What's the Next Move for Bears?

The Bears lost out on their top free agent priority because the Redskins offered a monster contract to Antwaan Randle El the team understandably unwilling to match. For better or worse, it appears the Bears are content to continue playing the waiting game.

Although the Bears wanted Randle El to bring versatility to the offense and stability to the return game, paying him $31 million over seven years is overpriced. The deal with the Redskins included $11.5 in guaranteed money. The Bears made an initial offer of $18 million over six years with an $8 million signing bonus.

Considering Randle El has never caught more than 47 balls in a season, paying that type of coin to a second or third receiver on the depth chart is something only the Redskins would think wise.

If it weren't for the new CBA, Washington would have had to cut players to get under the cap as opposed to being a major player on the open market.

Now it appears the Bears have more $20 million in cap space but few moves on the horizon.

The wideout crop is shrinking by the day with Antonio Bryant reportedly signing with San Francisco and David Givens going back to New England. The team better be confident that either Mark Bradley or Bernard Berrian is ready to start opposite Muhsin Muhammad because there are no upgrades left on the market.

There are still players available that could help the Bears in the return game, such as Eddie Drummond or Tim Dwight.

Quarterback could now become more of focus. While Josh McCown has talked with several teams, he's yet to land the starting job he covets. He would come to Chicago as a backup, but could see an opportunity to move up the depth chart.

Jeb Putzier would be an improvement over Desmond Clark at tight end. Signing him would eliminate the position as a potential first day draft pick and allow the team to focus on defensive depth and youth on the offensive line.

There are several high priced cornerbacks on the market, but general manager Jerry Angelo has stated repeatedly he prefers to address the position through the draft.

Adam Archuleta also appears headed for Washington. He's reportedly signed a deal that will average $3.5 million annually.

Taking care of extensions for Lance Briggs and Ian Scott is now a more realistic option because of the Chicago's cap situation and lack of free agent activity.

Adding talent could also come after June cuts, but for now the lack of news out of Halas Hall is disturbingly quiet.

The Bears were wise not to overspend on Randle El. However, there are few alternatives to boost an offense that still lacks playmakers.

Drafting a wideout on the first day for the third straight year is unlikely to yield an early return. At the same time, do the Bears have enough talent for Rex Grossman to establish himself as a starter in the NFL?

At this point in the off-season, it would be hard to answer that question in the affirmative with confidence.


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