That's right, over $100 million in free agent signings in one day. This does not sound like the cheap and lethargic organization that so many fans seem to complain about. All other evidence aside, that debate has been put to rest following Friday's spending spree.
After hearing about the Bears sining TE Brandon Manumaleuna early yesterday morning, I thought to myself, "Well, that's nice... I guess. Now if they signed Julius Peppers and Chester Taylor they might stand a chance to be competitive by the end of the offseason."
The team still needs to fill various holes, notably in the secondary and across the offensive line, but after acquiring the top free agent on the market, in Julius Peppers, the defensive line is notably improved. With any luck, Pepper's presence will allow for a supposedly healthy Tommy Harris to have a long-awaited breakout season (sorry, I can't consider 8 sacks in one season for a career high as a "breakout" year), as well as aiding Alex Brown by drawing attention to the other side of the line.
Furthermore, Matt Forte's un-stellar second year will be much easier to handle knowing that he now has Chester Taylor helping in front of him. Taylor has been overshadowed in Minnesota by star and full-time fumbler Adrian Peterson, and will likely play with a chip on his shoulder, looking to earn notice for his career average 4.3 yards/carry.
As the team continues to shop former first-round pick TE Gregg Olsen, who seems to be an unfortunate odd-man out in the new Mike Martz offense, it is good to know that newcomer Manumaleuna is both familiar with Martz's offense as well as a renowned blocker at his position. This is good for QB Jay Cutler whose brain would certainly appreciate less punishment than it endured during 2009 for this upcoming campaign.
Of course, I stress the fact that this team is far from complete. However, it is something special to know that two years in a row now our beloved Bears have done what everyone thought they wouldn't. These types of moves will always be controversial, but they are the types of moves that teams must take chances on to win Championships.
Last year Jerry Angelo traded away captain of the neckbeards, Kyle Orton, and a bundle of high draft picks for a quarterback in Jay Cutler who is instantly the most talented (NOT polished or accomplished) athlete the franchise has ever had at the position.
Now, the following year, the same organization, which has often been criticized as unwilling to spend money or make bold moves, wastes no time landing two of the top free agents, if not the top two, as well as adding a complimentary piece in Manumaleuna.
All I'm saying is that now the Bears may actually be able to address the remaining weaknesses in subtle ways that can still be successful. The one thing Angelo has regularly done well as Bears GM is picking defensive talent in the mid to later rounds of the draft. The safety position will likely be accounted for here, and hopefully some extra help at cornerback as well.
As far as the offensive line goes, expect to see some draft movement here too, but Angelo's picks on the O-line have been far from impressive, though hope remains for recent first round pick Chris Williams. Perhaps a smaller free agent signing, or impending trade, will help address this situation, but the deep draft this year seems to hint towards the Bears attempting to trade for draft picks, not other players.
In any case, yesterday gave Bear fans hope, so why crap all over it? To any nay-saying fans, I ask you to please shut-up and enjoy the fact that your favorite franchise is attempting, the best it can, to improve the team you root for. This is a good thing.
As a side note, did anyone notice that Julius Peppers appears to be arguably the happiest person on the planet? That smile didn't fade during the entire press conference! (Although I'm sure his shiny new contract had a little something to do with that).