After a horrible season for the defense, Phil Emery has promised to make the defense younger and have some explosive playmakers. I will then concentrate on this unit. First up, the defensive line.
Julius Peppers is due to get paid $18.183 million this coming season, and the Bears most certainly will not allow that to happen. They will probably ask Peppers to restructure his contract, but after having done it twice before, that option is doubtful.
If Peppers does restructure, the Bears can go through the draft and pick up his replacement. If not there are some beasts that are available.
Greg Hardy is one player that will certainly receive a huge contract. He had 15 sacks this season and was a tremendous run stopper. He can receive the Peppers money and have the Peppers results, but at a much younger age (26).
Michael Bennett is an intriguing possibility. He is Martellus Bennett’s brother, and Martellus has been lobbying hard to have his brother join him. Michael has always been terrific against the run, but this season he also registered 8.5 sacks. He has said that playing on the same team as his brother would be a dream come true, but is not sure about Chicago. Why? He says he does not like the cold weather. Keep lobbying Martellus!
Lamarr Houston is probably the Oakland Raiders’ best player. He will be 27 next season and is a good pass rusher, but is even better at shutting down the run. Seeing how the organization is in chaos right now, he will play somewhere else next season.
The Bears should do what they can to re-sign Henry Melton. They can probably sign him to a one year “prove it” contract to show that he is healed from his ACL injury. His arrest in December could also scare away some suitors so he can be had cheap.
The Bears are rumored to play a hybrid defense next season. If they do, one player that could fit what they need is Randy Starks. Starks is good against the run or pass, and is effective in either a 4-3 or 3-4. He will have a lot of teams interested in him.
Linval Joseph is a monster run stopper who moves well for a 325-pounder. He has been described as a player who just does his job and is solid. To shun the attention machine in New York is something, and he should fit well in Chicago.
I will cover the inside and outside linebackers next time. In the meantime, let me know what you think of this list. Are there others on your wishlist?