Chicago Sun-Times

Four Down Territory, Feb. 4: Asomugha for $10 million a year?

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One of these days we'll be able to complete a Four Down Territory a little earlier in the day. Until then, we'll have to accomplish what we can. Let's jump right in.

Q: I've seen published reports saying the Bears should make an offer to Oakland's franchised cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha. What do you think of Kelvin Hayden as an alternative. He's local, from the same base defensive system and maybe cheaper?

Rob C., Parts Unknown

A: Now that the Raiders have taken care of finally announcing Tom Cable will be their coach for next season, or the beginning of next season any way, they can get down to the business of deciding what to do with their roster. Asomugha has made it known he doesn't want to play under the franchise tag again and is tired of the losing, but a player's wishes aren't always granted in these instances. Oakland has two players it badly wants to retain and will probably only keep one. Asomugha is the first. The second is perennial Pro Bowl punter Shane Lechler. They could place the franchise tag on him and spent significantly less than it would cost to lock down their lock down corner.

Asomugha will cost $11.718 million to tag, a 20 percent increase over the tag figure he played for this past season. Let's just say for the sake of this post that the Raiders elect to not tag Asomugha. He'll be in a position to potentially set the bar in free agency with a contract. You would have to think it would be a deal that would exceed the $57.14 million, six-year contract Asante Samuel landed from the Philadelphia Eagles last season. With the Bears heavily invested in Charles Tillman and Nathan Vasher already, I would say it's unlikely they would be willing to spend $10 million a year on Asomugha.

Turning to Hayden, the Hubbard product and former second-round pick from Illinois has turned into a top corner for Indianapolis. Hayden, who missed six games last season and battled knee and hamstring injuries, is the only starter on the Colts' defense who is not under contract for 2009. They're going to make him and center Jeff Saturday offseason priorities. Hayden, who had a 56-yard interception return for a touchdown in Super Bowl XLI against the Bears, would be a nice fit for a lot of teams. Given what the Bears have spent at the position over the last few years, I'd expect any additions to come via the draft.

Q: Why would Jerry Angelo come out in his first comments going into the offseason and make his main point of emphasis and primary focus the quarterback? There are no free-agent QBs who fit the Bears that are going to make a difference. Chris Simms, Byron Leftwich, Jeff Garcia? I don't think so. Also, at the Bears draft position, he is not going to get a Matthew Stafford or Mark Sanchez. And he is loathe to trade picks to move up in the draft and get an impact player. So he came out and made his primary focus the QB in a year when there is not a good solution available that fits the Bears and his draft tendencies. To me, the better statement would have been, ``We believe in Kyle [Orton] and we are going to get some playmakers for him to work with." It is clear that Kyle is your starting QB in 2009 anyway and then they need to make a decision on him longterm.

Scott, Sleepy Hollow, IL

A: That's a great question and it's one that Sun-Times colleague Mike Mulligan made a great point about. His take on Angelo's comments was to point out that it's not about the No. 1 wide receiver people have clamored for and it's not about the featured running back. If you go back through the transcript of what Angelo said, he never called it his No. 1 offseason priority. He did say he wanted to stabilize the position and he hopes that he can do so with Orton. I happen to be one who thinks Leftwich would be a pretty good fit for the Bears. I'm not sure that's going to happen. He's expected to draw pretty good interest on the open market and will be looking for a place to start. What you write makes a lot of sense but I'm not convinced the Bears see it as they have to go head over heels for playmakers. It wouldn't surprise me to see Angelo look for an offensive tackle in the first round. We'll see.

Q: What is the team's sentiment about John Tait going into his contract year? If they resign John St. Clair, who is the starter at right tackle figuring Chris Williams at left tackle and Josh Beekman at right guard?

Heron25, Parts Unknown

A: As far as I know, the Bears feel pretty good about Tait going into the final year of his contract. With Williams expected to take over at left tackle, as you wrote, I don't believe they want to make two changes on the line moving forward. Tait's been a god value for the Bears since they signed him in 2004 and although he's nearing the end of the line, he's still locked in at that spot. If St. Clair re-signs it will be as a swing tackle, the role he used to play, or perhaps to compete for a starting guard spot. I would expect Roberto Garza to maintain his job at right guard.

Q: It doesn't look like Rex Grossman will be playing for the Bears again even though some out there, myself included, believe he's the best quarterback for the team. Where do you think he could sign?

Jared, Ellettsville, Ind.

A: That's a good question. As weak as the crop of available quarterbacks is, Grossman will get a job somewhere. Before Jon Gruden got bounced out of Tampa Bay, the Bucs looked like a good spot to me. With Gruden out, I couldn't say. Minnesota? The New York Jets? There are plenty of teams that will be looking for No. 2 passers. Grossman is unlikely to step into a position where he can start right away so that makes choosing the right match important. A change of scenery can't hurt him, that's for sure.

Send in your questions and we'll go back to the mailbag on Thursday.

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Brad, with the draft coming up in april, what are your thoughts on the NFL implementing some type of rookie salary cap, especially with the upcoming labor negotiation's between the league and the players? GO BEARS!!

If Beanie Wells is available, do you think the Bears should draft him? With his size, I think he could make an excellent compliment to Matt Forte. The two back system worked well for the Bears during their recent Super Bowl year and it worked well for several teams this year.


Shouldn't the Bears strongly consider planning on beating the teams in their own division? Wouldn't it make the most sense to draft another large, physical guard to help block the Williams Wall and open holes for the running game? And wouldn't it also make sense to draft tall, physical corners or safeties to cover Calvin Johnson, Berrian, and the Packers wideouts? Another large defensive tackle presence would also protect against Petersen, Taylor, Grant and Kevin Smith, as well as keeping the blockers off of Urlacher & Briggs. Win the division, and then everything takes care of itself.


People, stop looking for the underlying deceit or psychology behind Angelo's remarks. All you can go on is his record. Re QBs, it's been pretty dismal. Agree? So if he's going to step out and talk the talk about getting the position right, I not only welcome that as refreshing, but I go a step further and say walk the walk.

Who says Sanchez will be gone before the Bears draft? Plenty of boards have him available. You don't think the Vikings would grab him? I say, if he's there, get him. He's big, accurate, athletic and a winner.

Hey, if Orton's the guy great. Sanchez waits. But if, as I suspect, Orton is simply not accurate enough, get Sanchez ready for this year or next. You're right: not much better than Orton in free agency. The future is now.

By Berkshire Hathaway on February 5, 2009 5:07 AM
If Beanie Wells is available, do you think the Bears should draft him?

Beanie Wells is another worthless RB that not only goes half speed, but puts forth effort like Ced Benson. When he gets hit he falls and does not run hard between the tackles. He is very overated. He is not a workhorse and in my mind should not even be a 1st or 2nd round choice. But with the lack of talent this year at RB he will go first day. I hope the Bears will not draft him. He looks like its all about him and he has no heart. When he was on the bench for several games he looked like Benson. Pouting and wanting to cry. The team needs quality guys....we already had a beanie.

But I do agree that the 2 back system works and someone needs to spell Forte when he needs rest. Who, I don't know.


Wouldn't signing Albert Haynesworth instantly fix the defense? I know Adams, Harrison, Dvoracek are adequate. But a healthy Tommie Harris and Haynesworth would put the defense at very least back into the top 10. Wouldn't that be worth Haynesworth's monster contract?

I'm must curious why everyone thinks that Harris will be healthy this year? He has never been healthy. Not coming out of college, not in his first, second, third, fourth or fifth year. Why would he be miraculously be healthy in his sixth year after multiple leg injuries and surgeries? I think Harris should be more of a spot starter now and rotated in on passing downs. He doesn't hold up against the run as well as bigger players and he doesn't have nearly the explosion he had in his younger years.

I don't understand the Bears for not making any changes on the coaching staff on the offense side. The Bears do not develop any players. I look at the people that were with the Bears that have showed development (Justin Gage,Bobby Wade,Mark Bradley,Chris Harris). The Bears do not have any experience coaches on there staff worth talking about. The one that they have needs to go (Ron Turner). So, until the Bears invest in some real coaches they will always struggle.

Pick up Asoumaga and the Bears simply have the best D backs in the league, period end of sentence. Graham could move to the other CB, Tillman could move to Free Safety and the Bears D backs would be unbelievable with any pass rush whatsoever.

That move alone would ensure a top 5 defense and the playoffs.

Do to BEARS, make something happen this off season!!

I believe signing Haynesworth would be a perfect fit for the Bears. Think about this, Harris is playing on one leg getting double teamed. Haynesworth would get doubled leaving tommie one on one and then our ends would be single blocked...That would make the one instantly you have 5 lineman on 4 guys leaving holes to blitz leaving our secondary in good shape...Everyone wants to bash the secondary but honestly you can't cover speed in open field that long...We can't blitz because you have no one on our line worth double teaming which leaves no holes...Just my opinion but just a thought...It would take so much pressure off Harris legs and make an instant quick to the line!!! When Harris was producing it made M. Anderson so much better. You can zone block the Bears D-line all day and just fuel everyone to the middle leaving no room to blitz but the outside...If we blitz from the outside then the running back can easy pick up the one guy. That is my one signing I would do in FA and then just worry about the draft....

You will in the trenches!!! Go Bears

The rumor out here is that the Raiders will almost certainly franchise tag Nnamdi Asomugha. So Bear fans might as well stop fantasizing about him as they have been about Donovan McNabb and Kurt Warner. Oakland and Philadelphia will not let these guys go, and Warner would never come to Chicago even if he were looking to move out of Phoenix. The Bears certainly should try to get Asomugha if he were available. He's probably the best all round cornerback in the league -- a shutdown corner who will intercept the ball if thrown near him and also a very good tackler -- and his acquisition would allow the Bears to move Charles Tillman to safety where he would really excel. But the problem is that he won't be available, just as McNabb and Warner never were.

The Bears should concentrate on building a much better offensive line and figuring out how to get their defense back to an elite level -- they need a real stout run-stopper at tackle and an end who can apply much more quarterback pressure than they've been getting, for starters -- and Bear fans might as well stop dreaming about players the Bears have no chance of getting.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on February 4, 2009 9:49 PM.

Houshmandzadeh sounds off and it sounds like Bears aren't a match was the previous entry in this blog.

Four Down Territory, Feb. 5: Does Angelo know the value of a receiver? is the next entry in this blog.

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