You could make a sound and moat-protected argument the Bears off-season began with the firing of Lovie Smith and subsequent hiring of Marc Trestman as his replacement. Both of those decisions will shape the Chicago Bears for the next half-decade and define the tenure of General Manager Phil Emery in the city of Chicago. But around here, on this blog, I have always believed free agency, roster moves and the draft should not be discussed until after the Super Bowl has been played. It is a gesture on my part. A show of respect for the postseason and the clubs in it. And hey, we have seven months to discuss roster decisions now. Seven months until the Packers or Steelers (I'd guess) travel to Baltimore to kick off the 2013 season.
Today will serve as something of a table of contents for the off-season as we take a look at the issues (major and minor) facing this organization. Each will be addressed in a large, long form piece as we move forward. Here are the basic questions:
- Does Devin Hester have a history in Chicago? Hester is a Bears legend and the greatest kick returner of all time but there seems to be a perception that he's in need of a change of scenery. It makes little sense to me.
- How will Bears address their two most glaring roster needs: offensive tackle and tight end? Both positions should have serious options at the twentieth pick in the draft, especially Ertz and Eifert at the TE spot.
- Jake Long? At one time Long was the finest left tackle in the sport but he's declined over the last year or two. Would the Bears be willing to overpay to upgrade their franchise QB's blindside?
- How much will Phil Emery pay Henry Melton? With the Bears deciding to bring Mel Tucker to town and the 4-3 structure remaining in place, Melton's worth in Chicago is still quite high. Will Phil Emery break the bank to sign arguably the game's finest young defensive tackle.
- Will Brian Urlacher finish his career at Soldier Field? Urlacher made it clear he'd take a serious pay cut. Will the Bears offer him one?
- What does Marc Trestman need? We've evaluated the Bears offensive needs based primarily on the needs of the former regime but does anybody know the specific types of offensive talent Trestman needs to be successful? I surely don't.
These are just the beginning of what will be a rejuvenating off-season for the Bears organization.