There really isn't anyone on the free agent front worth acquiring right now, and considering the fact that Walker is about as happy about his contract situation as Lance Briggs is, I don't see him ending up in Chicago. I believe the Bears will go into training camp just as they are at defensive tackle and see what they have in Dusty Dvoracek, Anthony Adams, and Antonio Garay. Dvoracek is in the best shape of his life after last season's injury, Adams simply wasn't a good fit in the 3-4 but could do well back in a 4-3, and Garay has always had a lot of untapped talent.
There are bound to be more cuts as teams start trimming their rosters down to 53 over the course of the preseason, so it's possible they could find some help on the waiver wire in August should they need it.
It's probably too early to tell, but who do you think will be the starting DT alongside Tommie Harris this year? What's your objective opinion about how Tank's departure will impact the DT position this year? – UptownBear
I believe that Dvoracek will win the defensive tackle sweepstakes and ultimately be the starter alongside Harris. He was playing pretty well in the preseason last year before he got hurt, plus he's slimmed down and gotten stronger doing all that work with strength and conditioning coordinator Rusty Jones. Adams does not appear to be a very good pass rusher at this point, and Garay has always had more physical ability than football ability for some reason.
As far as losing Johnson is concerned, I honestly don't think the Bears will miss him that much because he was an average player at best and should be fairly replaceable.
OK ... training camp opens and no Briggs. He decides he will sign towards the end of camp and comes in terrible shape. What do the Bears do at that point? I think it would be really stupid on his part, but you never know. – Bearz68
Although it's possible that Briggs could show up to Bourbonnais out of shape should de decide to show up at all, but that would not be in his best interest. If he's not going to get his big payday from the Bears, then he needs to play as well as possible this season in order to convince another team that he's worth all the money he wants. I've said all along that Briggs will cave before Week 1 because he simply can't afford to miss any of those $450,000 game checks, especially since he didn't make much more than that all of last season.
Even if Briggs does report, he's going to be behind Jamar Williams on the depth chart and might not get his starting gig back for a while on principle alone.
Help me understand the Ricky Manning Jr.-Danieal Manning-Charles Tillman triangle. Why don't we get Tillman signed, trade Ricky and make Danieal a corner? Ricky is not as good as Nathan Vasher or Tillman. Manning is the bigger corner, so he could help in run support. What are your impressions? – CTomas1941 (El Salvador)
First of all, I believe the Bears are making an effort to extend Tillman even though they just gave Vasher a lot of money and it's hard to tie up so much cap space at one position. You're right that Ricky is not as good as Tillman or Vasher, which is why he's the nickelback – remember he played pretty well at that spot last season. Danieal has been getting plenty of reps at cornerback, but he's also been working at his usual free safety spot and looks like he'll be used as some sort of utility DB this season.
I do think that Danieal could be a very good corner with his speed and athletic ability, but you can't just expect him to be better than Ricky right away since he has almost no experience at that position.
Judging by the organization's apparent advantage that they hold over the Briggs situation, what exactly will the Bears gain IF Briggs continues to hold out? More cap room? Would they be better off shopping him for trades before camp or after the season starts? - TheBowlPole
If Briggs actually sticks to his guns and doesn't report until Week 11 or so, the Bears will save a pro-rated portion of his $7.2 million dollar franchise player salary against the cap. That's strictly this year's cap number and not next year's, so it's not like the organization will then have that much more money to spend in 2008. Once Briggs was not traded before the draft this past April, I pretty much assumed Briggs would be in a Bears uniform at some point this season because the team isn't going to move him just for the sake of moving him.
I believe the best time to trade him going forward will be just before the regular season begins, especially if another team has a significant injury or two during camp.
Did you think Vasher was going to get all that money, and do you think it was a good deal for the Bears? – Paul (Gurnee, IL)
I was betting that Tillman would get an extension before Vasher would despite the fact that Vasher has been to the Pro Bowl and Tillman hasn't. Lovie Smith's defense works much better with bigger and stronger cornerbacks because they are needed in run support and rarely asked to cover speedy wideouts deep down the field. I've said for quite some time that signing both of them for the long term may be impossible in a salary-capped system, but it sure looks like GM Jerry Angelo is trying to get both of them locked up for the long term.
And yes, I do think it was a good deal for the Bears because Vasher has been a solid player and an excellent citizen in every capacity.
Is Robbie Gould really that good of a kicker, or did he just have an awesome season last year? A lot of kickers can be erratic from year to year. – Christopher (Omaha, NE)
I agree with you that some kickers can be lights-out one season and pretty drab the next, just like Arizona's Neil Rackers in 2006 after a record-setting 2005. Remember that Gould was not drafted out of Penn State and might not even be in the NFL right now if Doug Brien hadn't been so awful for the Bears at the beginning of 2005. But sometimes it just take these guys some time to figure out everything that goes into being a top-flight kicker, especially between the ears since the mental aspects of doing that job are so important.
I'm not expecting Gould to lead the NFC in scoring again this season, but I think he's the real deal and will be around for a while.
What's going to happen now that NFL Europa has been shut down? Any chance there's some sort of developmental league on the horizon? – Neil (Rock Island, IL)
According to the press release I got from the NFL this week, "The NFL has determined that it will switch the focus of its international business strategy to presenting the NFL to the widest possible global audience, including broader media visibility and the staging of international regular-season games, and will discontinue NFL Europa." Looks like the league was bleeding money with NFL Europa and how just wants to stage actual NFL games on foreign soil. I for one think that playing regular season games outside the country is ludicrous because of the travel concerns for the teams involved, although preseason games would be fine.
I haven't heard anything about a developmental league like the NBA currently has, but we all know that the NFL will do whatever it can to increase its exposure – and its collective pocketbook.
What do you really think Tank Johnson was doing out in Arizona when he got pulled over? – Eddie (Mission Viejo, CA)
I've said all along that I found myself pulling for Johnson the more I listened to him talk after he got out of jail, but now I've just come to the conclusion that he's a con-artist. Although the results of his blood test are still not known and may not be for another week or so, it wouldn't surprise me one bit if it showed traces of both alcohol and marijuana. He has proven that he has very little control over himself and consistently hangs out with the wrong crowd.
If Johnson so much as gets charged with anything in Arizona, expect NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to up his suspension to a full season – 16 games.
What's with all these Lions players coming out and saying that they're going to win 10+ games this season? Do they really have the talent to get it done, or are they out of their minds? – Trevor (Oak Park, IL)
As Homer Simpson once said, "A little bit from Column A, and a little bit from Column B."
|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.|