I like what the Bears have done in free agency. Then again, I’ve liked what the Bears have done in free agency in past years.
Don’t lie: You have gone gaga over the Bears’ offseason additions pretty much every offseason. You have salivated over Jermon Bushrod and thrown yourself at Jared Allen. Shall we talk about the civic excitement over Julius Peppers in 2010, when the Bears signed the defensive end to a six-year, $91.5 million contract? Probably not.
I’m not ridiculing your enthusiasm. I was there with you, though with less drool. Things happen. Some players get hurt. Others end up being a lot less than they were made out to be.
That’s why I approach this free-agent haul with some hesitancy. On paper, what general manager Ryan Pace has done looks good. He upgraded a bad defense with three nice signings: defensive lineman Akiem Hicks (New England), and linebackers Danny Trevathan (Denver) and Jerrell Freeman (Indianapolis). Hicks is 6-foot-5, 324 pounds. When you address him, make sure you say, “Sir.’’ Pace also signed Cardinals tackle Bobby Massie, who, at 6-6, 316 pounds, is no garden gnome either.
This can’t be overstated: Whichever defensive players the Bears signed have to be better than what they had in 2015. That unit was, to put it kindly, challenged. Trevathan and Freeman are improvements over Shea McClellin and Christian Jones.
Trevathan talks often about the chip he has carried on his shoulder since the Broncos picked him in the sixth round of the 2012 draft. This might add a few ounces to that chip: Was he a product of Von Miller and the rest of the Broncos’ nasty defense? It’s a question that can only be answered on the field.
In the meantime, feel free to rejoice over the arrival of two linebackers who had a combined 254 tackles last season and a defensive tackle who was a key component of the Patriots’ success in 2015.
Just understand that you’ve been this giddy before.