This past Monday, 21 players were franchise tagged and officially off the board. With the beginning of free agency less than a week away, we can only wait in anticipation as to what the Bears might do.
This team is not far from contending, despite the obvious holes in the roster. We all know what the needs are and what the Bears need to do this offseason to make this team dangerous.
Jay Cutler needs another weapon to throw to. The Bears need help on the defensive and offensive lines. The secondary needs more playmakers. In general, the roster needs tweaking. With over $30 million dollars in cap space, Bears general manager, Phil Emery, can make a big splash in free agency. I'm not going to break down every possible scenario the Bears might find themselves in, I'm just going to mention the most important ones.
First and foremost... Like waiting for the store to open for the hottest pair of Retro Air Jordans or waiting to get the latest Apple iWhatever, the Bears need to be the first one in line to sign Vincent Jackson. Just like a couple years ago, when Lovie Smith made a personal trip to convince Julius Peppers to sign with the team, the Bears will need to do the same with Jackson. Make him an offer he can't refuse. It used to be that the Bears weren't an attractive team to sign with. Not anymore. This offense has weapons, like the half-completed Death Star.
If for some reason, Jackson passes, the Bears should kick around the tires of Marques Colston, Reggie Wayne or Pierre Garcon but not too long because they need to move on to their next target, Mario Williams. As long as Williams doesn't command Peppers-type money, he should be brought in. Imagine Peppers on one side, Williams on the other. The Bears would easily have the best defensive line in the league and can mask the deficiencies of the secondary.
The Bears are going to make noise during free agency, it's just a matter of what's behind door number one or two. With over $30 million in cap space, the Bears, if being managed like a Madden 12 franchise team, cam theoretically sign both Jackson and Williams. Doing so would leave no money left over to sign Matt Forte to a long-term deal by summer and questions will still remain around the overall roster depth. No matter who the Bears land, it will undoubtedly effect their draft needs.