Chicago Bears can’t miss their second chance at Stephon Gilmore

Chicago Bears (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

One of the biggest, glaring weaknesses for the Chicago Bears this season has been in their secondary.

Dating all the way back to their offseason moves (or lack thereof), the Bears have had a void there. It was no secret, yet general manager Ryan Pace refused to address the issue.

Wednesday morning, the Bears saw a golden opportunity arise in order to fix this weakness.

In a shocking move, the New England Patriots have opted to release former Defensive Player of the Year and All Pro cornerback Stephon Gilmore.

The Chicago Bears looked close to acquiring Stephon Gilmore a few years back, and now they have a second chance.

Back in 2017, Gilmore entered unrestricted free agency after five seasons with the Buffalo Bills. The Bears showed interest in signing Gilmore that year, but of course he ultimately ended up with New England.

Now a free agent once more, Gilmore will look for just his third team since entering the league as a first-round pick back in 2012.

The 31-year-old Gilmore is a 4-time Pro Bowl selection as well as a 2-time All Pro. His best season came in 2019 when he was voted NFL Defensive Player of the Year. That season, Gilmore picked off six passes while totaling a ridiculous 20 passes defensed.

The scariest part of that season was that it wasn’t Gilmore’s first time totaling 20 passes defensed — in fact, it was his second-straight season doing so.

At the moment, Gilmore is slated to return from the PUP list after Week 6. He’s been recovering from surgery to repair a torn quad, but should be good to go fairly soon. For the Bears, he would meet arguably the biggest need on the team currently.

While second-year pro Jaylon Johnson has been one of the best corners in football this year, the Bears don’t have much by way of a second solid starter. Kindle Vildor is occupying that role at the moment, but has underwhelmed for the most part.

Quite frankly, the entire Bears secondary has overwhelmed as a whole, aside from Johnson. Eddie Jackson has come up with a few good plays after starting the season slow, but it’s been mostly Johnson who has been worthy of the praise.

Signing Gilmore would immediately give the Bears one of the best cornerback duos in the league, and cement their defense as a top-five unit. Already, their front seven have been nothing but menacing to opposing offenses.

Robert Quinn and Khalil Mack are off to great starts this season, and the Bears continue to get pressure game-in and game-out. Now, it’s just up to their offense to catch up.

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Overall, Gilmore could be a signing which puts the Bears in playoff contention, should that offense find their way. This is a move that Pace cannot afford to miss.