"Frenzy", "circus", and "madness" are just three of the many modifiers attached to the NFL's current hyper-condensed free agency period, and our Chicago Bears would figure to have their collective nose in the middle of all the action. The Bears are in a position to spend, with over $30 million in available cap space -- by far the most in the division and one of the highest figures league-wide. The Bears' window for success would also seem to be closing, if only incrementally: the same defense that powered the team to the NFL's final four a season ago is predominantly made up of stars on the wrong side of 30 -- Brian Urlacher, Julius Peppers, Lance Briggs and Charles Tillman, just to name a few.
Which begs the question: what moves are the Bears planning to make, and why haven't we heard any rumblings about potential acquisitions yet?
The Bears were rumored to be hot after defensive end Jason Babin, the former Titan who compiled 12.5 sacks a season ago. Too late for that. Babin signed today with the Eagles for five years and $28 million, with roughly $5 million guaranteed. It isn't too rich of a contract for a player like Babin, and makes you wonder exactly what made Chicago gun-shy in trying to outbid Philadelphia, another member of the conference's elite.
A name atop many fans' wishlists was Sidney Rice, the dynamic wide receiver most notable for punishing NFC competition two seasons ago with the Vikings. Rice suffered through major hip problems last year and never returned to form, but was still thought to the be the big target the Bears' offense sorely lacked. Rice went off the market yesterday, signing a major contract with the Seahawks. As the Jets also resigned Santonio Holmes, the top two receivers on the market are now officially off of it.
So who could the Bears be after? This blogger would love Johnathan Joseph, a young, physical corner from Cincinnati with 14 interceptions already to his name. So far as receivers go, Roy Williams (who was cut yesterday by Dallas) enjoyed the best season of his career under current Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz and would seem to be a nice fit if the price isn't too high. Braylon Edwards, for all his dropsies, wouldn't be bad, either.