Adam L. Jahns: Breaking down Bears’ biggest free-agent issues
Everything needs a hashtag these days.
How about #GrinninforGlennon? #MGforMe?
As Buccaneers backup Mike Glennon and the Bears inch closer to an agreement, fans aren’t exactly racing to Tweet the best catchphrase.
But with Brian Hoyer heading to the 49ers, a deal with Glennon seems likely once free agency starts Thursday at 3 p.m.
Is Glennon really worth more than Jay Cutler?
Glennon isn’t a better quarterback than Cutler, but he could be. And yes, that’s a big maybe. But when a deal is reached — and by all accounts it will be — the Bears would be paying for what Glennon, who is six years younger than Cutler, could develop into when given a real chance and some stability as opposed to the Tampa Bay backup who was affected by two coaching changes. His contract can be designed to limit risk, too.
Cutler remains capable — and he’s a better teammate than many want to believe or report — but he’s been with the Bears for eight seasons. He has lasted two years not only into his third coach, but his third general manager. Parting ways at some point is inevitable.
Did the Bears play their hand properly with Alshon Jeffery?
Absolutely. The only way that negotiations would improve was for Jeffery to test to market. The two sides were too far apart on price. It needed to be set by actual competition, which, for now, looks dwindling for Jeffery. Again, placing the franchise tag on him, which would have cost $17.5 million, was never an option.
The Bears’ greatest area of need is:
Other than quarterback, it’s talent in the secondary. It’s why they have interest in cornerbacks Stephon Gilmore, A.J. Bouye and Logan Ryan. And it’s why this draft will be important for them, too. It’s a special year for cornerbacks and safeties. The Bears only had 11 takeaways last season. Upgrading the secondary is a priority; general manager Ryan Pace has said as much.
An overrated area of need is:
Tight end. The Bears added young, promising players in MyCole Pruitt and Daniel Brown last year to work behind Zach Miller. The Bears also remain high on Ben Braunecker, an undrafted rookie signing from last year. Tight ends tend to emerge over time. The NFL is full of examples of them. Look at Miller.
The Bears will succeed in free agency if:
They’re mindful with their spending (see below). But they do need to spend. Aside from quarterback, the Bears need to add at least one capable player in his 20’s for their secondary. Whether that’s Gilmore, Ryan, Bouye or safety D.J. Swearinger, something needs to happen.
The Bears will fail in free agency if:
They try to buy their way out of trouble. After a 3-13 season, it’s thought the Bears’ decision-makers are under some pressure to speed up their rebuilding process. But as Pace said, free agency can be “dangerous” and full of “land mines.” He needs to remember his words.
I would sign …
Glennon. He wouldn’t be the first quarterback to click later in his career and in a different situation. That said, drafting a quarterback also becomes a priority. Glennon needs competition to maximize his potential, and the Bears need to keep adding quarterbacks to increase the likelihood of getting things right.