The A.J. Green Bears Talked to Isn't Andy Dalton's Receiver
The Bears held an interview with A.J. Green and this shouldn't be used as more proof they're planning to bring in Andy Dalton at quarterback, although that could certainly happen.
Instead, it's A.J. Green the defensive back from Oklahoma State. He's another in a series of defensive players who the Bears have been talking with at the postseason bowl games.
The Bears have so many defensive free agents and potential cap cuts at defensive positions, it's only a matter of covering all bases as they have interviews with these defensive players.
Earlier they had talked with Miami linebacker Michael Pinckney, Wyoming's Logan Wilson and also at the Senior Bowl this week it's been reported in several places they had a talk with Appalachia State linebacker Akeem Davis-Gaither. They talked to three potential safeties and now Green and pass rusher Trevis Gipson. Like Green, the Bears spoke to Gipson on the field at the Senior Bowl according to Walter Football.com in Mobile, Ala.
Gipson is an outstanding pass rusher who is a bit bigger than the conventional outside linebacker, more of a defensive end. He's 6-foot-4, 268 pounds. He had 13 career sacks and eight last season.
The Bears do have a need at outside linebacker with the chance they won't have backup Aaron Lynch return. He suffered through a season with seven offside or neutral zone infractions, and had only two sacks and 10 tackles, although he did make nine quarterback hits.
It's possible they may also be thinking ahead to the Leonard Floyd contract, and how they'll have to pay him $13 million in the fifth year of it in 2020. They continue to insist Floyd is getting the job done, even though he played 84 percent of defensive snaps and had only three sacks and 12 QB hits.
"We're happy with Leonard. I know the stats don't always say that," GM Ryan Pace said. "Leonard does a lot of things that go a little undervalued. The versatility he provides, things he can do in coverage. Not a lot of outside linebackers that can provide the versatility he provides.
"Would we like more production with him? Yeah. Would he like that? Yeah. There's a lot of things he does that we like."
The cornerback situation was thin all last season, with inexperienced Kevin Toliver and rookie Duke Shelley backing up the outside and slot respectively. And then there is the chance the Bears could look at Prince Amukamara's final year coming up and ask him to take some kind of extension with terms he may not want, or cut him for cap purposes.
They'd need another cornerback.
Which leads back to Green, who has nice height at 6-1 but is a bit thin at 181 pounds. The weight caused some scouts to view him as in need of bulking up so he can be more physical. His coverage skills are rated as strong, though.
Mock drafts suggest Green would be viewed as a mid- or later-round type.
Players like Clemson's A.J. Terrell, LSU's Christian Fulton, Stanford's Paulson Adebo and Virginia's Bryce Hall are all players who've been prominently mentioned by draft sites as potential second-rounders and the Bears have two second-round picks, but none until the 43rd overall pick.
Defense will continue to be a focus, although tight end, quarterback and offensive line are all areas the Bears need to address, as well.