On Saturday, the Bears upgraded their secondary in a big way.
Cornerback Marcus Cooper inked a three-year deal with the team, the Bears announced.
Cooper, 27, joins Prince Amukamara and Johnthan Banks, who was re-signed to a one-year deal on Saturday as three new cornerbacks.
Originally a seventh round pick out of Rutgers by San Francisco, Cooper has 130 tackles, seven interceptions, 32 pass breakups, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery in 53 games, 24 starts across four seasons.
He spent his first three years in Kansas City, which was highlighted by a rookie season with three interceptions.
Last season with Arizona, Cooper made 13 starts, adding 69 tackles, four interceptions and 11 pass breakups. He also had an interception for a touchdown as he was named a 2016 Pro Bowl alternate.
At 6’2″, 192 lbs., he fits the bill as a lengthy and aggressive corner for Vic Fangio’s defensive scheme. In fact, Cooper was drafted by a defense that Fangio and current defensive backs coach Ed Donatell ran.
Cooper and Amukamara provide notable upgrades for a Bears’ cornerback room that generated only seven interceptions last season. The defense as a whole had eight picks.
Veteran Tracy Porter, Kyle Fuller, Banks and youngsters Deiondre’ Hall, Bryce Callahan and Cre’Von LeBlanc represent the rest of the core.
This unit looks much improved with Cooper and Amukamara in the mix, but the Bears shouldn’t be done trying to find that true No. 1 playmaking corner.
There are reasons why Cooper and Amukamara were available in free agency. I think Amukamara is rock solid and Cooper can really pan out as a free agent gem. However, again if they were true studs they wouldn’t have been let go. It is hard to find those reliable cornerbacks in this day and age.
Wide receiver boost
Late Saturday night, the Bears brought a new wide receiver to town. With Alshon Jeffery gone to Philadelphia and Markus Wheaton signed to a two-year deal on Thursday, the team decided to sign another veteran wideout. 27-year-old Kendall Wright inked a one-year deal worth up to $4 million, per ESPN’s Adam Caplan.
The 5’10”, 191-pounder was the No. 20th overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft out of Baylor. He totaled 280 receptions for 3,244 yards and 18 touchdowns in 66 games, making 41 starts. Wright’s best season came with former coach Dowell Loggains, the Bears’ current offensive coordinator. He recorded 94 catches for 1,079 yards and two touchdowns in 2013. A year later, he had a career-best six touchdowns.
Wright, Wheaton along with Kevin White and Cameron Meredith give the Bears four options to work with. None of them are No. 1 guys, but Meredith is steady, Wright and Wheaton can stretch the field and if White can stay healthy, so can he. The draft is where the team will look to add that true No. 1 guy.
Former Viking Cordarelle Patterson was in town earlier in the day visiting with the Bears, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The wide receiver/kick returner would be a nice upgrade on kickoffs. No deal has been reached yet.
Swing tackle help
Last year it was Mike Adams who had the swing tackle job. This season, it appears it will be Tom Compton who signed a deal with the team on Saturday, per the Sun-Times. The South Dakota product turns 28 in May. At 6’5″, 308 lbs., he comes to the Bears with 60 appearances and 11 starts in five seasons (Washington – 2012-2015, Atlanta – 2016).
A familiar face returned to the Bears on Saturday. Fourth-year linebacker Christian Jones agreed to a one-year deal. He made 20 starts for the team including 13 in 2015 since joining the Bears in 2014 as an undrafted rookie out of Florida State. The 26-year-old had a team-high 11 special teams tackles last season. Jones provides versatility in the linebacker room and represents a core special teamer.
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