Bears Free Agency Tracker

By: Aaron Shariq

The Chicago Bears have a lot of cap space this offseason and the organization has been busy spending it!  As a fan of the team it can be hard to follow who the team signs and what exactly the new acquisition bring to the table.  Here I break down who the newest Bear is, what skill set they are bring to Halas Hall and the size of the checks Ryan Pace is writing them.

Quarterbacks


Mike Glennon – QB

Previous Team – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

glennon

Bio – Mike Glennon has experience as a starting quarterback in the NFL.  Glennon was the starter for the Buccaneers before they took Jameis Winston with the first overall pick in the 2015 draft.  During his time starting for the Buccs Glennon showed his arm talent but also showed a lack of mobility.  This lack of mobility made it almost impossible for Glennon to ad-lib broken plays.  Given a clean pocket, Glennon can be an anywhere from average to solid in the NFL, however if he is forced outside of the pocket Glennon can prove to be quite the liability.

Where He Fits –  Glennon is obviously the Bears starting quarterback for the 2017 season; you don’t sign a man to a 3 year $45 million contract with $19 million guaranteed and not make him your starter.  Personally, I would like to see some competition at the position that most Bears fans blame for the teams decline over the past decade.  While not the “sexy” signing at the position and clearly the Bears out bid themselves for the QB, the guaranteed money means the Bears can move on after the first year.  Expect Glennon to under-preform while a young QB develops in year one before the Bears move on in year two.

Contract – 3 years/45 million (19 million guaranteed)

Mark Sanchez – QB 

Previous Team – Butt Fumble

sanchez

Bio – Butt Fumble

Where He Fits – Butt Fumble

Contract – Butt Fumble

Defensive Backs


Quintin Demps – DB

Previous Team –  Houston Texans

demps

Bio – Demps is a veteran safety who has played with the Giants, Eagles, Chiefs and Texans.  Demps started 13 games last year for the defense that carried the Texans to the second round of the playoffs.  Demps, 31 years old, started his career as a special teams player before showing his ability to take the ball away from opposing offenses.

Where He Fits – Demps will look to help a secondary that posted only 8 interceptions last year which was tied for 2nd lowest in the league.  The Bears drafted a lot of young secondary help in last year’s draft; all of whom could benefit from Demps experience in the league.  Demps will start for the Bears opposite of Adrian Amos, unless a young Bear amazes in training camp and preseason.  Demps is not a long-term answer but a pretty good temporary one.

Contract – 3 years/13.5 million (5 million guaranteed)

Prince Amukamara – DB

Previous Team –  Jacksonville Jaguars

prince

Bio – Amukamara began his career playing five seasons for the New York Giants before signing a one year deal with the Jaguars last offseason.  Amukamara is talented but injured far too often, causing him to miss 26 games during his first five seasons with the Giants.  Amukamara is a great cover corner when healthy but does lack a ball hawking ability, only recording seven interceptions over the past six years.

Where He Fits – The signing signified that the Bears finally understand they need secondary help after ignoring the position group during the previous offseason.  Amukamara will compete for the top spot on the Bears corner back depth chart.  Unless he hurts himself again I expect his to beat out an aging Tracy Porter and the injury prove Kyle Fuller.  If Amukamara proves himself to be a solid corner for the Bears his 1-year deal should become a multi-year deal.

Update: Tracy Porter has been released by the Bears

Contract – 1 year/7 million (all guaranteed)

Johnthan Banks – DB

Previous Team –  Bears

banks

Bio – Banks was claimed by the Bears off waivers late in the 2016 season.  Banks started the final two games for the Bears and was not targeted much by opposing QBs.  Due to his lack of targets the Bears most likely are still relying on whatever they saw previously that made them claim Banks in the first place.  What the Bears do know about Banks is he’s athletic and big.

Where He Fits –  The Bears secondary performed poorly last year, and the year before that, and the year before that, and… this could go on for a while.  The Banks re-signing is one to create competition at the corner back position.  Banks could very well be just another depth signing or he could become a starter for the Bears if he impresses enough during OTAs/training camp.  My money is on Banks contributing heavily for the special teams unit.

Contract – 1 year/855,000

Marcus Cooper – DB

Previous Team –  Arizona Cardinals

cooper

Bio – Cooper is a player who will wow fans with blazing speed however what he lacks in speed he makes up for with ball skills.  Cooper’s long arms were used to record four interceptions during the 2016 season.  It is worth noting that Cooper has previously spent time with Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio.  Cooper was drafted by the 49ers in 2013 when Fangio was a member of the 49ers staff.

Where He Fits – Cooper is another CB who can compete for a starting spot in the Bears secondary.  The Bears are adding more players who could potentially take each other’s job leaving everyone with two options, either improve or take a seat.  Cooper does have a leg up on the competition with his ability to find the ball in the air and either knock it down or intercept it.  My guess is cooper starts the season above Kyle Fuller for the second starting corner back role.

Contract – 3 years/16 million (8 million guaranteed)

Tight Ends and Receivers


Dion Sims – TE

Previous Team –  Miami Dolphins

sims

Bio – Sims was thought to be the favorite for the starting role in Miami had he returned for the 2017 season.  Sims is not the best receiving tight end but he is more than capable of finding the soft spot in zone defenses and gaining receptions that way.  Sims biggest strength is his ability to block, always finding proper leverage against the other team’s defense.  Sims is a young player, age 26, with a lot of upside.

Where He Fits – Sims is a depth signing who could potentially become a future starter.  At the beginning of the season expect to see Zach Miller to get most of the receiving reps at TE for the Bears and Sims to come in during short yardage running situations.  If the injury bug gets to Miller again, Sims could move up to the number one TE spot on the roster.  Sims is still young and has plenty of upside, those two factors could result in Sims playing in a Bears uniform for a long time.

Contract – 3 years/18 million (10 million guaranteed)

 

Markus Wheaton – WR

Previous Team – Pittsburgh Steelers

wheaton

Bio –  At 26, Wheaton is a young player who was selected in the third round of the 2013 draft.  Wheaton was an electric collegiate talent that hasn’t been quite as electric in the NFL.  He is a receiver who possesses well above average speed but is average across the rest of the board.  His speed has also resulted in him returning a couple kicks for the Steelers during his time with the team.

Where He Fits – With Alshon Jeffrey on the Eagles the Bears need wide receivers.  It’s simple supply and demand; the Bears have the demand and Wheaton is the supply.  On another team, Wheaton probably would not see much playing time.  Wheaton will be used to try and stretch opposing defenses with his speed, which is his best asset.  The Bears return game struggled mightily last season which could mean Wheaton sees some time returning kicks for the Bears next year.

Contract – 2 years/11 million ($5 million guaranteed)

Kendall Wright- WR

Previous Team – Tennessee Titians

wright

Bio – Kendall Wright is a talented wide receiver who has shown flashes of being a great NFL player however Wright hasn’t shown that potential constantly over the course of an entire season.  Wright’s best NFL year was in 2012 when Wright hauled in 94 receptions for 1,079 yards.  It is worth noting that Wright’s offensive coordinator during his best season was Dowell Loggains, the current Bears offensive coordinator.  Wright is former 1st round pick who possess breakaway speed which makes up for his lack of size (5’11’’, 189lbs).

Where He Fits – Wright will spend most of his time in the slot due his quickness and small size.  The Bears seem to be targeting fast receivers in free agency and Wright fits the bill.  Expect Wright to be used to stretch defenses and force them to respect the deep pass.

Contract – 1 year/2 million (1 million guaranteed)

Defensive and Offensive Line


C.J. Wilson – DL 

Previous Team –  Bears

wilson

Bio – C.J. Wilson saw action last year for the Bears due to the injuries sustained by starting DT Eddie Goldman.  While Goldman was healthy it was very clear the talent that the Bears front seven could possess.  With Goldman out the Bears’ defensive line got very little push up front and it was blatantly obvious how valuable he was to the team.  One player that held his own better than most in Goldman’s absence was Wilson.  Wilson was able to provide a solid push for the Bears at the line of scrimmage and wrap up running backs before they got to the second level, exactly what a DT needs to do.

Where He Fits – Wilson will spend a lot of time sitting in 2017 if Eddie Goldman is healthy for the full season.  Wilson is a player that the Bears should rotate in at DL for at least a few snaps each game just to get their starters some in game rest.  Expect Wilson’s contribution to be small, but depth can never be overlooked.

Contract – 1 year/980,000 (180,000 guaranteed)

Tom Compton – OL

Previous Team –  Atlanta Falcons

compton

Bio – Since Compton has only started 10 games in his career there is still a lot to learn about how he plays football in the NFL.  What is known about Compton is he has taken on the role of swing tackle for the teams he has played for and he drew interest from the Falcons, Lions and 49ers.  The Bears run a zone blocking system which is something the Compton is used to thanks to his time in Atlanta.

Where He Fits – Compton is a young tackle who is still learning and growing in the NFL.  Compton stated in an interview that he chose the Bears over other teams because they presented him with the opportunity to compete.  The interior of the Bears O-line is solid with Kyle Long, Josh Sitton and Cody Whitehair.  However, the tackles on the Bears O-line have not been as outstanding as their interior counterparts.  Bobby Massie was a big name signing for the Bears last offseason but struggled during the beginning of the season.  Eventually Massie settled down and played well to finish the season.  Charles Leno Jr. received a lot of criticism for his play at left tackle but he actually has played relatively well for the Bears.  Though last years starters at tackle were not awful it is a very real possibility that one could be replaced with Compton before week 1.

Contract – 1 year/1.85 million (850,000 guaranteed)

Linebackers


Christian Jones – LB

Previous Team –  Bears

jones_christian

Bio – Christian Jones has been a career member of the Bears since signing with the team as an undrafted free agent in 2014.  Jones is still young but doesn’t offer much upside, we’ve pretty much seen everything Jones has to offer at this point.  Jones is an average athlete who has shown an ability to swarm the ball, leading the Bears in total tackles from 2014 to 2015 with 196.  Though he lead the team in tackles, Jones was the best tackler on bad defenses.

Where He Fits – No doubt about it, Jones is strictly a depth signing.  Most of his contribution to the 2017 team should come on special teams.  If an injury occurs Jones is a player that has been in the system for a few years and can jump in without standing out for the wrong reasons.

Contract – 1year/1.5 million (500,000 guaranteed)

Sam Acho – LB

Previous Team – Bears

acho

Bio – Acho was selected by the Arizona Cardinals in the fourth round of the 2011 NFL draft.  Acho spent the first four years of his career in Arizona before joining the Bears before the 2015 season.  Acho came to Chicago with experience playing in a 3-4 defense which was a valuable asset for a team switching defensive schemes.  Acho plays the run exceptionally well from the linebacker position and can also hold his own rushing the passer.

Where He Fits –  The Bears are overstocked at the linebacker position with young and talented athletes.  With McPhee, Houston, Floyd, and Willie Young all on the roster Acho will not receive many defensive reps.  Acho is a rotational linebacker capable of giving starters rest or stepping in if a starter goes down with an injury.  Acho will be one of the Bears best special teams players for the 2017 season.

Contract – 1 year (money unknown)

Dan Skuta – LB 

Previous Team – Jacksonville Jaguars

dan-skuta

Bio – Dan Skuta is an NFL veteran, gaining the title by playing the past eight years.  Skuta played well during his stint with the San Francisco 49ers where none other than Vic Fangio was his defensive coordinator.  While a member of Fangio’s defense Skuta played well enough to earn a five-year deal with the Jaguars in 2014, which is where he has been for the past two NFL seasons.  While a member of the Jaguars Skuta obtained valuable experience starting eight games in 2015 and two games in 2016.

Where He Fits – Skuta played outside linebacker for the Jaguars and is more than capable of playing inside as well.  With an abundance of talent at the outside linebacker position it’s hard to imagine Skuta finding reps at the outside position.  However, outside of Trevathon and Freeman the inside linebacker position is weak for the Bears.  Skuta is an insurance policy signing, meant to hold down the fort if an injury occurs in the Bears linebacker room.  Skuta will give the Bears depth and supply starters with occasional rest for a series or two.

Contract – 1 year (money unknown)

Kickers


Connor Barth – K

Previous Team –  Bears

barth

Bio – Barth joined the Bears last season when longtime kicker and fan favorite Robbie Gould was released by the team due to his high salary.  The Bears wanted to get a kicker for less money, and at the beginning of last season they learned the hard way, you get what you pay for.  During the early stages of last season Barth hurt the team with an abundance of missed field goals.  Barth did calm down and become an adequate kicker finishing the season 18-23 on field goals good enough for 78.3 percent.

Where He Fits – Barth is the team’s starting kicker and kick off specialist.  He will be on the team until they are good again which is when I expect the Bears to find a better kicker.  Last year was an off year for kickers as a whole so an average kicker isn’t exactly bad.  The Bears have exactly that, an average kicker.

Contract – 1 year/ 980,000 (155,000 guaranteed)

 

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