I have been under the impression the Chicago Bears are rebuilding on the fly. It is one of the harder things to do in sports and they might be trying to do just that. However, as the list of free agents builds and the combine draws to a close I think there is enough talent available for the Bears to make one more run at a Superbowl in 2009.
First off let’s look at the key players who are OUT or will be shortly.
FS Mike Brown, OT John Tait, WR Marty Booker, WR Brandon Lloyd, OLB Hunter Hillenmeyer, QB Rex Grossman
Now let’s look at a few NFL free agents.
LB Donnie Edwards, OT Mark Tauscher, WR Devery Henderson, S Jermaine Phillips and QB David Carr
Finally let’s look at what rounds 1,2 and 3 could possibly hold for the Bears.
Round 1 I think you go with WR Percy Harvin unless WR Jeremy Maclin or Darrius Heyward-Bey fall to the Bears spot. Round 2 you get the best offensive lineman available which could be a choice between Sooner OT Phil Loadholt or Sooner G Duke Robinson. Round 3 is almost one of those best player available type of slots. Mizzou S Will Moore might be good here. Alabama C Antoine Caldwell is also very tempting. I also think another RB to pair up with Forte is important too so maybe they take a chance on UConn RB Donald Brown (if he slips) or maybe the versatile RB Ian Johnson from Boise State.
Now I originally thought the Bears might clean house even more than they have so far and start a rebuild with one of the top 4 or 5 college QBs next season on their radar. However I took a peek at the 2009 schedule and realized how easy it is. The Bears will go no worse than 4-2 in their own division. They have the AFC North which means 2 wins (Cleveland, Cincy) 1 loss (Pittsburgh) and the Baltimore game I’m not sure about because of their defensive losses thus far. In the NFC they have Philly and Arizona (possible losses) but they also have San Fran, Seattle and St. Louis. If they Bears have a bad season they should still finish 8-8.
The next 8-10 weeks should be very telling. With the right off season player additions, the coaching changes and the relatively easy schedule; the Chicago Bears could win 10 or 11 games and make the playoffs. If they fail to land quality free agents and their 1st Round pick fails to make an impact the Bears will once again wade in the seas of mediocrity. Lovie will be amongst the 7.2% of working age Americans looking for a job and Bears fans will have to wait several more years for a winner.