Free Agent Safety Lamarcus Joyner Could Fit Into the Bears Secondary, But at What Cost?

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Free Agent Safety Lamarcus Joyner Could Fit Into the Bears Secondary, But at What Cost?

Chicago Bears

Unless the Chicago Bears make a move to re-sign one of their pending free agents, finding help for the secondary will be a primary concern of GM Ryan Pace this offseason. And with limited (but flexible) funds, Chicago’s front office might need to think outside the box for a solution.

Perhaps one way to fill that void would be to seek out the pending free agent of a fellow division winner. NFL.com analyst Marc Sessler recently poked around to find fun fits for NFC free agents and sent Los Angeles Rams safety Lamarcus Joyner to the Bears in a move that would add a little extra spice to the 2019 rematch out west.

On the surface, Joyner makes sense as a replacement for safety Adrian Amos. Pro Football Focus ranks Joyner as the No. 4 available free agent safety this offseason, and he’s just one year removed from an elite grade at PFF. Indeed, Joyner was still solid last year, but his 2017 campaign – in which he came away with three interceptions, a touchdown, and nine passes defended – definitely set a high bar. Even still, Joyner appears to have a lot to offer to a team like Chicago. His free agent profile at PFF highlights his knack for making the plays in front of him, which is evident in missing just one tackle over the last two years on passing plays.

What could make Joyner more appealing to the Bears is the versatility he displayed in previous years with the Rams. Joyner was once a slot cornerback whose coverage skills transferred to his time as a safety. And while we don’t know exactly what Chuck Pagano will ask from his safeties in his first year as the Bears’ defensive coordinator, a little versatility could go a long way.

But even as Sessler sees the Bears and Joyner as a fit, I’m not quite sold on the marriage. For starters, Joyner figures to command top dollar if he hits the market and we know that sort of thing could be an issue for the Bears. Joyner is just one year removed from playing on a one-year contract valued at $11.287 million under the Franchise tag. And spotrac.com views Joyner’s market value being north of $53.2 million over the course of a five-year deal. That’s an average annual salary of $10.6 million.

(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

At that price, the Bears are better off retaining Amos, who is three years younger and a known quantity at Halas Hall.

The market of available defensive backs is loaded with talented players. So much so, we’ll probably see the Bears connected to any number of players on the rumor mill. Joyner certainly won’t be the last name-brand player who makes sense for Chicago at some level. But just know that because a fit might seem “fun” – depending on your definition of fun – but it doesn’t mean it’s right. Moving forward, Pace and the Bears should concern themselves with good fits, and not necessarily ones that seem fun.



Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.