A Different Direction

Jerry Angelo said the Bears top off-season priority is addressing the quarterback situation and trading for one is a possibility.<p> &quot;Whatever is what I feel viable to making us a healthier football team at any position in particular the quarterback position,&quot; Angelo said.<p>

However, Angelo would have to deem the Bears as a player or two away from being a championship contender in order to mortgage part of the future for a title shot. He was part of such a move when he was with Tampa Bay.

"We were very draft oriented when I was in Tampa, but yet we gave up two number one's for Keyshawn Johnson because we felt that was an intrical piece for us to get over the top so to speak," Angelo said.

Although, the move did not produce a Super Bowl victory by the Bucs it did show the team was willing to take a risk for reward.

Under Mark Hatley the Bears were more likely to trade down to gain more draft picks rather than attempt to trade up for a player high on their board because the team was going through a rebuilding process.

For example, the 1999 draft produced Cade McNown with the 12th pick in the draft. Chicago had the 7th pick, but elected to trade down in order to stockpile draft picks which in essence produced players like Marty Booker, Warrick Holdman and Rosevelt Colvin. However, Pro Bowl players like Daunte Culpepper and Champ Bailey would have been available if Hatley didn't trade the pick.

So, the question becomes does Angelo believe the Bears are a quarterback away from winning it all?

"We're assessing where we are at," Angelo said. "What piece do we need to make us better? But, I'm not unrealistic. We have a good football team, if all our pieces that we had last year or a good majority of them are back then I feel very good about our football team."

Jim Miller still remains a viable option for the Bears, but Angelo isn't rushing into anything at this point.

"Obviously, Jim Miller comes to mind first and once we get our cap person on board, which should be in the next few days," Angelo said. "And then have him sit down, look at our situation and see what we can do in terms of the type of offer we're going to extend to Jim.

"Then we're going to explore other opportunities to see what's available. As I've said before I'm not going to leave any stone in terms of upgrading our football team at any position."

The Bears and Redskins look to be the frontrunners for the services of Drew Bledsoe, but with recent events Washington could be pulling away. The Redskins have a higher first round selection (18th) to trade for Bledsoe then Chicago's 29th pick.

Not to mention Redskins owner Daniel Snyder seems to be willing to pay whatever the cost to bring in high profile coaches. Washington recently hired Marvin Lewis, who had been the Ravens defensive coordinator the last six seasons before nearly replacing Tony Dungy as the Bucs next head coach, to be their defensive coordinator. He signed a three-year deal worth approximately $1 million per season, which is a lot of money to pay an assistant coach, even for Snyder.

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