We get to check in with Chicago Tribune NFL expert Dan Pompei regarding the Bears off-sesaon issues such Brian Urlacher, free agency, and of course Jay Cutler.
TL: Will the Bears have any money to spend on UFAs? If so who do you they target?
DP: Yes I believe they will. Some of it depends on what happens between now and the start of free agency. But my guess is they will have the money and cap space to add at least one significant free agent who can step in and start. Who they target will depend on who is available. A lot of the names on the free agent list now will be removed in the coming weeks as teams either re-sign their own players or tag them. Their first priority has to be a left tackle, if a decent one hits the market.
TL: Is the Brian Urlacher decision strictly football? Is bringing him back right move?
DP: I think the decision is strictly football. It's how much can he help the team? What is his value to the product on the field? Can they be better without him? Given the options the Bears are likely to have to replace Urlacher, I think bringing him back makes sense. He has a value to the defense that extends beyond how fast he can run and how many tackles he can make.
TL: Where does Phil Emery find a TE?
DP: He would like to fill as many needs as possible in free agency, and then be free to cherry pick in the draft. But that's probably not entirely realistic. There is a decent chance he will go for a veteran, assuming the right ones shake free. There really isn't a lot of tight end depth in the draft, so if you don't strike early, you have no chance of getting an impact player at the position. The first and second rounds are good options, however.
TL: Peter King mentioned the Marc Trestman/Matt Cavanaugh duo being tougher on Jay Cutler. What changes could we expect to see if they have their way?
DP: First, I would say you'd see a better demeanor. You'd see a player who is more respectful of the game, his teammates and his coaches. And then you'd see better mechanics. In short, you would see a player who is more willing to conform to what is expected of him.
TL: 3 names you would bet on as the pick at #20?
DP: I wouldn't bet on anyone at this point. But I'll give you three possibilities: Alabama guard Chance Warmack, Alabama tackle D.J. Fluker, and Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert. And one bonus possibility: Notre Dame middle linebacker Manti Te'o.
TL: Reportedly the new coaching staff thinks they see an asset in J’Marcus Webb. Is this just another staff wowed by his potential or do they see something they can work with?
DP: There is plenty to work with regarding Webb. He's a talented player. Anyone who can't see it isn't looking very hard. The issue is if the new staff can make him a more consistent player, or more accurately, if Webb has matured enough to focus more consistently. If he is, he can be a solid starter in the NFL. If he's not, he's going to continue to frustrate his team.
Follow Dan @danpompei