Phil Emery isn't messing around.
In the first day of NFL free agency, Emery made two big signings bringing in TE Martellus Bennett and LT Jermon Bushrod. Both positions were an area of need for the Bears and Emery brought in some nice pieces. Bennett, who was with the New York Giants last season, had 55 receptions for 625 yards and 5 TD's last year. The Bears last season, with all their tight ends, combined for only 29 receptions and just over 300 yards. The 6'6" 265lbs Bennett will be a major upgrade that will bring the ability to block and receive. Sticking with the idea to improve the offense, Emery also upgraded the left tackle position with former New Orleans Saints Jermon Bushrod. Bushrod now gives the Bears a legit left tackle to watch Jay Cutler's blindside. New offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Aaron Kormer reunites with Bushrod here in Chicago. Bushrod, who is 6'5" 315lbs, will replace J'Marcus Webb at left tackle. Webb and Carmini will now battle for the starting right tackle role. The odd man out likely becomes a backup or gets cut based on what the Bears do with Jonathan Scott. Kellen Davis also likely lost his job today with the addition of Bennett.
This was a good day one for the Bears. Emery is aware that this team lacked talent at certain positions. Today was the first step in addressing those needs. Jay Cutler should be extremely happy. In the past two off-seasons, Emery has added Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery at receiver, re-signed Matt Forte, and today added a Pro Bowl linemen and a threat at the tight end position. With a new offensive minded head coach in Marc Trestman, Cutler will have no excuses this year. Emery is surrounding him with talent and now Jay will have to do his part. Yes, Jay it's on you. So what's next for the Bears?
The Bears made their big splash signings today. Emery will now look for the bargain or second tier signings he feels will benefit the team. Also, Emery will start addressing the Bears own free agents. I hope fans aren't upset if some favorites are not brought back. This team has not won a championship and only made the playoffs twice in the last 6 seasons. Change is necessary. Along with some departures, expect some contracts extended or re-negotiated (Peppers, Tilllman, Jennings). The Bears have until July to get under the cap. Another necessary move will be coming to a long term deal with DT Henry Melton. Melton signed his $8 million dollar franchise tag today. The Bears need to get a long term deal done to gain that added cap room.
The draft gets a lot more interesting as well. The Bears have the 20th pick overall. With the addition of Bushrod and Bennett, the Bears will not be drafting a left tackle or tight end. The draft is offensive line heavy though, so the Bears may make the unsexy pick a go with a guard. The draft is filled with quality guards this year. Another possibility, based on their draft board, is to trade down for a lower first round pick and gain another second. Emery, being the draft guru he is, will love that flexibility.
There is still a ton of work to do, but the Bears took a big step today improving their offense. The additions were costly in free agency, but a lack of drafting by the former regime made them necessary. Players that did not pull their weight last season will be cut for cap space and others will now compete for backup roles. One thing's for sure though, Emery is not standing pat.
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