The New Bears

Wow Emery and Trestman have been busy this off season.  As you all know, I am full on board with their moves and after seeing that dramatic offensive improvement last year (second best scoring unit in the entire league), am excited to see our defense improve this year and getting back to the playoffs.

I am impressed with the patience and smarts Emery has shown in unwinding the Angelo era of awfully structured contracts.  The biggest and easiest example to show is the “trade” of Peppers for Allen.  Pep’s contract was a disaster to the cap for the Bears, and as I mentioned in a previous comment, it is likely that ANY TEAM would have had to cut him after this year – even if he had 25 sacks.  Which he didn’t.  Allen’s contract is for 4 years on its face, but the dead money and cap hit go away after 2 – so essentially Allen finishes his career as a Bear after 2015.  Unwinding Angelo’s nightmare takes time, and I think Emery knows and understands how current moves affect the future of the team.

With that, a quick summary of what has happened in the last month or so:

Gone:  Pepp, Hester, Major Wright, Corey Wootton, Michael Bush, Earl Bennett, and TQWSNBN.  Of course Lovie, in his inherent wisdom, gave TQWSNBN $5 million a year and instantly names him the starter.  I simply cannot wait to watch that qb put up a total shitshow in Tampa, proving that Trestman and Kromer are the real reason he was successful, not some random fantastic year an old qb had (of course Lovie believes the latter).

Who’s on the roster:  We re-signed Tillman, a good move I think.  He has a solid year or two left in him and is one of our keys in the secondary.  We also picked up Lamarr Houston, a solid D lineman from the Raiders.  We desperately need depth at this position and I wouldn’t be surprised to see us draft one or two SEC maniacs to fill up these spots.  Tim Jennings got a new deal.  Jared Allen is here, of course as mentioned above.  We also have Willie Young, re-signed Izzy Idonije for a year and still have Shea in there for situational downs.  I am no fan of Shea, but he will always have a roster spot for me for injuring Rodgers.  We also brought in a slew of veteran corners and safeties to address our shortcomings there, and also signed Hixon to replace Hester for runbacks.

We re-upped Cutler, and I am happy with it.  There will be arguments all over the place on this one, but not one person has yet to show me what “plan b” was that made any sort of sense at all.  Until that happens, I am happy.  We have a good quarterback – we just need to keep him upright.

I am excited to see what is up the front office’s sleeve for the draft.  We don’t have a backup qb yet so I imagine we may draft one there and certainly we should see a d lineman or two.  If it is even half as good as last year’s draft, we will be in excellent shape for 2014.

All in all, Trestman is very happy with Emery for sticking to the script and it appears that everyone is working together and making good moves for the betterment of the team, and doing the moves in a prudent manner as regards the cap so we can remain competitive, instead of having one year of greatness and then hitting the skids (many NFL teams have to “give up” some years due to past years cap mismanagement).

Alright, esteemed commenters, lets hear it.

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19 responses to “The New Bears

  1. I agree with you on everything but Tillman, Dan. I’m tired of seeing All-Pro and backup QBs alike torching our secondary while they try and lunge for pick-sixes. While the run defense was a bigger mess than the pass defense, it should have been “clean house” for everybody.

    Other than that, it’s good progress. Can’t wait to see how this all comes together in the regular season…

    • That is fair, dvx. I think Tillman is still good enough to be a starting corner anywhere so I am OK with it. He has one year left at best. I think if we can get just a LITTLE pressure on opposing qb’s you will see his (and the rest of the secondary’s) numbers improve, hence all of the off season moves to shore up the d line. I am hoping to see Bostic sent in on some blitzes as well – he clearly had the “kill” mentality but I don’t know enough about Tucker’s “plan” to know if linebacker blitzes are a feature or not.

  2. Kyle from Charles Town

    Gulp, gulp….cough, sputter, cough! Nope, your kool aid still tastes like crap. Here we go again with the “poor Phil Emery” nonsense. The only player Emery got rid of this year from the Angelo era with any major cap implications was Peppers. Now there are only 3 players left from P.E. (pre Emery). But I’m sure we’ll hear this same well thought out argument next year about how Emery is saving us from Angelo’s catastrophe. Look, Angelo was great at drafting and signing bad to mediocre players, but for the most part, he was kind to the cap. Now for a first… I agree with Dan that the Tillman signing was a good one. Cap friendly and for a guy who is probably one of the best people in NFL history and not a bad corner and give him a chance to hang em up in Chicago? Yes please. If anyone deserves a feel good ending, it is Tillman. As for the other signings? We overpaid a lot. Jennings, Allen, and Houston were the biggest offenders. Jennings could be one of the best players at his position… If his position were Oompa Loompa. The had to cut the grass shorter at soldier field so he could see over it. It will save the Bears some money though, because they can order him the kids size Jerseys, and those are always cheaper. Seriously, he isn’t bad, but when you look at te money other corners got, his contract looks way to big. Houston just came off his best season yet… with six sacks. I shouldn’t be surprised since Emery just gave Cutler a huge extension after his best season… with a QBR of 89. What is it with Emery giving big money to mediocre players? And finally Allen… The only reason we could sign him was because we cut an overpriced, middle aged, past his prime defensive end, so we could sign an overpriced, middle aged, past his prime defensive end. Upside: he’s not as overpaid? As usual, Dan is shooting rainbows and unicorns out of his butt, at least until the cold reality that we are the 3rd best team in our division sets in, probably about week six. And I can’t imagine getting that unicorn back up there will be much fun. There is really no good way to get that started…

  3. Thanks for not understanding one word I wrote, Kyle. Go cheer for the Chiefs or something.

    • Kyle from Charles Town

      Oh I am pretty sure I get it. You see the Bears made some moves and since you clearly don’t know anything about football, you automatically assume the move was a good one. It’s OK, I remember being excited with signing iron head hey ward before I was capable of rational thought. It happens to the best of us. Which would be me. I am the best of us. In this case you represent the rest of us.

  4. I don’t know that McCown will put up a exceedingly bad show in Tampa, but anybody expecting him to put up the same interception to touchdown ratio as last year will be beside themselves. With the signing of Jared Allen the Bears continue to show that they are not averse to making a splash in the free agent market. It still remains to be seen that Emery can draft for the defense and we will find out about that shortly. After the debacle last year and its effect on defensemen playing out of their ideal positions, the bottom line still hasn’t been written as to people like Bostic and Shea in my opinion. I think that the Bears are still looking at either Jernigan or Ha Ha in the draft. I haven’t heard that they will be looking to draft a QB. I have heard that they still have some money left over after exercising the automatic conversion clause in Cutler’s contract. Finally, it will be good to see B. Marshall’s contract extended pretty soon.

    • You are correct, sz, the structure of the Cutty deal makes is pretty easy to move the cap money around year in and year out, a la the Brady deal. Going to be a very interesting draft, that is for sure.

  5. You had me until…

    “We have a good quarterback – we just need to keep him upright.”

    Kim Kardashian spends more time upright than Cutty-Boy.

  6. Gentleman,

    It has been a while. I wrote about these moves on my site and I will add some more thoughts here.

    First off, Kyle, put down the crack pipe. Please.

    Next, if you can believe it, the Bears picked up two Pro Bowl defensive lineman (Houston and Allen) for just under what they would have paid Peppers for this year. If anybody thinks those were bad moves, stop what you’re doing and go drink battery acid.

    The Bears also re-signed Ratliff, Collins, brought back Idonije and signed Willie Young. That’s six lineman the Bears have and they still will get at least one more with the draft. The Bears will focus on the secondary and linebackers in the draft. They will get a backup running back too in the later rounds. Jordan Palmer was re-signed to be the backup so they may not get a quarterback but it couldn’t hurt if they did. I was a bit sad that Hester was let go but that was a money issue. Just like Urlacher, the Bears have football people making football decisions. Loyalty is great, but doesn’t always win championships.

    It’s a great time to be a Bears fan. We all knew that when Emery took over, it would take a few seasons to clean the mess that Jerry Angelo created. We are in year three of the new regime and the Bears will be contenders this year. If all goes well in the draft, then they are seriously legit.

    Let’s be happy but realistic. There is still work to do but nobody can be pissed off at what has happened.

  7. Carl from Chicago

    Yes thanks Fro good commentary. I am excited to see the Bears in the draft this year. I think Emery kicked ass in last years’ draft and hope for more of the same.

  8. Carl from Chicago

    Just was reading about the Jared Allen contract at over the cap. Their partner Pro Football Weekly or whatever said he was the 33rd best guy at his position last year. I think their partner is dedicated to using football stats to grade these sorts of things (in new ways). Gulp. On the other hand if the Pats signed anyone who seemed to have strange stats or bad years they just said that they figured Bill B knew what he was doing ha ha.

  9. Ok everybody, please brace yourself. Before we get too excited about the offseason moves. (Wait, what is that? It’s too late? Well screw it, I’m saying it anyway)

    I’ve read that the Bears picked up two Pro Bowl Defensive Lineman. Lets analyze that with a new model of analytics that the science community refers to as “facts”

    LaMarr Houston has as many Pro Bowl appearances as David Terrell. And I can see the reply already. “But at his level, he is capable of making a pro bowl”. Have I ever told the story of the time I slept with Scarlett Johansson? Well that’s because I haven’t, but I want to reassure everyone that I am capable. But I’m also capable of sleeping with Kathy Bates. So keep that in mind when projecting out acquired talent.

    Long story short, Houston is a solid player. But he wasn’t offered a contract by his old team that had 65 million dollars in cap space. So I wouldn’t preorder any LaMarr Houston Pro Bowl Jerseys for next year.

    And now onto Pro Bowl defensive end Jared Allen. I’m curious why the Bears didn’t also make a run for Pro Bowl QB Johnny Unitas or Pro Bowl Running back Marcus Allen. I believe both are still available. And for those of you saying ” hey wait a minute, isn’t Johnny Unitas Dead?” Don’t worry guys, I did fact check and was able to confirm that he did play in the Pro Bowl. So that resolves that problem.

    We are not getting the 2009 or even 2011 Jared Peppers. Or was it Julius Allen I can’t remember, because both of there careers are almost identical going into 2014. So if we signed a Pro Bowler in Allen, we also released a Pro Bowler in Peppers.

    • Kyle from Charles Town

      Mark, that isn’t fair. The Bears have a long successful history of signing probowlers. Look at the greats like Orlando Pace and Muhsin Mohammed. Or maybe the greatest free agent signing in Bears history… Bryan Cox. If Jared Allen can flip off the fans at Soldier Field half as well as Cox did, this should be a heck of a season! And Lamar Houston… I mean he’s no Robert Mathis, Robert Quinn, Greg Hardy, Mario Williams, Cameron Jordan, Junior Galette, John Abraham, Jared Allen, Chandler Jones, Oliver Vernon, Justin Tuck, Tamba Hali, Jason Hatcher, Charles Johnson, Justin Houston, Kyle Williams, JJ Watt, Muhammad Wilkerson, Jurell Casey, Terrell Suggs, Calvin Pace, Shaun Phillips, Brian Orakpo, Jerry Hugh’s, Elvis Dumervill, Gerald McCoy, Brian Robison, Callis Campbell, Ahmed Brooks, Chris Long, Cameron Wake, Michael Bennett, Ryan Kerrigan, Alfonso Smith, Trent Cole, Rob Ninkovich, Cliff Avril, Jason Worilds, Ziggy Ansah, Osi Omenyiora, Jason Babin, Wallace Gilberry, Clay Matthews, Carlos Dunlap, Marcell Dareus, Julius Peppers, George Selvie, Whitnet Mercilus, Lavonte David, Justin Smith, Karlos Dansby, or Mike Daniels. These are all the players who finished with more sacks last year than the great Lamar Houston. I guess they can’t all be Walace Gilberry…

  10. Kyle from Charles Town

    Awesome news guys! I just got the audio file from Halas Hall that documents Phil Emery’s conversation during the Lamar Houston signing. I think it really explains how Phil decided Lamar Houston was the future of this defense and accounts for the amont of money he got. I wasn’t sure how to post the audio file, so I took the liberty of transcribing it:
    Assistant: Mr. Emery! I just got off the phone with Houston’s agent. They took the deal!
    Phil: Wow! That is fantastic news! Get Houston on the phone for me.
    Assistant: Already dialing sir!
    Phil: Well hurry up then! This is just great! I don’t know how we got so lucky. I could have sworn he was still on his rookie deal for another year…
    Assistant: Wait, what?
    (Phil Emery snatches the phone away from assistant)
    Phil: Justin, just wanted to say we’re really excited to have you on board… wait you’re who?… and we paid you how much?… Oh shit.

  11. Kyle I couldn’t disagree more. You can’t compare a fan favorite like Brian Cox to this years free agent signings. People will automatically be prejudiced against anyone he is compared too.

    Also, Lamarr Houston’s contract can be voided after 4 years, with minimal impact to the salary cap. And Jared Allen’s can be voided after three with minimal impact.

    Angelo with his inability to negotiate contracts signed players like Muhammad and Pace to contracts that allowed them to be released in the first two years with minimum impact. Explain to me how a player is supposed to establish himself in the first two years on new team? Emery realizes this error and locked these free agents in to assure they would be able to grow into their roles.

    And why should Emery try to solve the cap crisis? Don’t you think that’s the job for the next GM?

  12. Dan from Madison

    As I have documented numerous times, the Jared Allen contract has practically zero effect on the cap after two years. But hey, do not let that fact nor anything else we have said here stand in the way of making more fantastic comments.

    If you really honestly want to see teams with a fucked up, mismanaged cap strategy, look at the Lions or Panthers. But you won’t because you are lazy, don’t understand the subject, and would rather spout about past failures like ironhead hayward, which was eons ago.

    You can argue ideology, but you cannot argue math. Thus far Emery gets an “incomplete” as his grade. I believe that eventually we will be successful with our staff and gm.

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