With the season ending debacle, we'll need to look forward to the offseason and wait and see what the Bears will do to solidify their roster for another run next season. Phil Emery has plenty of work ahead of him. He'll have to use the same magic he used to rebuild the offense but this time on defense and has 29 free agents on the current roster. Here are 10 predictions that will make the most noise this offseason.
Re-sign Jay Cutler -- they've already signed kicker Robbie Gould and full back Tony Fiammetta. What makes you think they don't already have an agreed upon offer on the table for Cutler? The way Marc Trestman and Phil Emery have talked about Cutler and his role on this team, this isn't out of the question. Depending on how the deal is structured and how soon this gets done will determine Josh McCown's future with the Bears.
(Attempt to) Re-sign Josh McCown -- after Cutler gets his deal, look for the Bears to give McCown a competitive contract to be Cutler's back up. Not sure if this will happen because McCown will likely get good money to be a starter somewhere else... but it will come down to whether he wants to be on a contending team or play on a struggling team that will only look to replace him.
Ask Julius Peppers to restructure -- Peppers underperformed this season and if he still wants to be on this team, the front office will ask him to take less money. He's at the end of his career and if he doesn't restructure, he may get less somewhere else.
Convert Shea McClellin into a linebacker -- we all know that McClellin is out of position. He doesn't have the size or strength to be an edge rusher and looks to be more of a linebacker. With Lance Briggs also being at the tail end of his career, McClellin may be his eventual replacement.
Offer Charles Tillman a contract (at a lower rate) -- Peanut is another defender at the end of his career and in recent years has been injury prone. I think Peanut will test the market and if offered the right situation he will probably walk.
Devin Hester is done -- it's been a great run with Hester. Every Bears fan would gasp every time he touched the ball, both for good and bad reasons. The Bears will not be willing to to pay a specialist the money he'll want.
Major Wright is out, Chris Conte stays -- Wright is an unrestricted free agent. Conte is still under contract. This just comes down to simple economics. By signing Cutler and (maybe) McCown, the Bears will have to be thrifty with other positions. If the Bears can upgrade the defensive line, this will help mask poor safety play.
2014 draft will be dominated by picks on defense -- no duh... the Bears ranked 30th points allowed and 29th in yards allowed. The Bears need to get younger and need playmakers on every level of the defense.
Defensive line will be rebuilt via draft and through FA -- again no duh. Not only do the Bears need to rebuild the defensive line through the draft, they will also have look to see what's available in free agency.
Mel Tucker will not be fired -- Tucker was who everyone pointed the blame for the Bears' failures on defense. Justified or not, he was working in a scheme that was not his own plus the defense was hit with the injury bug. With an offseason to rebuild the defense, Tucker should have a chance to make this an average defense.