Feb 20, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Chicago Bears general manager Phil Emery speaks during a press conference during the 2014 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Could the Chicago Bears Help the Bulls In Free Agency?


One truth that has emerged about the Chicago Bears GM Phil Emery is his uncanny ability to work free agency.  While cross-sports cooperation is rare on a front office scale, could Emery perhaps help another Chicago franchise in what is billed as the most critical free agency in a decade?

Jared Allen and Jermon Bushrod among Emery prizes

The thing to remember about Chicago sports fans is that almost universally, with the exception of baseball, fans of one team is almost certainly the fan of another.  So Bears fans will cheer for the Bulls.  Bulls fans will cheer for the Blackhawks and so on.  Is it so crazy to imagine cooperation between two organizations for the betterment of the entire sports picture in Chicago?  A little, yes, but not too much.  The fact of the matter is while the Bears have enjoyed a great deal of success in free agency the past five years, the same cannot be said for the Bulls.

Since taking over in 2012, GM Phil Emery has worked the market like a pro.  Among his greatest prizes include left tackle Jermon Bushrod, a two-time Pro Bowler and defensive end Jared Allen, a five-time Pro Bowler.  The one thing they have in common is that nobody expected the Bears to get either of them.  Bushrod was considered a long shot since his former team, the New Orleans Saints wanted him back and seemed ready to make a deal.  Instead Emery did some prime negotiating and got the 29-year old to sign.  This past March, Allen was on the lookout for a contender but also somebody who could pay close to what he made in Minnesota.  Everyone assumed the world champion Seattle Seahawks were the place.  As it turns out the Seahawks did offer more money, but Emery sold Allen on the Bears and the All-Pro joined in.

Chicago Bulls dead set on landing Carmelo Anthony or LeBron James

Luring star players has not been a vocation of the Chicago Bulls.  Back in 2010 they seemed to have everything in place to get one.  A new, respected coach, a dynamic young player in Derrick Rose and the money to pay for max contract.  Yet despite their efforts every major name went elsewhere.  Fast forward four years and suddenly the Bulls are back in the same spots.  They have a good setup with a strong core in place that merely lacks that missing piece and a host of star players at their finger tips in free agency.  Still, fans are considerably less optimistic.  For some reason players like LeBron James and others don’t want to play in Chicago despite its benefits as a major media market and sports town.  Their best hope to date, All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony is very much a danger of using them to re-sign in New York or up his price with other teams who can afford to pay more.

If the problem isn’t their setup, then it must be their negotiating tactics.  For some reason the Chicago Bulls brass can’t get through to the top free agents that they can not only win but make money doing it in the Windy City.  That is why there might be no harm in placing a phone call to the Chicago Bears.  Emery, regardless of his faults, has proven an able negotiator.  In a year that could mean the difference in competing for a championship, the Bulls should not feel shame about looking under every rock for help.

Tags: Carmelo Anthony Chicago Bears Chicago Bulls Jared Allen Jermon Bushrod Lebron James Phil Emery

  • Dale Holmgren

    Also, it’s interesting that Emery is not overpaying. Bushrod is not an elite LT; however, with Cutler’s quick release now under Trestman, he doesn’t need to be. He’s “good”, and his LT average salary reflects that; 14th in the NFL among tackles. Similarly, Jared Allen is only 11th in average salary among the DE’s, even though he has 45 sacks in the last 3 years. He got Willie Young for a ridiculously low salary number, 50th among DE’s, even though Willie has 48 QB hurries, 3rd place behind only Brian Robison and Robert Quinn.

    • Erik Lambert

      Not only does he get the good players, he gets them at a favorable price. That is as good as it gets in free agency.