Bears Hammered By ESPN on Free Agent Signing

One particular free agency move of the Chicago Bears was heavily criticized by NFL commentators.

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Now that the peak of free agency craze is over, it's time to take stock of what transpired over the past two weeks. The Chicago Bears, with plenty of cap space and big decisions to make in the offseason, made a few transactions that were generally applauded, and a few that caused a bit of head-scratching.

According to ESPN, the Bears' decision to sign veteran safety Kevin Byard was particularly confusing. In fact, it was chosen as the "most head-scratching move" of free agency by a panel of experts.

Among the commentators who criticized the move were Jason Reid, Jordan Reid, and Jeremy Fowler, who all highlighted the abundance of options on the open market at safety.

"The safety market was very good entering free agency, and there were much better and younger fits for the Bears to sign. Considering the amount of cap space they had prior to that signing, there seemed to be better fits than the aging Byard."

Jordan Reid, NFL Draft analyst

Some of the names mentioned by the panel that could have been targeted by Chicago included Kamren Curl, Justin Simmons, and Quandre Diggs.

Kevin Byard was certainly not effective last season. He got traded to the Philadelphia Eagles mid-season and failed to make the impact the Birds were hoping for. The entire defensive unit fell apart and Byard naturally couldn't fix it single-handedly. He could certainly look a lot better in Chicago.

But, he is also going to be 31 years old. He has been very healthy and available his whole career, so at least that is not a concern. But, backfield defenders can decline very quickly. The Bears have to hope that the two-time Pro Bowler can stave off that decline for at least another year.

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