Three-and-out: Who can Bears sign to improve defense?

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Broncos defensive lineman Malik Jackson is likely the best free agent at his position. (AP)

A look at the Bears’ defense as free agent negotiationsget set to start Monday afternoon:

Broncos reunion?

Last offseason, John Fox brought with him only one former Broncos player: center Will Montgomery. In Year 2, would he dare plunder his former team?

Two members of the Broncos’ Super Bowl-dominating defense are prized unrestricted free agents: defensive end Malik Jackson and inside linebacker Danny Trevathan.

Jackson figures to draw $12-15 million per year the best available pass-rushing end available.

Trevathan, though, offers what the Bears sorely need: a speedy middle linebacker who is solid in pass coverage. He admitted during Super Bowl week that he would be intrigued by a Fox reunion.

“Coach Fox is one of the guys who gave me an opportunity to showcase how I can fit in any scheme,” he said.“I’m sure it’ll be there. I’m sure we’ll end up talking.”

The Bears can afford him, but will they have the stomach to pay a steep price?

Family plan

Two years ago, the Bears were intrigued by the idea of pairing Seahawks free agent Michael Bennett with his brother, Martellus.

Would they consider a Long family reunion? The Rams cut defensive end Chris, the older brother of Bears Pro Bowler Kyle, last month. At 31, Chris Long is probably a better 4-3 end, however.

The Bears seem more likely to turn to Missouri’s remaining football team, the Chiefs. Kansas City cornerback Sean Smith, defensive lineman Jaye Howard, linebacker Derrick Johnson and edge rusher Tamba Hali are all free agents.

The Bears have glaring needs the first three spots, and could always use another edge rusher. Howard, who is 26, could be a steal — two years removed from playing only 53 snaps, he started all 16 games for the Chiefs at all three defensive line spots.

Feeling a draft

The Bears need two starting defensive ends, but they can take comfort if they’re unable to land them during free agency.

“It’s a defensive draft,” NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said. “Best interior defensive line I’ve seen maybe since I’ve started doing this.”

In a 3-4 scheme, the Bears can play college interior linemen at end.

Follow me on Twitter @patrickfinley


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