2nd or early third, might be able to use Vasher as bait to get the pick on him. Can't reach in round 1 the need on O-line and Free Safety are too large not to address early, based on this we might need to lean on a FA to shore up receiver and hope that Bennett can come on quick next season.....The waiver wire is picking up now.....Hey Brad how about giving us an update whose available going into the combine at FA to give us something to chew on before we get the feedback on the prospects from you and the scouts from the combine, the list is growing it would be interesting to know everyone available? Receivers, O-line, Safety seems like we need to look at everybody in these spots?

Moses: yes, I do think the Bears had an all pro QB back in the days when the original Moses parted the waters. BTW McMahon was pretty great for a few years back in the mid 80's, but not all pro as Creighton noted and that was almost a quarter centrury ago. Don't you think the Bears could have done a little better at QB even since McMahon?

Prophet: I agree Brown has lost a step in pass coverage and is injury prone but lets look at the facts. Brown had 103 tackles (I believe)he is the other leader of the D and helps Urlacher with making sure the D backs are positioned correctly etc. There was absolutely no one on the D that was a more punishing tackler than Brown was last year. Last but certainly not least, the BEARS do not have a replacement for him, Manning has been terrible at Free Safety and may have cost the bears the playoffs due to the miscoverage fiasco in Houston as the free safety. Manning is playing great at the nickel and Kick Returner, I do not think you can ask him to do much more than that unless you take him off as Kick Returner. Keep Brown one more year and bring in a rookie free safety to work under Brown's tutelege, then make Brown a coach the next year.

Creighton: who ever it was that said the Bears were not cheap must of been just incredibly naive to think the Bears are big spenders in the NFL. Brad did call it, many millions of dollars have gone into the pockets of the Mccaskey's over the years. Don't get me wrong, I am the first guy to say let them earn some very good profit, it is their team, but how about spending the money when it can make a difference and bring in a potetial Super Bowl champion. The loyal Chicago fans deserve it and middle of the pack in spending at best is just not good enough. In past years, years back, the Bears were known as rather hesitant to spend the money needed to win the big one. Ask Ditka and Butkus they will tell you.

Question for you BRAD:

How much is the current Chicago Bears Franchise worth, I think it is close to a Billion dollars isn't it? And which QB in Chicago Bears history had the best stats in their career? I heard Brian Griese had better stats than any QB in Bears history is that true?

Brad,
Just saw a rumor that the Raiders are planning on releasing WR Ron Curry, a guy who has always been seen as having lots of potential. If he becomes available, I think he'd be a guy the Bears should consider in free agency. Do you think he would be a fit for the Bears system?
Moose said Chicago is where WRs go to die (or something like that) but I think that status should be reserved for Oakland, where not even Randy Moss was adequate.
I also like Brandon Jones of the Titans. I believe both guys would be immediate improvements over Bookerr/Lloyd/Rashied Davis.

Neckbearsucks, really?
Before his ankle injury he had 4 INT and a 90 QB rating, with what some say the worst WR crew in the NFC and John ST. Clair trying to defend his blind side at left tackle

One player could instantly fix this defense, and he will be on the market: Albert Haynesworth. Will the Bears pursue him?

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on February 17, 2009 2:37 PM.

Safety issue: Cornerback Tillman will not make switch was the previous entry in this blog.

Pancaked: Baltimore will block Suggs' bid to reach free agency is the next entry in this blog.

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