Bears respond to 'win-now' edict with bold Peppers, Taylor signings
There are any number of ways you can look at the Bears' start to free agency.
With no picks in the first or second rounds of this year's draft, a head coach and a general manager who are on the hot seat and a fan base whose emotional needle is threatening to swing past anger and into disgust, you do as the Bears did -- and respond with the biggest free-agent splash in franchise history.
While other teams were showing restraint in the league's first uncapped offseason since 1993, the Bears stepped on the gas pedal and signed three of the top available players at their positions: Defensive end
That's not just a lot of potential bang, but also mega-guaranteed bucks (reportedly $40 million in the first three seasons).
It's the second consecutive year the Bears have stepped out on a limb. In 2009, they traded for Broncos QB
The current branch they're sitting on could be even more flimsy. Peppers' 81 sacks are the third-most in the league since 2002, but personnel people are split on him. Some view him as a dominant player, but others see him as a guy who disappears at times. He'll have to show up for the Bears to be successful because they play in a division that features Minnesota's
Taylor is a safer gamble. Despite turning 31 in September, he lacks the wear and tear of other veteran backs. He has started only one full season during his eight-year career and was a backup to
Sadly for the Bears, the risk of making a big splash in free agency might actually be safer than relying on the draft, where they've had issues on defense in recent years. Chicago has drafted 27 defensive players dating back to 2004, and none is currently viewed as an impact performer. Tackle
The lack of returns from the draft is one reason general manager
Aggressive? Foolish? Desperate? How about all of the above.