Lance Briggs’ Twitter feed is usually good for a nugget or two, and Monday was no exception.
While Bears fans can dream on cap space and draft picks and hope for a defensive renaissance under Vic Fangio, a fan asked Briggs what his ideal Bears defense would look like:
Dan Hampton, Tommie Harris, Peppers, Richard Dent, Peanut, Leslie Frazier, Mike Brown, Gary Fencik, Butkus, Urlacher, & Wilber Marshall. https://t.co/4ObZGnXfVF
— Lance Briggs (@LanceBriggs) February 20, 2017
This is a tough team to top, even with Briggs omitting himself from the group. Briggs’ ultimate defense features three current members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and eight others who collectively made 44 Pro Bowls and 19 first-team All-Pro Teams. And if you were to add Briggs to the group, it would tack on seven more Pro Bowls and another first-team All Pro nomination.
There is no doubt the Bears have a colorful past, especially on the defensive side of the ball. But it’s long past time to add another two or three players worthy of consideration.
But first, today’s Bullets …
- Pro Football Weekly has a nifty free agency tracker that could be useful as free agency draws near. Because not only does it list the top-50 free agents, but it also provides a brief and informative blurb. With this free agency class being the most important of the Ryan Pace era, PFW’s free agent tracker will likely be valuable to track the kind of movement the Bears – and others – make this offseason.
- One of the free agents worth keeping an close eye on this offseason is Alshon Jeffery. PFW’s Kevin Fishbain answers a handful of the most frequently asked questions with regards to the Bears’ options with Jeffery. The offseason questions that surround Jeffery in 2017 are similar to the ones asked in 2016, but adding a PED suspension to the mix complicates matters. There is really no clear cut way to solve the Jeffery dilemma, but it is still at the top of the to-do list for Pace.
- The Illinois senate measure that would cut a player’s worker’s compensation from age 67 to no later than 35 is still something worth tracking this offseason. Kianna Sepeda-Miller of the Associated Press digs into what might be the biggest off-the-field story of the offseason. Among the new details are how much a player could claim (two-thirds of the difference between what they were making when injured and what they’re able to make after) and the state’s average weekly wage ($1,070, or no more than $56,000 in a year).
- Mike Mayock’s top-5 safeties:
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) February 20, 2017
- The Bears could seek improvement in the draft by plucking a player (or two) from a deep secondary pool, especially at safety. Melifonwu impressed at the Senior Bowl, while Hooker and Adams are already on the Bears’ radar. Peppers is the wild card because he might ultimately move from the safety position, depending on how teams view his future (Peppers played something of a hybrid linebacker/safety role in college). We haven’t discussed Budda Baker as a possibility, yet, but he is a 5-10 junior who is CBS Sports’ second-ranked free safety and the draft’s 43rd overall prospect. With a second-round grade, Baker could be a value pick if the Bears use their first-rounder to address another position of need.
- You can take offensive tackle Branden Allen off any free agent watch list after the Dolphins traded him to the Jaguars, and in a separate deal, acquired tight end Julius Thomas. This swap fills needs for both teams. Allen moves to Jacksonville where he can slide into the left tackle spot and protect Blake Bortles’ blindside. Meanwhile, Thomas re-unites with Adam Gase, Miami’s head coach who once served as the offensive coordinator when Thomas was a two-time Pro Bowler in Denver. Miami’s new tight end gives quarterback Ryan Tannehill another pass catching option, which could free up Jarvis Landry on the outside, as well as Jay Ajayi and the running game.
- Don’t look now, but the Dallas Cowboys – who had the NFC’s best record in 2016 – are making cap space. ESPN’s Todd Archer reports the team is restructuring the contacts of tackle Tyson Smith and center Travis Fredrick in a move that opens up approximately $17 million in cap room. The successful restructuring of the deals for the All-Pro pair projects to put Dallas under the cap, which will be finalized by the time the new league year begins in March.
- The Minnesota Vikings sent out a heartfelt message after learning of the passing of Rod Simons, a local reporter who died at age 56 on Monday:
— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) February 21, 2017