Unrestricted Free Agents – Keep
Before we get into an explanation, here are the unrestricted free agents which I have the Bears bringing back this spring:
Left tackle Bobby Massie
Outside linebacker Aaron Lynch
Cornerback Bryce Callahan
Wide receiver Josh Bellamy
Guard Bryan Witzmann
Long snapper Patrick Scales
First, let me make this clear: Callahan is the clear-cut priority this offseason. He has arguably been the best slot cornerback in football when healthy — but that’s the key. Callahan has had his share of injuries, but he’s been far too good to let go. The Bears defense is in fact that much better with him on the field.
One guy who hasn’t gotten nearly enough attention over the past year is Massie. Is he a Pro Bowl level talent? No, not quite. But, was he part of what was a very good offensive line overall? Absolutely. The veteran has definitely improved during his time with the Bears, and even if they draft or sign some competition at the position, Massie should come relatively cheap.
Like Callahan, another injury-prone vet is Lynch. But, for the majority of the season, he was able to stay on the field. When he was on the field, he was productive. Surrounded by so much talent, Lynch had pass rush lanes open up often and he took advantage of them.
Bellamy is one who I would have never thought could impact a team like he did in 2018. On the field, he doesn’t do a whole lot other than play solid special teams. But, it was clear that his presence in the locker room was felt, especially with the younger guys. Bellamy is a perfect example of someone you want in the locker room, and like Massie, he’ll come cheap.
I don’t want to talk too much about Witzmann, but I will say this: I owe him an apology. At first, I was far from sold on this guy. But, as he continued to fill in for Kyle Long, he improved. He’ll come cheap, and he adds some depth to the position.