Things in Chicago are not good. The Bears failed to grab a top-end cornerback despite being interested in the top three. They also let Alshon Jeffery leave for Philadelphia, leaving them with a huge question mark at wide receiver.
Despite that, they did manage to make a few positive moves on the first day on free agency. Let’s give out grades to all of the Bears’ signings thus far.
When the rumors first started that Mike Glennon would sign without the Bears, I was against it. The rumored price tag for him seemed way to high for someone who hasn’t started a game since 2014. However, as more details of the contract come out, it doesn’t seem nearly as bad.
The Bears gave Glennon a three-year, $45 million deal, which seems like a lot on the surface. And guess what? It is. But he is only getting $19 million in guarantees, which means that Chicago is only heavily committing to him for one year. They can let him go next year or two years from now with barely any penalty.
This move doesn’t mean that the Bears won’t pick a quarterback in the first round. If anything, they’ll be more likely to do so. The Browns will likely pick Myles Garrett, and the 49ers are heavily targeting Kirk Cousins. Even if they don’t trade for him, they signed former Bears Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley. After dishing out a decent amount of money on quarterbacks, it’s unlikely that they’ll draft one at #3 with the amount of needs that they have.
Glennon is a good bridge quarterback who gives the Bears long-term financial stability. They gave up a lot of money to get him, but it’s not as bad as I previously thought.
Big Landings: Alshon Jeffery lands with Philadelphia Eagles
Making Moves: Cleveland Browns trade for Osweiler and draft picks
More Free Agency News: Tampa Bay Buccaneers add DeSean Jackson to receiveing corps
The Bears needed an upgrade in their secondary. While they didn’t add a cornerback in the first day, they did add a solid safety in Quintin Demps.
Chicago signed Demps to a three-year, $13.5 million deal, which is a very good price. Demps led all safeties in interceptions with six, which was second-most in the entire NFL. He was also the AFC Defensive Player of the Month in December. He brings a veteran presence to a pretty young group of safeties. This addition should also help the Bears improve at causing turnovers: they only had eight as a team last year.
The only downside to this deal is Demps’ age. He turns 32 this June, which will make him one of the older players on the team. This probably makes safety less of a priority in the draft, but drafting one early isn’t out of the question.
With the price Demps comes with, the Bears aren’t taking much of a risk. He will be a good stopgap safety for years, which will allow them to fill other needs.
This year’s draft class is stacked at tight end, which made it confusing to hear that the Bears signed one in free agency. Although Dion Sims won’t have the upside of a late Day 2 pick like Bucky Hodges or Jake Butt, he could be a solid complement to Zach Miller.
The best aspect of Sims’ game is his ability to block. He is an above-average blocker, especially in the run game. Considering that Miller isn’t a good blocker, this is a solid move that fills a need.
The price, however, is a head-scratcher. Chicago signed him to a three-year, $18 million contract. Although he’s 26 and has room to grow, nothing that he’s done warrants that steep of a price.
Sims will be a good fit with the Bears mainly for his blocking abilities. They gave up a lot to get him, though. Time will tell if he lives up to his price tag.
The full terms of Markus Wheaton’s contract have not been disclosed yet, so I can’t really give him an accurate grade. Regardless of how much the Bears paid for him, he will be a good addition to a wide receiver group lacking in talent.
Wheaton missed most of 2016 with injury, but he proved to be a decent option for the Steelers in previous years. He had 44 receptions, 749 receiving yards and five touchdowns in 2015. He averaged 17 yards per catch that year, which proves that he can be a speedy and dangerous downfield threat.
Wheaton also has some value as a kick returner. He returned 20 back in 2014, so he has some experience in the role. Don’t expect him to be the long-term there, though.
Although I can’t give this signing a grade yet, it was a solid move to help bolster an Alshon Jeffery-less group of receivers.