Chicago Sun-Times

Bears to sign Pro Bowl safety Brandon Meriweather

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The Bears have "agreed to terms" with two-time Pro Bowl safety Brandon Meriweather on a one-year contract Sunday, taking a virtually free shot -- a la Roy Williams, Amobi Okoye and Marion Barber -- that a change in scenery will bring out the best in a talented but hit-and-miss player.

Meriweather, a 2007 first-round pick by the Patriots (24th overall), was cut by New England on Saturday.

At best, Meriweather can challenge Major Wright for the starting free-safety job and provide depth at safety if Chris Harris does not return next season. He's played in all 67 of the Patriots' games during his four seasons in New England. His 12 interceptions in the past three seasons are the fourth most by a safety in the NFL in that span.

But Meriweather also comes with some red flags:

-- He is an inconsistent player and gambler who makes big plays but also big mistakes.

-- He was cut by Bill Belichick, who knows more about NFL talent than anybody with the Bears.

-- The Patriots were unable to trade him despite the fact that Meriweather has been named to the Pro Bowl the past two seasons.

-- As a member of the Miami Hurricanes during the heart of the Nevin Shapiro era, he was suspended for a game for his role in the Miami-Florida International brawl in 2006. He also was involved in an off-campus shooting incident when a teammate was shot in the rear end. He was cleared of any wrongdoing in that case. It was determined he fired in self-defense and the gun was legally registered to him.

More than likely, Meriweather's success with the Bears will be determined on the field. He's a big hitter who takes chances. Last year, he was fined $40,000 for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Ravens tight end Todd Heap that left Heap with a concussion. Meriweather was not ejected for the infraction, but Belichick took him out of the game at that point.

The Bears will have to cut a player from their 53-man roster to make room for Meriweather. Two free safeties, veteran Craig Steltz and rookie Chris Conte, suffered injuries in Thursday night's preseason game against the Cleveland Browns. Their status has not been determined. With Meriweather, Steltz, Conte, starting strong safety Chris Harris and rookie Winston Venable, the Bears have six safeties.

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7 Comments

Can he play linebacker??
Here's what's gonna happen....Venable will be demoted to practice squad to make room for Meirweather.
Trade Briggs for a linebacker and a draft pick and bring back Pisa!
Briggs will fail without Urlacher and this system...his only hope for some kind of success would be if the Colts took him. What a "looser"!!!

"He was cut by Bill Belichick, who knows more about NFL talent than anybody with the Bears."

Very true but Belichick has been known to cut players who can still play, he has also been known to cut players he clashes with.

I thought Meriweather played SS with the Pats and in college he played both but was known as more of a FS. Maybe he played both with the Pats, I am not sure.

He was a big name in the draft back in 2007, some people thought he was the next Ed Reed. I would not go that far as he lacks Reed's speed and disapline. It will be intresting to see how he fits in the Bears system. I thought the Pats played mostly man. The Bears play mostly zone and some players struggle with the switch, either way he still needs to learn the defense, maybe they can get him to shed his freelancing ways. I don't think the signing is gonna hurt the defense. Be intresting to see if Wright gets replaced by week 3.

Oh my.

Oh my, oh my.

Mister Jerry Angelo, what a wonderful surprise you have brought to the Bears!

Brandon Merriweather is one bad boy! Yowza! A real rebel without a cause!

I like them bad. So does my life partner Brando. We both like the bady boys.

Woof!

Oh I can't beleive it. Blessed my virgin soul! It's time to get your Bumstead on everybody! Oh yeah!

Well I went over to the Boston Globe and asked around a little bit on there blog. There was a bit of a split about him some fans were glad he was gone and and some talked about his pro bowls, but one guy gave some good insight about him. You all know I am not a big fan of the pro bowl tag on a player.

"This is why nobody should ever believe Pro Bowl hype. Meriweather has had some picks, but last year he consistently was either out of position or taking bad angles to the ball. If you saw the Packers vs. Pats game last year it is a perfect example. On one play against the Packers, Meriweather laid out his All Pro teammate McCourty, allowing Packers’ receiver James Jones to run free for a touchdown. He was the biggest hole in the Pats secondary the last two years. He also struggles in zone defenses."

Hope that gives some insight and it seems to support what Sean wrote.

I don't read too much into the Belichick angle because Meriweather must have been nearing time for a new contract.

The Pats are pretty ruthless when a player's rookie contract is nearing expiration. They have a small core of players they pay to keep. They jettison everybody else. If they were not planning to give Meriweather a big payday, they could be just going in a different direction.

I agree with both comments. My close friend from Boston had take a very similar to Creighton's, although, he also said that Meriweather wanted a big contract and Belichick was not really willing to oblige.

My buddy was also a former player at BC, and had a really interesting comment on the "Pro bowl" designation: "If you make more than one (Pro bowl), it usually means you're either a media darling or can make big plays. He (Meriweather) made mistakes, sure, but he also made a lot of big plays."

Clearly a high risk, high reward player. What's more important is that the D line provides some pass rush. Otherwise it's going to be a very long season.

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This page contains a single entry by Mark Potash published on September 4, 2011 11:20 AM.

Nine rookies make Bears roster; Dez Clark, Taylor cut was the previous entry in this blog.

Bears set practice squad -- for now at least is the next entry in this blog.

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