How to Compete in the 2011 NFC North

How to Compete in the 2011 NFC North

Now that the NFL lockout has ended and free agency can start, the never ending circus that is Bears management can resume. I would like to propose a few free agent acquisitions that would help the Bears be competitive in what is sure to be a very strong NFC North division. The Bears have quite a bit of cap space to play with this year so they have an opportunity to improve their overall talent greatly. Surprisingly, Jerry Angelo made two excellent picks this year in the Draft picking up OT Gabe Carimi from Wisconsinand DT Stephen Paea from Oregon Stat, both being steals for the slots they were picked in. Now that they have signed a big receiver in Roy Williams they need to look to improve four more positions. Their first priority should be to sign Shaun O’Hara a pro bowl center and Chicago Heights native who was a salary cap casualty for the New York Giants. I know most Bears fans would like to see the team bring back Olin Kreutz but O’Hara is absolutely the better player at this point. The second player the Bears should look at signing is Antonio Cromartie a Cornerback who was released by the New York Jets. While Tim Jennings played well last year, he would be a nickel back on most teams not to mention that Charles Tillman is getting older and is prone to neck and shoulder injuries. Cromartie would offer a major improvement at that spot. The third player that should be on the Bears target list is Manny Lawson an Outside Linebacker who was released by the San Francisco49ers. Lawson is a former 1st round pick by the Niners who ran a 4.43 forty yard dash at the NFL combine. Having that speed as a linebacker would be a valuable asset for the Bears to have. He has not lived up to expectations thus far but given an opportunity in a Bears system that stresses the importance of speed he could be a pro bowler. The Bears would also not have to break the bank to sign him. The fourth and final big target on the Bears board should be Guard Justin Blalock who was let go by the Atlanta Falcons. A former second round pick, Blalock has proven himself to be a reliable starter in this league and would provide a definite upgrade over Chris Williams at the Guard position. The Bears need to acknowledge that Chris Williams is a bust and try to sign a dependable starter. Blalock fits that description.  If the Bears could sign these four players they would be in excellent shape for this season.

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