Bears fans are probably following Kyle Long on Twitter anyway, but just as an early Thursday post foreshadowed Jay Cutler's official departure later in the day, his Saturday string suggested Falcons free agent offensive tackle Tom Compton was in town. He also hinted that Vikings wideout/Pro-Bowl kick returner Cordarrelle Patterson was here as well (and he did, indeed, visit the Bears).
Compton was signed to a one-year deal to be a swing backup/competition for Charles Leno Jr. and Bobby Massie. His only season in Atlanta provided depth for the only o-line in the NFL that started all 16 games together, en route to a trip to the Super Bowl. The original sixth round pick of Washington out of South Dakota in 2012 has started 11 of 60 career games, nine of those with Washington in 2014.
That move came shortly after wide receiver Kendall Wright signed a one-year, $4 million deal to reunite with offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains, under whom he had his most success in his first two NFL seasons in Tennessee in 2012 and `13. He led Tennessee in catches (64, for 626 yards) after being selected 20th overall (the same year the Bears selected Alshon Jeffery in the second round). Next came his franchise-record 94 receptions for 1,079 yards in his sophomore campaign. But since then, the 5'10 Baylor product has seen his numbers (57, 36, and, most recently, 29 catches for 416 yards this past season) and playing time diminish, despite the drafting of Marcus Mariota in 2015. He figures to compete with Friday signee Markus Wheaton in the slot, especially if Eddie Royal is released.
The Saturday signing flurry began with three cornerbacks coming aboard. The reported agreement Friday with ex-Jaguar and Giant Prince Amukamara became official. That was followed by the re-signing of former Buccaneers second-rounder Johnthan Banks, who's been injury-prone the last couple of seasons and joined the Bears briefly at the end of last year. Then came 6'2 Marcus Cooper, who had four interceptions (one for a touchdown) in a career-high 13 starts for a second-ranked Arizona defense that was stung by injuries to the secondary. His first three seasons were spent amidst another talented defensive backfield in Kansas City, and received a three-year deal from the Bears.
That trio joins Tracy Porter, Cre`von LeBlanc, Deiondre Hall, Kyle Fuller, Bryce Callahan, Sherrick McManus, De'Vante Bausby and Jacoby Glenn in a cornerback group that will be heavy on competition, if not another addition at a position that is considered one of the strengths of this year's draft. Then again, it may indicate Ryan Pace may focus elsewhere in late April.