Technically, both Archuleta and Brown are strong safeties that do most of their damage playing near the line of scrimmage. That being said, Brown started his career as a free safety and could very well be moved back there because it's more of his natural position. Danieal Manning is a classic free safety thanks to his blazing speed, but he did struggle down the stretch last season after playing very well the first half or so. It's also not beyond the realm of possibility that Manning could be switched to cornerback because he is so fast, but it's not likely.
And as far as the trade for Archuleta meaning the end of Brown's career in Chicago, I'm fully expecting Brown to be a Bear next season because of his incomparable leadership ability and laundry list of intangibles.
Should the Bears consider drafting Michigan State's Drew Stanton in the later rounds if he's available? Or are we stuck with the QBs we have for another year? – Trevor (Traverse City, MI)
I for one was not particularly impressed with Stanton at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, and I don't think many of the scouts were either. He certainly looks like a quarterback aesthetically, but he did not test well in any of the measurable categories and was very erratic throwing the ball. There wasn't too much zip on his passes either, something that you simply can't coach at the next level. Stanton probably lost a chance to be drafted on the first day and looks to be a fourth- or fifth-rounder at best right now.
Is Adrian Peterson finally going to get an opportunity to carry the ball every game now that Thomas Jones is gone? Will he split time with Cedric Benson like Benson split with Jones? Vandy (Ames, IA)
I talked with NFL insider Adam Caplan about the possible trade of Jones with Benson becoming the featured back in Chicago, and it appears that I'm more sold on Benson than he is. As far as Peterson is concerned, he does own a career average of 4.7 yards per carry and has played well every time he's been a part of the offense. He hits the hole quickly, catches the ball nicely out of the backfield, and we all know that he's not afraid to deliver a hit based on his track record on special teams. I think the Bears would be just fine in 2007 with Benson getting 20-25 carries a game and 5-10 for Peterson, but there will certainly be an addition to the depth chart either via the draft of free agency.
I asked GM Jerry Angelo specifically after the Jones trade if Peterson's responsibilities on special teams would prohibit him from serving as the No. 2 tailback, and Angelo said absolutely not.
Are the Bears close to an extension with Bobby DePaul and Greg Gabriel? – TexasBearsFan
If they are, they have not made any of that information public. Both DePaul and Gabriel are widely respected in the organization and have done a good job since coming to work under Jerry Angelo, but I couldn't tell you for sure the situation with either one of their contracts. However, with Angelo now under contract through 2013, it certainly looks good for both DePaul and Gabriel that they'll be around for quite some time. That being said, it wouldn't be beyond the realm of possibility that either one of them could be hired away by another club if offered a better job with more responsibility.
The Bears are preaching continuity from the top of the organization all the way down, that's for sure.
Why are the Bears seemingly interested in another fullback? Don't they already have two pretty good ones in Jason McKie and J.D. Runnels? And didn't McKie just get a new contact?
While McKie has turned out to be a pretty solid player signed an extension through 2011 back on Nov. 2, he still needs to improve as a lead blocker. Runnels has shown very soft hands catching the ball out of the backfield, but he too has a long way to go before he's going to be a difference-maker in the run game. Bryan Johnson simply can't stay healthy and is due to be cut fairly soon, but the Bears will most definitely have at least three fullbacks in camp once they get to Bourbonnais. And I don't think anyone has been particularly impressed with Runnels at all, so perhaps a block-first fullback would make sense with a second-day draft pick.
Remember when Jamal Lewis went to jail in the offseason, and then he was terrible when he came back? Is Tank Johnson going to have the same problems? Wesley (Bainbridge, GA)
I think that's a legitimate concern to say the least. Johnson is going to be behind bars for at least 60 days and possibly the entire 120 days of his sentence, so his eating and exercise habits will change drastically whether he likes it or not. A lot of people were naïve enough to think that prison life would harden Lewis and give him some sort of edge coming into the next season, but that proved not to be the case. As a matter of fact, Lewis has not been the same back since his time in the joint and looks nothing like the unstoppable force who rushed for 2,066 yards in 2003.
Defensive tackle was probably not a red-alert priority at the end of last season, but with Johnson serving time, Tommie Harris not at full strength after hamstring surgery, Alfonso Boone signing with Kansas City, and Ian Scott still a free agent, you can take it to the bank that the Bears will select another DT on the first day of the draft.
Now that the Bears have made the trade for Adam Archuleta, will they scratch safety off their list for the draft next month? – Yoder (Cicero, IL)
A lot of people are assuming that the Bears no longer need a safety in the draft because of the Archuleta deal, but I bet they still draft one next month. Archuleta was terrific in St. Louis but terrible in Washington, so you can't just assume that a change of scenery will fix all of his problems. Brown has missed 28 regular season games the last three years because of recurring lower-leg injuries, so you can't depend on him at this juncture. Manning was hit-and-miss as a rookie, and he still has a ways to go before being totally reliable.
What's the updated salary cap situation? Do the Bears still have to pay Lance Briggs all that money against the cap even if he doesn't play next season? – Austin (Mt. Carmel, IL)
The Bears entered the offseason approximately $17 million under the $109 million salary cap, but $7.2 million is earmarked for Briggs because that's the value of his franchise tag. He'll forfeit about $450,000 for each game he misses next season should he decide to sit out, although the team can't start spending any of that money other places because they would then be over the cap should Briggs report before Week 1. Trading away Thomas Jones and trading for Adam Archuleta was essentially a wash from a cap perspective – Jones has a $2.25 million cap number, Archuleta's is $2.67 million. By my count, that leaves about $9.5 million that is currently available for free agent signings and draft picks.
Assuming the Bears still pick 31st in the first round, it will probably cost the organization around $3-4 million in cap space to sign its draft picks, so they would be wise to use what's left to re-sign guard Ruben Brown because going back to Terrence Metcalf would be a downgrade.
During this free agency period just who have the Bears interviewed for possible signings? I have heard a big fat zero. I am sure Jerry Angelo has a plan, but why haven't the Bears at least tried to sign some of the top free agents this year? - Ghostd00d
I have access to a list that chronicles every team and every free agent they have entertained for a visit. As for the Bears, their entry is blank. That's right, they have not even had a visit by one free agent since the signing period began back on March 2. Angelo had eight draft picks in next month's draft before the Archuleta deal, so getting him is sort of like a free agent signing. Now he has seven picks left to fill most of the holes on his roster, specifically depth on both the offensive and defensive line and a playmaking tight end.
But remember, there will also be a lot of cuts around June 1, so there will be another wave of free agent activity in which the Bears – for all we know – could be heavily involved.
I saw that the Bears extended eight of Lovie Smith's assistant coaches this week, including Ron Turner. Isn't three more years a lot for an assistant coach? Why so much? – Mookie (Springfield, IL)
A three-year extension isn't necessarily a huge commitment to an assistant coach, especially when you consider that Smith is inked through 2011. Remember that many of those eight assistant are guys like running backs coach Tim Spencer and wide receivers coach Darryl Drake. While they may be essential to the overall success of the ballclub and are very good coaches in their own regard, neither one of them makes a ton of money. It would be far from financially crippling if the organization chose to fire any one of them before their contracts expire in 2009.
The team's long-term commitment to Smith implies that he'll have more say in what happens at Halas Hall, meaning all of his assistants just got a little more job security.
|John Crist is the Publisher of Bear Report and Editor in Chief of BearReport.com. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.|