Chicago Sun-Times

Rating the Bears free agents

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Which of the following 14 unrestricted free agents will return to the Bears next season and which will wind up with other teams won't be known for some time because free-agent acquisitions will be on hold until a new collective bargaining agreement is reached. Here's a thumbnail review of each with a rating gauging their value to the Bears moving forward. A "1" means the team likely has little interest in re-signing the player. A "5" means they are likely to do everything possible to re-sign the player.

Anthony Adams: The underrated defensive tackle does the dirty work inside and is part of an under-appreciated unit that has been highly effective this season. Adams is more of a traditional nose tackle and is a good enough player that he will likely explore other options before returning to the Bears. Rating: 4

Josh Bullocks: The reserve defensive back has never challenged for a starting role on defense but has been solid on special teams. The problem is, there are only so many players the Bears can keep solely for special teams. Rating: 1

Desmond Clark: The veteran may be the best all-around tight end on the roster but he never found a home in Mike Martz's new offense and was inactive for all but five games this season. In this case, it's not a matter of whether the Bears want Clark back. Why would Clark want to come back to the Bears when he might be able to play elsewhere? Look for him to move on. Rating: 1

Todd Collins: Despite his disastrous start against the Panthers, Collins has remained Jay Cutler's primary backup because of his consistency in practice. If the Bears decide they still want a veteran backup next season, Collins could return. Rating: 3

Rashied Davis: Some wondered whether Davis would be cut during training camp but he has proven so valuable that he made former third-round pick Juaquin Iglesias expendable. Not only is he a standout special teams performer but a capable receiver who may deserve a bigger role in the offense after catching seven passes for 63 yards against the Packers.

Corey Graham: Many thought the reserve defensive back deserved a Pro Bowl bid after he led the league in special teams tackles. With D.J. Moore taking over at nickelback, Graham doesn't have much of a role on defense, which may prompt him to look for more playing time with another team. Rating: 5.

Brian Iwuh: The linebacker was signed as a free agent primarily because of his special teams prowess but he has proven to be more than that. He started turning heads with his play on defense during training camp and quickly developed into a solid backup who has filled in capably when Lance Briggs has been injured. Rating: 4

Olin Kreutz: Kreutz is nearing the end but the Bears still need his experience and leadership qualities while their offensive line remains in transition. He may not be the player he was, but with no experienced backup center on the roster, expect Kreutz to return for at least one more year while offensive line coach Mike Tice develops his replacement. Rating: 5

Danieal Manning: Manning has played every position in the secondary during his career but has finally found a home a strong safety, where he has played well this season. He is also one of the league's top kick returners, making him a versatile, valuable all-around player that the Bears will likely want back even with Major Wright and Chris Harris on the roster. Rating: 4

Brad Maynard: The veteran punter hasn't had one of his better seasons. At his age (36), that's a cause for concern. However, he remains the best in the league at dropping punts inside the 20-yard line and he finished strong by averaging 45.5 yards on eight punts against the Packers. He also holds for kicker Robbie Gould, who wants him back. Rating: 2.5

Nick Roach: The former Northwestern standout has been a big reason why the Bears may have the deepest linebacking corps in the league. He has battled injuries this season but plays capably whenever he's called upon. Rating: 4

Pisa Tinoisamoa: The veteran linebacker has battled injury problems in each of his two seasons but has been effective when he has been healthy enough to play. For the right price, the Bears would likely want Tinoisamoa to return. Rating: 3

Rod Wilson: The backup linebacker was out of football when he was signed to help out on special teams. He's likely the type of player who would have to earn a roster spot in training camp. Rating: 1

Garrett Wolfe: The former Northern Illinois star has not earned playing time on offense but has been a consistent special teams performer. The hope that he would blossom into a player worthy of a third-round draft pick may be be dwindling. Rating: 1.5

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The free agent that is most deserving of a resign is nose tackle Anthony Adams, he's only an 8 year veteran and is probably Chicago's best interior defensive lineman. In 2009 he led all defensive linemen with 42 tackles, he's very effective and needs to be resigned. Adams and Toeaina will give Chicago a good one two punch at the nose next season, although I think Toeaina could be ready to start next season, it would be nice to have 2 effective players for the position. It starts up front and all the depth you can get is always a plus, Adams should be a #5.

The next one that needs a re-ink is linebacker Nick Roach, why this guy didn't start this year is beyond me. Over the last couple seasons he has earned the top spot at strongside linebacker. Although he was a little nicked up himself this season, he is more durable than Pisa Tinoisamoa, younger, and gives the Bears more speed from the position. Chicago needs to lock up Roach and let Tinoisamoa go. I'd give Roach a #4.5. Another linebacker that deserves to be signed over Pisa is Brian Iwuh, he adds great depth and is a standout on special teams, he's a #4.

I still say priority one heading into the draft is center, Chicago needs to draft Penn State c/g Stefen Wisniewski with their first rounder this april. But locking Olin Kreutz up for one more season might not be a bad idea if for nothing else to groom a player like Wisniewski. Kreutz is a #4.

The next player that deserves a re-ink is Corey Graham, he's a standout special teams player in coverage, and adds nice depth to the secondary at corner/nickle. They need to bring him back also, I'b give Graham a #3.5.

I agree Manning has been decent at strong safety but nothing special, he's a great kick-off returnman, and also adds nice depth at the nickle and both safety spots. I think as soon as Major Wright is ready, he's gonna be your free safety, Harris will slide over to strong, and Manning will be the odd man out. But, depth wise in the secondary, and special teams make Manning a #4.

I don't know if Maynard is gonna be back next season, it might be time for a younger punter with a stronger leg, I agree, a #2. Todd Collins needs to go, Caleb Hanie has a year in this offense and heading into year 3, should be ready to assume the backup role, Collins is a #1. Garrett Wolfe will become expendable thanks to this years supplemental draft pick BYU's Harvey Unga, who could push Chester Taylor for the #2 job because of his ability as a goal line runner, but thats another story for another blog, Wolfe is a #1.

The free agent not on the team that Chicago needs to sign is Cowboys left tackle Doug Free. Free is a great pass protector and is young enough to be the long term answer at left tackle for Chicago, Free would be a great addition to Chicago's line and would open things up for Chicago's offense by giving Cutler more time in the pocket GO BEARS!!

Bless my virgin soul the Bears cant afford to lose any of them! They are all HOFers. I know Mr. Angelo will do the right thing and bring them all back. Hopefully he lock up Garett Wolfe with a 10 year contract 20 mill guaranteed.

Oh niddly diddly foo foo happy sunshine smiles!

I think they need to re-sign Adams, Manning, Graham, Roach, Iwuh, and Kruetz (one more year). But through the draft or free agency they need OL, WR, DT, CB, back up QB.

What is all this crap about "grooming" a center? Grooming Wisneiwski? How about drafing him and instead of the two headed buffoon {Angelo & Lovie} standing up in front of the media and saying "we like Olin...we like all of our offensive linemen for that matter." {so no one's feelings gets hurt}, just give the starting job to him from day one. Sort of like the Steelers did with Pouncey, the Jets and Mangold, and the Seahawks with Unger.

Adams is about a 2.5. This shows you the complete ineptness of Angelo. Any GM should be able to find an AVERAGE DT either in the later rounds, undrafted F/A's, or the free agent market. Adams is a steady player against the run, but is not a 3 down lineman. But because Angelo is unable to perform his job, this guy is rated as a 4 by the columnist.

Manning is a 3.5-4. But once again it's because Angelo has "cried wolf" at the safety position so long, you would rather have him than risk trying something else.

Bullocks, Clark, Collins, Wolfe, Wilson: 0. You gave Martz his "pacifier" when he complained earlier in the year and as I said when this whole fiasco started, "who should have a better grasp of Martz's offense, a guy who darn near greeted him getting of the plane last year and was there for every meeting, every OTA, or a guy that hadn't seen a Martz playbook in years?

Maynard: 1.5. The guy had gotten complacent and lazy. Plain and simple. He also thought he was "above it all." probably read too many of the "love fest" blogs on here about how he's "so dangerous" kicking the ball inside the 20. Got news for you, there are guys all over the league that can down the ball inside the 20 AND kick the ball 60 yards when they need to. Funny how after the Bears brought in a couple of punters last week, he has some booming kicks in the cold weather up in GB. Where were those kicks the first 15 games?

R. Davis: 1...and I am being generous there. This 9 catch for 63 yard guy is the same guy who 2, 3, & 4 years ago was dropping pass after pass with Grossman and Orton and people wanted him to go then. Think about how bad Freddie Barnes, and Iglesias are if this guy can beat them out.

And for the kool-aid drinkers in the room. Here is what Bob Sturm of the Dallas Morning News Said about Doug Free.

"Around week 5 or 6, when Free had dealt with many stiff challenges early in the season so well: Julius Peppers, Mario Williams, etc, we pointed out that the Cowboys true weakness on the OL appears to be more on the right side with Colombo and Davis. Well, the Cowboys started "taking the training wheels off Free" which is a way of saying they started helping him with a Tight End or a chipping RB much, much less. Instead, the help moved more and more over to Colombo and now we are seeing more of Free on an island against a DE.
And this is where you see where Free is. Good enough that he doesn't need as much help as your RT, but still a guy who can get beat occasionally if you give him no help. So, in the last month or so, he has quickly risen up the charts of sacks allowed, and now only trails Leonard Davis for the season."

Yeah, I want that guy to protect Cutler. Why bring him in, we could always move Chris Williams back there. Remember, he was a "book end LT that was going to anchor the line for years." Actually, he does sound like someone Angelo would bring in. I think the bar can be set a little higher than thigh high.

Collins a 3???? Neil, don't know how you ended up ranking him that high. Bullocks, Wolfe, Clark, Wilson and especially Collins can all go.

Chicago,Jay Culter missed in Denver.If John Elway, had been here two years ago Culter would still be a Denver Bronce.

Free agents mean only so much. The nice thing about keeping your own is you don't have to teach them the system. They already know it.

The Bears need to concentrate on making both lines better. With another good pass rusher, the secondary will look better. More blockers will be eaten up by the line, and the linebackers look better.

On the offensive line, they simply need to be average. They were the worst in the league with the HOG index this year. Cutler did great despite the constant pressure, and despite average weapons to throw to. Forte already is a really good back, but he would put up tremendous stats with even an average offensive line.

The best option for the Defensive line would be a great tackle. Someone who penetrates on every play if single blocked, and who holds the line against double teams. Obviously, they are hard to find.

The offensive line needs to replace the left side. Omiyale is a band aid at left tackle, and Williams just doesn't seem to have it.

I am sure they could use another receiver, safety, and a credible back up running back, but the lines are more of a need right now. Eventually, they will have to replace Urlacher, Tillman, Briggs, and Peppers on defense. Kreutz only has so much left in the tank.

They are good this year. Beyond what I thought possible for sure. But for being good year after year, they must have strong drafts.

There is NO WAY our beloved Bears should make the mistake of believing Danieal "Kool-Aid" Manning has "finally found a home at strong safety." What is it with this guy? Ever since day one everyone has been giving this guy a free pass from Lovie on down... I FEEL LIKE I AM TAKING CRAZY PILLS!! When his career ends he'll immediately land a nightly gig @ the Palms Resort & Casino, bringing along his subtle but overwhelmingly powerful gifts for hypnotizing mind-control that he has administered throughout Chicagoland since his very first day @ training camp in 2006.

Not since Walt Harris have I seen a defensive player so deserving of ridicule week-in, week-out that skates by scot free (even LAUDED!) season after season... Almost every week I'm asking myself, "How are they not just ROASTING this guy in the film room after that one?" and then nothing... Never been called out by da coach or by any media members for that matter... Nary a mention of his inadequacies on the boards?? What gives???? Is he that good?? Are his powers of deception that persuasive and all-encompassing?? The guy is NOT a born defensive player. He's an athlete that happens to be trotted out at safety. Jack of all trades, master of none. We need a Tony Parrish back there... A Mike Brown. WERE THE BEARS FOR GODSAKES. Is it too much to ask to have one of the best strong safeties in the league on this defense again? I'm sick of hearing about Ed Reed & Troy Polamalu & all those other non-bears.

Granted, I'll admit he has enjoyed his best season this year, but he still makes those same maddening, game-altering mistakes, mistakes like his blown read on the long Aaron Rodgers to Greg Jennings (near) touchdown pass just last week... Missed tackles, blown coverages, DEAD wrong angles, bad footwork, poor decision making, lack of awareness, lack of leadership, NO BALL SKILLS (ie 1.4 INTs per year) & general pussy footing around trying to strip footballs with his spastic, ineffectually impotent Peanut impersonation coupled with his trademarked bullfighter "ole!" tackling (used to imperfection countless times against the dreaded AP.)

Yes the man can get you 30-60 yards on a kick return with a good burst and powerful stride, but that's it! If he ever takes it to the house it's because someone screwed up... & usually the person screwing up is Lovie, trotting him out there taking at bats away from the BADDEST KICK RETURNING MACHINE IN THE HISTORY OF FOOTBALL ON A GRIDIRON.

Please end this madness...

Kevin the only way they get Stefen Wisniewski is if they move up, they will have a bottom 4 pick, he is the number 1 center in the draft and while he is not Mangold he is very good and a couple of teams need him. Even if they do land him which I doubt becuase Angelo is not big on taking Centers in round 1. But you will still need to resign Olin because you never know with rookies, plus Olin is the line Captain and the only one who knows the line calls.

"Bless my virgin soul?" Instant Classic.

Harris is probably gone you need Adams he is hte second best linemen behind Peppers. After him Manning, he has been up and down this year at some points he has been really good and sometimes he has games like he did against the Packers. But Chris Harris is probably the 4th best FS in the North and in the bottom of the league. Leave Manning at SS. After those guys Graham, and after him I could care less.

I know this, eventually their will be a new CBA and when that happens the Cap is going down not up. Bears will have to cut salary, bye bye Tommie Harris. It also means the Bears won;t be able to do much in FA which is the only place they tend to find players. Not a good thing.

Oh and if they bring back Todd Collins I expect Neil and Sean to knee cap Angelo for me.

Honestly, outside of C.Grahm, and possibly Kruetz the rest of this list would probably not make it on another NFL roster. We Bears fans have such low expectations because we've become acustom to Jerry Angelo's ineptitude in the draft . Teams like the Patriots and Steelers reload every year, and are ALWAYS playoff contenders. Even Angelo's FA signee's are hit and miss. Great, we got J. Peppers, nice pick-up, but can anyone say C. Taylor was worth the money ? Or Manumaleuna ? Should have spent the money on a QUALITY O-lineman, which is all he is anyway ! With Peppers , Urlacher and Briggs all in their 30's , the Bears need to hit on EVERY pick in the draft. A TRUE #1 reciever would be nice , a cover corner to replace the aging and often burnt Peanut , ANY quality O-lineman ( Omiyale , 3rd stringer , Williams = 1st rd. BUST, Olin =OLD , Garza = aging and average ) . Congratulations on a great season , Bears , but does ANYONE trust Angelo to aquire the players this team needs to remain on top ?

One player on this list kinda worries me,Nick Roach. I hope they dont over pay this guy. He is an avg player with avg speed and avg size. Pisa could be a player you keep around because he knows this Lovie 2 system very well.
D.Manning could be another player over paid because he might gain intress with other teams. He leaves Im not gonna be sad. That could open up the door for Hester to be a full time return guy and be a situational player on offense.
Olin Kruetz I think should come back. Im not even sure if any teams would even give him more then a vets min contract. Keep him good players coach.
Brad Maynard if not on the Bears in 2011 he will be on a team. I see a two year contract comming too him from the Bears.
Anthony Adams could be the odd man out with Harris. Toeaina was handed a contract and maybe to shave some money Harris & Adams are gone and Melton & Toeaina are in.
Dez Clark is as good as gone.
All the rest of the players are a crap shoot.

Gearhead you don't just give starting jobs away in the NFL. As a Bears fan you should know this by now. Your comparing a solid center prospect to Nick Mangold the most highly ranked Center prospect in draft history. Pouncey is not having as good a year as people think he is part of the second worst line in football so I don't think he is making that much of a difference. Not to mention he again was considered a better prospect than Wiz. Unger started over Wrotto at RG his first year Wrotto was a 4th round second year player from the practice squad they had nobody else. Also Unger got injured which can happen to anyone and why you need depth.

Again you don't just hand jobs to people, I doubt Pouncey didn't have to win the Job and Mangold to. Even if they where drafted high you don;t just give jobs to guy.

Hester is are number 1 reciever, Rex is our QB, Cedric Benson etc, etc, etc.

Besides Stefen Wisniewski belongs in a zone scheme, he is not strong enough to play Man. He is quick with good feet and tech, but big nose tackles will abuse him in a man scheme. He is a nice player but he is a second rounder to a zone line at best. It's not a good year for Centers or Tackles.

Now Mike Pouncey is a different story, he is a lot like a young Logan Mankins. He is a better guard than Center and Mauler. I also like Marcus Cannon to play guard. But I think Pouncey is gone before the Bears pick in round 1.

Looking at this draft I could see Angelo dropping down to round two and drafting a Corner, DT or Guard, or at least two of those three with two second round picks. Maybe a Curtis Brown with the first pick and Maybe a Marvin Austin or Lawrence Guy with the second round 2 pick. Then a Guard like Moffit or a Tackle like Carimi who would get pushed inside in round three.

I think the Bears will only be in the Market for one OT, and where they are drafting and given the draft class I doubt there is anyone they will like enough to draft in round 1. OT in 7th round.

Bring back Kirk Barton! Total beast!

Kevin what are you talking about. Take what seriously. Dude I have no problem with anything you say. Blog away man. One thing you need to get right is I am not Kevin Bumstead. People go at me all the time, I get a kick out of it. Man you should she see how me and brothers treat eachother. Hahahaha, this is all in good fun. Speaking of Fun you know who is back and he is looking to make friends with you again.

7:55 AM, come on you can't pretend to be me and post at 7:55 AM that's sleepy time. Also capitalize my name if your going to use it. You keep forgetting to do that, show some respect for the Creighton, it's a screen name damn it you cpitalize it. Do I type Brando as brando? He has at least earned that.

Oh Kirk Barton that's golden oldey. Anyway how is Crap-ton doing these days? He seems happy. By the way why is creighton talking about you being upset? Are you upset about something? Don't tell me Bumstead is upsetting you. You the secret truth is I am Bumstead always have been, I was even posting from London as him for all of December that's how dedicated I am. So I am Bumstead and all those clever things he says I came up with, they are mine. It's me me me me.

I love the fact that your still not sure if it's me but rest assured tis I the Bumstead. And let it be known to all that blog, that Creighton is the Bumstead. My guess is I will continue to post as the Bumstead and say more funny clever things. Now you know and don't need to figure out who it is, much like Crap-ton. You wanna know a real secret the biggest blog secret of all time. I AM BRANDO. I have been since day one. The cat is out of the bag. Brando is just me hating on homers, that's all he ever has been. I will still use Brando though because I think it is funny.


Thanks for the scouting report. You read the same one as me. But you should know that NFL scouting reports are just one guy's opinion of a player and quite often, it seems, the scout is just saying something to "out scout" the next guy. Scoutsinc will say one thing, Ourlads will say something else. If someone had the time, it would be interesting to go back and see what they had to say about Brady, or T.O., Romo, Gates, or any other mid to low round guy that has turned into a pro bowler. Just look at last year's top Center prospects {going into the 2009/10 season and projected for the 2010 draft} according to

#1: Josh McMeil {projected to go in 1st round, went UDFA}
#2: John Estes {projected late 1st-2nd round, went UDFA}
#3: Tom Austin {UDFA}
#4: Erik Cook {7th round}

I am guessing that Belichick didn't take into account the feelings of the guys McCourtny or Gronkowski replaced and I know the Packers drafted Burnett in the 3rd round and made him the starter in the first mini camp.

As for Pouncey, it is not him that has been the source of the Steelers OL woes. He has played outstanding in the games I have seen him play. And being in WV, when the Bears are either on late, or Mon/Sun night, and the Steelers are on their normal schedule, we usually get that game on CBS so I have seen him play quite often and he is everything he was cracked up to be. Wisniewski will be the same. What he may lack in physical attributes {I don't think it's much}, he makes up for with football smarts. If Angelo is smart and he or the other Pouncey kid is there in the last of the first round, then you take him.

There is no way Angelo is trading out of the 1st round for 3 years in a row. As bad as his reputation is now with fans and media, he would be crucified. Whether or not it would be a good move would be irrelevant. Just the fact that the Bears would have no 1st round draft pick for 3 years in a row and only 2 in 6 years would be disastrous. I would hope that with the Bear's needs being so vast, that Angelo has several players targeted for that low 20's pick and if 1 or more are gone, several will be there for the taking. Trading out of a 27-32 pick is not going to land him enough quality picks in return to make it worthwhile.

With regard to the NFL CBA. If there is a work stoppage, then maybe there might be a lower salary cap the first year back. But if they come to some agreement before hand, the only thing that will be lower will be the rookie salaries. The NFLPA has pretty much conceded that issue. But the owners crying "poor" is laughable at best. It's like the steriod user swearing he's getting smaller all the while busting through all his clothes. Every where you look, NFL revenues are up. The only team that has real attendance issues is Jacksonville, and that team needs to go anyway. Advertising revenues continue to rise, product licensing revenues do the same, and even though the game itself doesn't seem to be a hit overseas, the players' names still sell over there. The owners argument about the NFL network being a loss is stupid. Once that network is opened up to all cable and satellite providers, then advertising revenue will skyrocket. And like it or not, they are moving to an 18 game schedule. They already have a provision for it in the 2011/2012 schedule. When {not if} this happens, the players will get their cut. I don't think the Bears have anything to worry about. Even with the Addition of Peppers, Taylor, and Monumaleuna{sp}, there is some salary "fat" that can be trimmed. Harris, Olin, the aformentioned Monu, Garza, and Hunter are right off the top of my head. It will be an interesting off season to say the least.

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This page contains a single entry by Neil Hayes published on January 7, 2011 4:13 PM.

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