Offseason Overview: Growing Pains Not Over for the Bears

Lance Briggs

Franchise Player: None.

TRANSITION PLAYER: None.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS

• OG Ruben Brown missed the final eight games of the season with a shoulder injury that required surgery, which, after 13 NFL seasons, is probably a career ender.

• DT Antonio Garay is a bottom-of-the-depth chart player who finished the season on injured reserve with a fractured ankle.

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: None.

EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: None.

PLAYERS ACQUIRED

• WR Marty Booker: FA Dolphins; $3.5M/2 yrs, SB unknown.

• WR Brandon Lloyd: FA Redskins; $645,000/1 yr, $40,000 WO; 2008 cap: $485,000.

PLAYERS RE-SIGNED

• LB Lance Briggs: UFA; $36M/6 yrs, $4M SB/$3.75M RB; $4.75M RB ‘09, $3.3M RB ‘10.

• WR Rashied Davis: RFA; $5.86M/3 yrs, SB unknown.

• QB Rex Grossman: Potential UFA; $3M/1 yr, $1.5M guaranteed.

• S Brandon McGowan: RFA; $1.47M/1 yr.

PLAYERS LOST

• S Adam Archuleta (released).

• LB Brendon Ayanbadejo: UFA Ravens; $4.9M/4 yrs, $1.9M SB.

• WR Bernard Berrian: UFA Vikings; $42M/6 yrs, $$5M SB/$8M RB; $3M RB ‘09.

• TE John Gilmore: UFA Buccaneers; terms unknown.

• QB Brian Griese (traded Buccaneers).

• CB Ade Jimoh (released).

• DT Jimmy Kennedy: UFA Jaguars (Bears had individually negotiated right of first refusal and did not match); $655,000/1 yr, $50,000 SB.

• T Fred Miller (released/failed physical).

• WR Muhsin Muhammad (released).

• DT Darwin Walker (released).

Last season the Bears took a big step back from their Super Bowl outing in 2006 and fell to 7-9 and missed the playoffs. The team was hit with a rash of injuries as well as poor play at points on both side of the ball. Moves that were made before the season, such as the decision to move Thomas Jones in favor of Cedric Benson, as well as not second-guess the decision to give Rex Grossman a challenge at QB spot came back to haunt the team. The defense, which was the backbone of the team in 06, allowed 354 yards per game, while the team could not run the ball with much impact, making the defense stay on the field way too long.

The team had a whopping 12 draft picks, starting with tackle Chris Williams in round one, and RB Matt Forte in round two. They had five picks in the 7th round, and hopes are a few will be able to make the team to add some depth. The team looked to add some WR depth with Marty Booker and Brandon Lloyd, but lost starters Bernard Berrian and released Muhsin Muhammad. Where the team is going to find productivity at the WR spot is a big question, and the defense playing better is going to be a key as well. The division is up for grabs, but many still feel that the Bears are not as good as they were the season they made the Super Bowl.

Offseason Grade to Date: C-


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