The 2010 offseason has caused Grabowskies across Bears nation to choose sides. On one side are those hoping for aggressive offseason player acquisitions to get the Bears back in the playoff picture. The other side includes those rooting for the folks at Halas Hall to maintain the status quo in 2010 so we can say “sayonara” to Lovie and staff at the end of the season.
After 3 straight playoff-less seasons, I’ve firmly entrenched myself on the first side. So if we’re going for broke this year, here’s the first of 3 moves I think Angelo and crew must make to put the Bears back in Super Bowl contention next year…
Trade 5-time Pro Bowl LB Lance Briggs.
Hear me out on this one. Briggs is the only player, besides Cutler, that the Bears could trade straight up for a 1st round pick (and maybe a mid-rounder too). So if that pick turns into a talented young defensive end or play-making safety, I think we green-light this baby.
And in Jamar Williams, we already have a big talent ready to step in and replace Briggs. He’s a restricted free agent and it wouldn’t cost the Bears a mint to extend him. Williams has proven himself in the playing time he’s had – remember the 20-tackle performance vs. the Rams?
With a healthy Urlacher in the middle, Pisa or Roach on the strongside, and speedy Williams roving the weakside, the Bears would still have a formidable LB corps. And let’s face it – in Lovie’s Cover 2 scheme, an outside LB is probably the 5th most important position on the field after a pass-rushing D-end, cover-capable middle LB, ball-hawking safety and disruptive D-tackle…and you could argue we don’t currently have any of those on the roster now. But a Briggs trade could deliver one over the short and long-term.
Or consider for a minute that we hold onto Briggs and the season goes in the tank – as many folks expect and wish – and Lovie gets fired. Then assume we bring in Cowher, who runs a 3-4 defense. How would Briggs’ skills – honed by playing off the ball in open space – translate as a LB in a 3-4 scheme, where he’d either be asked to play in the middle of the action or take on an O-lineman rushing from the outside? Sounds like trade bait in 2011 to me…
There’s no doubt parting with Lance would be hard…especially for Urlacher, who would be thrust into an even larger leadership role (along with Alex Brown). And I understand the risk of trading a proven performer for a draft pick that may or may not materialize.
Since leaving his Lamborghini abandoned on the side of a Chi-town expressway in the middle of the night in 2007, Briggs has been one of the most outspoken, stand-up players on the squad. But in this win or get canned year for Lovie and staff, I think the Bears have to shake things up rather than settle for more of the same thing.
Watch for the 2nd and 3rd moves of my offseason makeover in the next couple of days. Until then, I’ll enjoy hearing you tell me how crazy I am…