Yesterday the Bears made another move on defense by adding veteran safety Adrian Wilson. He’s a five-time Pro Bowl strong safety who missed all of last season with a torn Achilles tendon.
As the move broke, I saw some NFL analysts critiquing the move. In particular, ESPN analyst Louis Riddick tweeted this out:
#Bears signing a fading vet coming off significant injury at a position where you are nothing without your wheels is hard 4 me 2 understand.
— Louis Riddick (@LRiddickESPN) June 23, 2014
What’s the problem with the signing? The Bears aren’t putting all their marbles in the Adrian Wilson basket. They still have Ryan Mundy who slated to be the starting strong safety and the combination of Brock Vereen, Chris Conte and M.D. Jennings all duking it out at free safety.
I have no problem with the signing and actually think it’s a very solid move. Wilson was a very successful and durable player before his freak injury. The New England Patriots thought so high of him last year, they signed him to a three-year deal.
This is a win now football clearly rebuilding their defense with veteran leaders who have a little bit of a nasty streak to them. Wilson fits that mold and then some. If he’s even 80 percent of what he used to be, then he’s an upgrade and a valuable member on this team.
If Wilson doesn’t have anything left then you thank him for his services and let him go. His contract is not guaranteed and doesn’t stunt the growth of another safety on the roster. He likely has a chip on his shoulder like all great players and wants to show people he can still play at a high level.
Wilson is almost one year removed from his injury. It’s an injury I know very well. I also tore my Achilles tendon last year and I am just a little over a year removed from the injury.
I am in no way a world class athlete nor do I want to put myself at the level of an NFL player. I will say I workout extensively and have been back to my five day a week regimen with very little repercussions for quite some time now. I have lost a little explosion in plyometrics but my speed and agility has fully returned.
This allows me to believe a person like Wilson who got nothing but top notch rehab and training can bounce back and give a team like the Bears plenty of quality play. What was once a career ending injury has now developed into an injury that still gives a player a second chance.
In a perfect world, Wilson shows he’s close to his old self and takes control of the strong safety position. He’s a great run stopper who can hit with the best in the league. This will allow Ryan Mundy to be the primary free safety so the Bears won’t have to rush Brock Vereen into a starting role.
A signing in June can never hurt a team. At the worst, Wilson brings a wealth of knowledge and competitiveness into training camp next month. Why wouldn’t that be a gamble worth taking?