Posts tagged ‘Free Agency’
by Sean - posted Friday, February 27th, 2009
The Bears have made their first move of the free agent period and it’s one that no one, including my saw coming. Earlier this morning they agreed to a four-year contract worth between $11.5 and $14million with Carolina Panther free agent Frank Omiyale.
While Omiyale is undoubtedly not the big name most fans were looking for, at least he’s not John St. Clair. As a four year veteran with only one career start Omiyale fits perfectly with Jerry Angelo’s system of letting other teams develop linemen and then going after them in free agency.
He also brings two aspects the Bears desperately needed along their line. He should make the unit bigger at 6’4”/310lbs and most importantly younger at 26.
Some people might be shocked by the size of the deal, especially for a player with limited starting experience, but that’s the NFL. Omiyale oddly enough received a ringing endorsement from ex-Bear Mushin Muhammad, who was his teammate this past season in Carolina.
It’s hard to tell what this means for the rest of the Bears free agent plans at OT. It’s possible they could still bring St. Clair back and open up the competition for RT. One way to look at this deal is a response by Bears management to the added leverage John Tait’s retirement provided St. Clair in negotiations.
Frank Omiyale may not be the name most Bears fans were hoping to see come across the wire in the early stages of free agency, but he is also the kind of young cost-efficient signing that a team with as many needs as the Bears has to have.
by Sean - posted Thursday, March 6th, 2008
Well there have been more than a few shocking twists and turns in the first week of NFL free agency. Capped with the retirement of Brett Favre (woo hoo!!!!!) there have been some pretty stunning developments. There been no shortage of rumbling and grumblings here in Chicago with what has been a fairly inactive Bears team. The perception of a team that is full of holes not being more free-wheeling on the market really seems to upset the fan base. On top of that, who would’ve thought a week ago that it’d Lance Briggs still in a Bears uniform and not Bernard Berrian? And who thought that Berrian would actually land a bigger deal than Briggs that included more guaranteed money than Randy Moss got? Add that to the Griese trade, pulling Ayanbadejo’s deal off the table, the return of Marty Booker, and missing out on every marquee free agent it’s a good time to take step back and see what’s next.
We can start by looking at the losses in the last week: Griese, Ayanbadejo, and Bernard Berrian. First and foremost it’s pretty stunning that we got anything for Griese, so I’ll gladly take a late 2009 draft pick. It appears that Jon Gruden is developing technology to morph QBs together and concentrate all of their talent into one player. Honestly is there another possible explanation? I mean Jeff Garcia, Bruce Gradkowski, Luke McCown, Chris Simms, Jake Plummer, and Brian Griese (that’s right SIX QBs on their roster) have to add up to a Pro Bowl QB, right? Or at least an Eli Manning equivalent. As for Ayanbadejo, can any team really justify $2mil/yr for a Special Teams player? The Bear more than any team in the NFL have proven the importance and the impact of Special Teams and Brendon has been a big part of that as a captain and Pro Bowler. However, for a guy who is never going to legitimately take snaps at LB for the Bears there is no justification for allocating that much money for him. While it’ll be a shame to see him go, an incoming RB should free up Adrian Peterson to return to all phases of Special Teams and that should mitigate most of the impact of his departure. Finally we have the ridiculous contract of Bernard Berrian. I understand that the Vikings are desperate for a receiver, but does anyone really think he’s worth $42mil over 6 years? As good as he’s been over the last two years I am incredibly happy the Bears weren’t goaded into matching or topping the offer. Berrian is a solid player but far from a definitive #1 receiver, and yet somehow managed to land more guaranteed money than Randy Moss. The world of free agency is certainly a crazy one and given the prices I don’t think the Bears lost anyone they’ve need to keep so far.
Now despite what they lost over the past week the Bears managed to sign two players I never thought would wear a Bears’ jersey again, Lance Briggs and Marty Booker. When Briggs said a year ago that he’d never play for the Bears again I actually believed him. And then when the resolution was made with the franchise tag it appeared to be the perfect resolution to what had been an unnecessarily hostile situation. But when the market isn’t what he thought we somehow got our Pro Bowl linebacker back for less than our “never had 1,000 yards receiving” wide receiver left for. I seriously can not get over how messed up free agency is. The deal is great for both sides. Briggs got a fair market deal and he will anchor the WLB position (considered the premier position in the Bears Cover-2 system) through his prime year. Additionally, for anyone concerned about Urlacher’s health Briggs provides insurance. As for Booker I figured there would be some hard feelings about the Ogunleye trade. While Booker never repeated his Bears success in Miami, Ogunleye has made trips to the Pro Bowl and the Super Bowl in Chicago. However, in a time of desperate need the Bears convinced the familiar face to return. Luckily Miami was amongst the few teams with a worse QB situation than the Bears so we offered Booker both familiarity and an upgrade in circumstances. Ideally Booker steps right into the void left by Mushin Muhammad. In my opinion anyone who can put up over 500 yards in that anemic still has some skill left and with any luck Booker will be an upgrade. Either way 2 years of Booker at his current price is a lot better than what was left on Moose’s deal, if he actually out produces him that’s icing on the cake.
So as a pretty wacky first week of free agency comes to a close I am actually pretty happy as a Bears fan. While I disagree with the choice to not franchise Berrian, I understand the concern of having a repeat of the Briggs experience. It certainly would stand to damage the Bears reputation around the league if they had to go through another summer of a malcontent franchise player. And other than that I agree with all the moves and non-moves that have been made so far. I know a lot of Bears fans are bitter and angry that the Bears have not made some flashier moves so far. Lost in the fact that we retained the premier player (outside of Randy Moss who was never going anywhere) in Free Agency was the fact that we are left without a #1 WR, 2 missing starters on the offensive line, and failed to upgrade the RB and QB positions. That seems like an awful lot to fill through the draft, especially given Angelos struggles with drafting offensive players. Still, I preach patience. Just because we decided not to make a 31 year old Alan Faneca the highest paid offensive linemen in the NFL doesn’t mean we won’t improve there. I fully expect the Bears to add at least one piece to the line before the draft (I am hoping for Jake Scott, a Guard from Indy) and possibly another after the June 1st cuts. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see them land a veteran running back, like Julius Jones, or bring in some depth at DT. But no matter what the sky isn’t falling. People get too wrapped up in the hype of free agency, and while this week was not what I expected I am pretty happy with it.