Free agency was a big spending event for the Chicago Bears. Which of their most notable pickups will swim and which will sink?
Sink: D.J. Williams – MLB
Some players just seem to have nine lives when it comes their NFL career. D.J. Williams may be working on his very last one. After surviving both suspensions and injuries in Denver, he came to Chicago in hopes of revitalizing his place as a starter in the league. For six games it appeared he was on that track. Then he tore his pectoral and missed the rest of the season. Still, the Bears felt he’d at least earned one more chance to get it right and re-signed him. Unfortunately he may be out of time. Not only is he 32-years old, but he has much more formidable competition. Jon Bostic is not the indecisive rookie he was last season. All reports out of camp is he’s quicker and more comfortable in the scheme. If he can prove consistent enough, his speed and versatility will prove too much for Williams to hold off.
Swim: Brian De La Puente – C
The interesting situation regarding Brian De La Puente is that he could become one of those free agents who pans out as a long-term option. At 28-years old, he gives the Chicago Bears an immediate reliable reserve at both center and guard but more importantly he is certainly a shoe-in as the eventual replacement for Roberto Garza. The scrappy team captain is 35-years old, a dangerous age for offensive linemen and there is just no telling when his body won’t be able to handle the rigors anymore. By having De La Puente in house and already quite proficient in the style of offense the Bears run, this could give the team much needed continuity at arguably the most important offensive line position.
Sink: Adrian Wilson – SS
Whenever a person hears four Pro Bowls and a Super Bowl appearance attached to the name of a player, it generates instant excitement. That is especially true for the Chicago Bears since that person, Adrian Wilson, is a safety. Based on history alone he could be the solution they’ve been waiting for at a position that has haunted them for years. However, caution is warranted in this situation. Wilson, for all his accomplishments is 34-years old. Any football player at that age is a risk. On top of that Wilson is recovering from a torn Achilles that knocked him out of the 2013 season. He hasn’t played any meaningful football since 2012. Bears fans might want to temper their expectations on what he will do in camp or the preseason.
Swim: Jared Allen – DE
It may go down as one of the great steals in NFL free agency history. Nobody from experts to fans believed Chicago had a shot at signing defensive end Jared Allen. They didn’t have the money and weren’t viewed, at least by most critics as the most prominent title contender. So when the news dropped that the 32-year old pass rusher had signed, it came as a thunderclap. Suddenly the Bears had a player who averages at least 11 sacks per season and hasn’t missed a game since 2007. That kind of production and consistency is extremely rare in football. His age is of course a concern but Allen has made a habit of proving doubters wrong. Not only we he become a locker room leader, but he will help reinvigorate the Chicago pass rush.