Chicago Sun-Times

Four Down Territory, Feb. 18: Could "Big Game" Torry Holt bring game to Bears?

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We've got the vehicle gassed up, an empty notepad and plenty of questions so we're ready to depart for Indianapolis on Thursday. This is our final installment of Four Down Territory for the week. Check back often for updates from the combine. We'll get back to the mailbag starting Monday.

Q: I cannot claim this as my own possibility but I found it intriguing enough to share with you. One of the mock draft sites (Draft Tek) has engineered a hypothetical trade between the Rams and the Bears. The Bears send No. 18 (1st round) and Nate Vasher to the Rams in exchange for Torry Holt and, No. 35 (2nd round) and No. 66 (3rd round). I like Vasher even though he had a down year last year. But this trade possibility is intriguing. Yes, Holt is aging but he has a bit left in the tank and would give the Bears some much-needed help. It opens up a spot for Corey Graham opposite Charles Tillman. And, it goes along with Jerry Angelo's modus operandi of trading down for additional picks. Thoughts?

Bill S., Oneida, Ill.

A: I don't think there is any question Holt still has some game left in him. He'll turn 33 before the season begins but we're talking about a player who has missed only two games over the course of his distinguished career that could one day land him in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He's not the vertical threat he once was, but he's adapted and can still be productive even if he was pushed aside somewhat by a coaching staff hellbent on developing rookie Donnie Avery.

That being said, I think it's a questionable idea, at best. First, I'm not sure what kind of trade market the Rams are going to find for Holt, who has a base salary of $6.65 million in 2009. He's carrying a salary-cap figure of $10.2 million and St. Louis wants to shed that. You certainly wouldn't have to put together this kind of package to get Holt, I wouldn't think. Most expect Holt to eventually be released if the Rams cannot find a buyer.

Let's look at some of the other points:

*** Trading the No. 18 pick and moving that far down is a bad idea. One of the problems with the Bears is they lack blue-chip players. The further down you go in the draft, the harder it is to find those players.

*** Using the draft trade chart, where a point value is assigned to every pick, the Bears would lose ground in the draft in this deal. The 18th pick is worth 900 points. The Rams would be sending 810 points in return (550 for No. 35 and 260 for No. 66).

*** The Rams already took on one reclamation project from the Bears' secondary in Ricky Manning Jr., who is a free agent. If they're trying to dump some salary, I'm not sure they would have interest in Vasher, who will make base salaries of $2.9 million, $2.95 million, $3.45 million and $3.9 million over the next four seasons. That's not bad if he's playing well, but who says the Rams see Vasher as a top performer after two injury-wrecked seasons? It's not easy to trade your players with warts.

*** Who says a spot for Graham isn't already opened up across from Tillman? I would think it's Graham's job to lose at this point considering how Vasher has fallen out of favor.


Q: How many teams have started a season with two rookie offensive tackles and how did they finish? Chris Williams may be in Year 2 but he is still a rookie.

Tom K., Parts Unknown

A: Let's address your second point first. No, Williams is not still a rookie. To consider him a rookie is to buy into the theory the Bears have put out there on occasion over the last few years that they have a "redshirt class" of players, guys that didn't get on the field because of injuries in their rookie seasons. This isn't college football. Redshirt seasons don't exist. Teams may carry injured players on their roster or injured reserve, but they still count vs. the salary cap.

The Bears and general manager Jerry Angelo took a chance drafting a player with a medical red flag in Williams, a guy some teams had removed from their draft boards. Angelo rolled the dice. He lost in Williams' rookie season as training camp and the first half of the season were shot by surgery to repair a herniated disc in his back, the same disc that had a stable herniation, as the Bears later described it, during his college career. That stable herniation was discovered in all of the pre-draft medical tests on Williams.

So, let's not call him a rookie because he isn't a rookie. He will be a second-year player who has taken advantage of all aspects of the pro game in terms of preparation, meetings, learning the offense, etc. What he hasn't been able to do is gain meaningful playing experience. He's a player the Bears have high hopes on, hopes just as high as when they drafted him.

Getting back to your question, I can tell you this: The last time a team had rookie tackles make at least eight starts was 2000 when the Green Bay Packers formed what was one of the better pairs in the league for some time with Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher. Clifton played in 13 games, making 10 starts. Tauscher appeared in all 16 games and made 14 starts. The Packers won their final four games that season to finish 9-7.


Q: What are the odds on the Bears looking at Fred Taylor? I figure the guy knows he isn't a No. 1 back any more so I bet he can be had for a low salary. Am I wrong? Seems like he would be a good complement to Matt Forte.

James T., Charleston, Ill.

A: While they're at it maybe the Bears can kick the tires of Stephen Davis, Ahman Green, Priest Holmes and any other older back that might still have interest in playing.

Taylor has had a marvelous career with the Jaguars and has said he would like to play long enough to get about another 1,000 yards to pass Jim Brown on the all-time list. Taylor was part of a dynamic 1-2 punch for the Jaguars with Maurice Jones-Drew but the rush by a lot of people is to assume any marquee name would be a great fit. This is a popular question I got and others also inquired about Deuce McAllister, who was let go by the New Orleans Saints.

You've got to be real careful with running backs as they approach 30 and over and have high mileage. Look at Shaun Alexander, who is younger than Taylor. Alexander was named MVP in 2005 when he rushed for 1,880 yards and 27 touchdowns. In three seasons since, he's chugged for 1,636 yards. Barely. Running backs don't fade away as much as they fall of a cliff when they've reached their expiration date.

Taylor, 33, would have been a fabulous pick over Curtis Enis in the 1998 draft. The Bears goofed there. Could he still have something left? Sure. But Taylor averaged only 11 carries per game last season and had just 3.9 yards per carry, 1.5 yards less than he averaged in 2007. The Bears might be best off trying Garrett Wolfe and then looking elsewhere. If the New York Giants and Green Bay Packers have proven anything over the last few seasons, it's that you can find running backs to fill needs.

Just forget McAllister. By all accounts he's an incredible guy but his body has been put through a lot. After he picked up the Saints' all-time record for rushing touchdowns on Nov. 24, he had just 21 carries the rest of the season.

Q: It's been reported that Albert Haynesworth will not sign with Tennessee, at least not before going out into free agency. What are the chances the Bears become involved in the bidding? He'd make a huge difference not just for the line but for the entire defense. He'd make Tommie Harris better and the Bears would have the best pair of tackles in the league. They would dominate on defense. You can tell I think this is a good idea.

Richard A., Corpus Christi, Texas

A: This is a little game being played in about 31 cities right now. How would Haynesworth look in my team's uniform? Of course, Haynesworth would upgrade any defense. He'd make the Pittsburgh Steelers better. I seriously doubt the Bears are going to get involved in contract discussions that could hover around $10 million per season and include $30 million or more in guaranteed money. Harris is currently being paid the kind of money where he is supposed to make the players around him better. He does. Now you need to pay someone to make Harris better? You're talking about investing an incredible amount of money at defensive tackle as Harris' cap figure for 2009 is north of $9 million. Never say never but this one doesn't add up. The best guess here is Haynesworth is going to the open market in order to secure a price that Tennessee will ultimately pay.

Thanks for all of the participation and thanks as always for reading. Stay with us during the trip to the combine.

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10 Comments

I Like the Holt for Vasher idea, Holt still has some mileage left, it won't matter if Holt can go deep, because the Bears can't throw deep. Holt would be a great compliment to Hester and to the offense, then Bennett could concentrate in the slot where he is best suited to play.

A blind pig has a better chance of finding a truffle than the Bears have in signing Haynesworth. Or maybe when Pigs fly?

For some reason this years Bears team has made me a little bitter although still hopeful.

Brad your comments regarding Albert Haynesworth are interesting. It's funny how here talking about bringing him in to make Harris better. Isn't it and interesting topic that even in Lovie's Tampa 2 system with such and emphasis on the three technique position, a guy like Tommie who probably plays that position the best in the league still needs help. I would never pay big money to a guy like Harris who can really only do one thing great: rush the passer. The problem's arise when you notice a guy who is smaller and relies on speed, struggling to make plays against the run AND not making the linebackers behind him free to pursue the ballcarrier or blitz freely against the pass. Where would the same scruitiny be said about Haynesworth, he can dominate the run, collapse the pocket with his incredible explosion (like Harris) AND makes those around him better by taking on and sustaining double teams. All this AND a guy like Harris doesn't last as long because if he get's hurt he's useless because he ONLY relies on his quickness, where as with a big nose tackle like Haynesworth he relies on much more and is a complete tackle. This situation with how Harris just demonstrates that if you had 2 elite tackles on the board, like the situation we had in the 2004 draft with Wifork and Harris, always go with the star nose tackle over the star under tackle, because you get a lot more bang for your buck in terms of quality of play for your ENTIRE defense.

Holt will most likely get released at that cap number, there is no reason for the Bears to part with high picks for Holt. Moving down for Holt will never happen. If the Bears were to end up trading for him, it would be a 3rd round pick or lower. For the trade mentioned above to happen, not looking at the salary caps of both players, the Rams would have to send the Bears two 2nd rd picks.

Well said, Bill Holland.

I, too, would have preferred for the Bears to take Wilfork that year at #14.

A guy like Tommie Harris and his 7 sacks a year doesn't strike fear into the hearts of opposing offenses like a mammoth dude like Wilfork, Haynesworth, or Shaun Rogers does.

Fred taylor or Duece in a Bears uniform next year is ridiculous. These guys are accomplished vets , and are at the point in their careers where they salivate at the chance at getting a ring. You look @ our O-line, It's a polite "thank You" and move on to the next suitor.Even Brad's description of McAllister,"21 carries after 11/24"...Our O-line is a double-threat weakness at the moment, We can't even attract a nice FA back-up running back! Would have loved to see Taylor in Blue and Orange!!
Thanks JA..helluva job looking towards the future!!

I liked Wilfork as well but what do we know huh? I don't see the Bears paying the money for Haynesworth period, How about I talk about the Bears trading for P. Manning? Can you imagine how much better the Bears would be with a true ProBowl QB as opposed to Kyle Orton, that would be the smartest thing to do, trade for Manning, Manning is so much better than Orton I can't wait for the Bears to grab him in a trade. Just compare the stats of Orton and Manning, there is no comparison and Manning would make the entire team better. Manning can hit the long bomb, the over the right shoulder toss, the feather to the left Endzone corner as well as the post is there! The Bears will be so much better with P. Manning I can't wait for that this year!
The problem is Lovie loves the quick fast DT so there it is. Change the system? I don't think so. Not till Lovie is gone. So it's the money and the system pretty much two obstacles that will never be overcome.

Brad what kind of surgery did Chris Williams have on his back? Did he have Arthroscopic surgery to clean up the area and relieve pressure on the nerve or did he have a microdiscectomy?

Holland you still don't get it. You are not going to see a big NT with this organization. It's a Tampa 2 end of story. I myself have explained it to you at least 10 times and you are just stuck on Haynesworth and big nose tackles. You also don't seem to get the job of the MIC in the Tampa 2 who's primary job is mid field coverage. It's designed to beat a WCO passing game, it has been and always will be weak vs the run. The Bears are not gonna change there scheme and Haynesworth plays in a single gap 4-3 anyway. If you don't like the scheme, good for you it is not a great scheme it costs a lot to build a top level Tampa 2 defense and you really have to hit on your draft picks. The amount of talent and Tampa 2 tweeners you need to find is not easy cause they don't grow on trees now days. Besides all that Haynesworth's name is to close to Haynes. Bad memories for JA.

Also try to remember it is a contract year for Big AL, wow he played better in a contract year. He is a very good player and an anchor, but he is not a Tampa Bay Bear. He is to big and to talented but he does get bit by the injury bug a lot so maybe there is hope. What you are really trying to say Holland, without saying it, is that you want a different defense. Well to get that you need a different coach and a different GM.

Again.......If I told you once, I told you a million times......NOBODY will come here as long as Orton is the starting QB.....he totally SUCKS, and everyone knows it.....(except us)

Jacob I agree with you. Why trade for Holt? We still need to see what Vasher can do this season. If he gets back to form he is a good CB and paired with Tillman they work well together. The team needs to get value from Vasher. Let him come back and earn his spot. Do not trade him for Holt, the value is not there. Holt can still play but the team does not need to move down in draft to get him. He could be released in a cap cutting venture.
Only trade worth it with WR is for Ocho or Boldin and that is highly unlikely. But how cool would it be if it got done?

GO BEARS.


NeckBeardSucks IF and I do say IF Orton has a good year, please promise us you will never blog on this site again. I admit he will never be Manning or Brady but look at the talent that he is surrounded with. No one could win with the talent we have on offense.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on February 18, 2009 4:53 PM.

Report: Peppers picks four teams for trade talks was the previous entry in this blog.

Tag, you're it: Rams safety Atogwe not an option in free agency is the next entry in this blog.

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