Chicago Bears take on a couple reclamation projects

Chicago Bears (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Bears are hoping to score big on a couple of bargain-basement deals.

We are now fully immersed in the second phase of NFL free agency and the Chicago Bears have taken a couple of swings that, if they connect, could be looked back upon as terrific signings. Unfortunately, fans may not see the value in them at this time, but perhaps your patience will be rewarded in time.

At the start of free agency, the Bears had some clear needs. In no particular order, they had to shore up their quarterback room, as well as find another tight end, right guard, cornerback, strong safety, and depth at edge rusher.

Unfortunately, the Bears needs seem to have outpaced their financial resources, and with the somewhat costly additions of Nick Foles, Robert Quinn, and Jimmy Graham, it does not leave a lot of cash lying around to fill the other needs. To date, they have not made any additions to the offensive line.

As it relates to their cornerback and edge-rushing depth, the Bears seem to be rolling the dice on a couple of former highly-touted first-round draft picks.

Barkevious Mingo, drafted sixth overall in the 2013 draft, will boost the edge, while the twenty-fifth overall pick in 2016, Artie Burns, will compete for the second starting quarterback position.

While neither has lived up to their draft-day expectations, they, at one time, had the pedigree to be selected that high. So while the talent is there, for whatever reason, it has failed to translate on the field.

With respect to Mingo, it’s very unlikely he’ll have a breakout in year eight, but as a depth piece and a special-teams contributor, he’ll be a pretty valuable piece that the Bears picked up for peanuts. He’ll likely be asked to replace the production of Aaron Lynch, which shouldn’t be hard to do so long as he can stay onsides. He also has familiarity playing for defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano, so perhaps Chuck can extract some value out of him on a one-year deal. It should also help to play on a line with Khalil Mack, Robert Quinn, and Akiem Hicks.

Burns, on the other hand, is a little more intriguing as he is only three years removed from being a pretty highly-touted cornerback coming out of the University of Miami. Maybe a change of scenery will do him good and he can tap into the talent that led to him being a first-round pick.

Again, one-year deals have a tendency to motivate a player and could result in the Bears catching lightning in a bottle.

While fans may want to see the team sign more high-profile names, these are the types of players  (at the type of cost) who are necessary to fill out a roster. They are also the ones who could potentially fetch the team compensatory draft picks in 2022.

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Either way, the two represent low-cost, low-risk options who could end up outplaying their contracts.