Okay, a quick review – here are the first 2 steps of my 3-step Chicago Bear pre-Draft player makeover:
I was going to tell you move #3 should be signing the Vikings’ Chester Taylor. I had a nice post written about how Taylor would be the perfect complement to (and potential replacement for) Matt Forte…and how he has significantly less wear-and-tear than any of the other 30-something-year-old RBs on the market (Tomlinson, Westbrook). And then a cold dose of reality slapped me upside the facial region.
Here’s why I DON’T think the Bears should pursue Chester:
- His asking price will be too high, and we have other more pressing needs to address (DE, S) before overspending for a backup RB.
- If we keep Kevin Jones or AP (notice I did NOT mention Wolfe), we could address RB in the middle of the draft. Here are 3 names I like: Kendall Hunter of Okie State; Stafon Johnson of USC and Charles Scott of LSU.
So since I talked myself out of signing Taylor, I came up with 4 other subtle (and not-so-subtle) roster maneuvers that will help Mike Martz get the most out of his potential one-year coaching audition:
- Trade Greg Olsen. G-Reg has been a stand-up guy, but he doesn’t fit Martz’s prototypical block first, catch second TE. Martz said it best himself when asked about Olsen – “To…say ‘OK, he’s a terrific receiver,’ well then you may as well just put another wide receiver in there.” Rumors surfaced over the weekend that the Bears could be interested in the Chargers’ Brandon Manumaleuna, who was part of the Greatest Show on Turf. Signing him would give us 5 TEs on the roster. While I don’t think we’d get a first rounder for Olsen (because every team in the league knows he’s not a fit for the new offense), if we could swing a 2 or a 3 and a mid-rounder in return, I say ‘go for it.’ Some potential trade partners? How about the Browns, Dolphins or Bengals.
- Leave the O-line alone. With Omiyale at guard, Schaeffer at right tackle and Williams on Cutler’s blindside, the unit started to gel late in the year vs. the Vikes and Lions. Let’s keep Frank focused on guard so he doesn’t become the offense’s equivalent of Daniel Manning – an athletic guy whose talent is wasted because he gets flip-flopped between positions. With Martz’s penchant for calling on his QB to take 7-step drops, I like the steady presence of the veteran Schaeffer manning one side of the line and Frank the Tank eating up space in the middle. And if Mike Tice is as good an O-line coach as advertised, he should be able to get the most out of these big uglies.
- Cut the umbilical cord attached to Garrett Wolfe. After 3 years, the Bears should finally realize what the rest of the free world already knows about the former 3rd round pick – he’s a small guy who doesn’t have the durability to be a regular contributor. And the Bears could find a dude off the street to match what Wolfe contributes on special teams.
- Do not sign an experienced WR like Torry Holt or TO. There’s no use stunting one of our younger, more talented player’s development by keeping him on the sideline (see Earl Bennett’s ‘redshirt’ year in 2008). Let them jump right in and learn Martz’s complicated offense through a little on-the-job training. If one of the young guns doesn’t look like he’s ‘getting it’ after OTAs, mini-camps and training camp, then see if there’s a deal or cut that could deliver a seasoned vet.
I can’t wait till this Thursday at midnight when the free agent frenzy officially begins. We should have a lot to lament, criticize and perhaps even praise between then and the draft.