Around the League  

 

Offseason Forecast: Chicago Bears

With the offseason officially under way, Around the League will examine what's next for all 32 teams. The series continues with the Chicago Bears.

What's Changing


NFL Exposure

Best of 2012: Chicago Bears

Take a look at the best photos from the Chicago Bears' 2012 season.

Coach Marc Trestman doesn't look or sound like other NFL head coaches. It remains to be seen if or how he coaches differently. Look for him to work very closely with Jay Cutler and try to get Matt Forte the ball more as a receiver. Mel Tucker was brought in from Jacksonville to run a 4-3 defense that shouldn't be that different from Lovie Smith's approach. Tucker's personnel, however, could change quite a bit at linebacker.

Biggest Free Agents


» Brian Urlacher, linebacker: Urlacher would have to take a steep pay cut to return, but he'll have to take a steep pay cut to play anywhere. A low-cost deal wouldn't be a surprise.

» Nick Roach, linebacker: He's a solid enough starter or at worst, fourth linebacker. If Urlacher leaves, perhaps Roach returns.


With the offseason officially under way, Around the League will examine what's next for all 32 teams.

AFC East
» Bills | Dolphins | Jets | Patriots
AFC North
» Bengals | Browns | Ravens | Steelers
AFC South
» Colts | Jaguars | Texans | Titans
AFC West
» Broncos | Chargers | Chiefs | Raiders
NFC East
» Cowboys | Eagles | Giants | Redskins
NFC North
» Bears | Lions | Packers | Vikings
NFC South
» Buccaneers | Falcons | Panthers | Saints
NFC West
» Cardinals | Niners | Rams | Seahawks

» Israel Idonije, defensive end: He's a veteran leader who can play multiple positions. Don't be surprised if Idonije comes back.

Other key free agents: Quarterback Jason Campbell, cornerback Zackary Bowman, guard Lance Louis, cornerback Kelvin Hayden, guard Chris Spencer, guard Chilo Rachal.

What They Need


The offensive line badly needs upgrades. Sound familiar? This is a great year to be looking for offensive line help. Chicago may need to rebuild both guard spots and another tackle would help. Cornerback and tight end are two other positions of need. The starters are great at cornerback, but both are aging players in the final year of their contracts. Depth isn't great. The team should replace Kellen Davis as a starter at tight end.

Offseason Crystal Ball


It will be interesting to see whether the Bears invest in Jay Cutler before seeing how he fits into Trestman's system. Cutler's contract runs out at the end of the 2013 season. My guess: They make an offer, but allow Cutler to play out his contract year. A potential franchise tag looms.

Look for the Bears to cut Davis and Devin Hester to free up salary-cap room. They are a strong candidate to sign a free-agent tackle like Jake Long or Andre Smith. I'll give them Long and a mid-tier tight end option like Martellus Bennett. Happy now, Bears fans?

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

Fan Discussion

NFL News
CONTENT
15