Patrick Finley: Breaking down Bears’ biggest free-agent issues

SHARE Patrick Finley: Breaking down Bears’ biggest free-agent issues

Chicago Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (17) reacts against the Washington Redskins during the first half Dec. 24.

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 at the start at free agency Thursday at 3 p.m.

Patrick Finley break downs that and other Bears free agency issues:

(For colleague Adam L. Jahns’ answers, click here).

Is Glennon really worth more than Jay Cutler?

FINLEY: He’s worth what the market is willing to bear. That’s the price the Bears pay for trying to solve their quarterback quandary — at least temporarily — via free agency. I understand the logic of signing Glennon rather than pursuing a trade for Jimmy Garoppolo or A.J. McCarron — the Bears have tons of cap space and few assets to trade. In that sense, it’s only money.

If they’re limited to free agents, Glennon is a better long-term bet than Colin Kaepernick or the almost-37 Tony Romo, who’s expected to eye the Broncos and Texans when he’s released Thursday.

Did the Bears play their hand properly with Alshon Jeffery?

FINLEY: Both sides did. The Bears were right to want to see Jeffery healthy, and he’s entitled to play the market and, quite honestly, try to pair off with a better quarterback. The PED bust makes him less sympathetic than last year, however. He’ll be hard to replace, but maybe the speedy Cordarrelle Patterson can help take the tops off defenses and become the team’s most dangerous returner since Devin Hester? He’s available.

The Bears’ greatest area of need is:

FINLEY: Quarterback. (Duh). Barring a superstar turn, the Bears’ Day 1 starter won’t be promised the 2018 job, necessarily. Glennon is more than six years older than Patrick Mahomes, the Texas Tech quarterback who’s a possible second-round target. Which one would you bet on being here in three years?

An overrated area of need is:

FINLEY: Offensive line. Presuming Kyle Long recovers from ankle surgery, the Bears will once again boast perhaps the best interior line in the game. They were linked to big-money tackles, but that seems a year off. They can, if need be, walk away from Bobby Massie, whose guaranteed money is paid and has a $1 million roster bonus due Saturday. Charles Leno’s deal expires next March.

The Bears will succeed in free agency if:

FINLEY: They find playmakers in the defensive backfield, as Pace has vowed. Even after tying the all-time low with 11 takeaways last year, their defense isn’t far from being dangerous. Gilmore or cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick would improve it quickly.

The Bears will fail in free agency if:

FINLEY: They again let a big-name pass-catcher walk without finding a replacement. We’re still waiting for the Bears to find an above-average replacement for the vacancies they created by trading Brandon Marshall — they tried by drafting Kevin White — and Martellus Bennett.

I would sign:

FINLEY: Gilmore. The former 10th pick of the 2012 draft is what the previous regime hoped Kyle Fuller would be.

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