Worth Investigating

The injury to Tank Johnson has the Bears pondering whether or not to look for depth on the interior of the defensive line in free agency. We run down the top defensive tackles on the open market and determine if there's anyone available worth signing.

  • Brenston Buckner – In his 12th year in the NFL, Buckner recorded 28 tackles and a sack with the Panthers. Carolina cut him in an effort to avoid paying a $2.5 million roster bonus. He would be a stopgap measure, but that's really all the Bears need until Johnson is healthy.

  • Grady Jackson – The nose tackle was an occasional enforcer in the middle, particularly near the goal line, and the 33-year-old managed to stay healthy the entire season. As much as he expects to be paid on par with the top nose tackles in the league, Jackson may have to settle for a modest deal beefed up with incentives.

  • Gary Walker – Struggled once again to stay on the field. He missed five games and was forced to have surgery on his triceps toward the end of the season. Despite wanting to retire in Houston, Walker found himself a salary-cap casualty because he was due to make a base salary of $4 million in 2006. Is toward the end of his career but can play defensive tackle in a 4-3 system.

  • James Reed – He played with heart, but couldn't fill the cleats of departed Jason Ferguson at NT.

  • Jason Fisk – Only started in Cleveland because the Browns had no one better on the roster.

  • Lance Legree – Did nothing to standout as part of the Jets' defensive line rotation.

  • Ed Jasper – Solid contributor for the Raiders who toyed with retiring last season. Back trouble may force the issue.

  • Steve Martin – The NFL journeyman has played for six teams in 10 years in the league.

  • Carl Powell – The former Bear has stayed in the league because he's able to play both end and tackle. He also contributes on special teams.

    At this point the market is not worth pursuing. The Bears have enough depth to wait out the June 1st cuts and see if any other players who fit the scheme become available.


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