Report: Free agent quarterback Mark Sanchez will meet with Bears

Report: Free agent quarterback Mark Sanchez will meet with Bears

The Bears are fired up about signing Mark Glennon to a three-year deal as their newest starter.

But general manager Ryan Pace is looking for more help behind his newest signal caller, and he may have it in free agent Mark Sanchez.

The 30-year-old Sanchez will visit the Bears on Thursday, per NFL Network's Mike Garafolo.

Sanchez began last season in Dallas, first backing up Tony Romo and later eventual Rookie of the Year Dak Prescott. He appeared in two games, completing 10 of 18 passes for 93 yards and a pair of interceptions. Prior to that Sanchez spent two seasons in Philadelphia, starting 10 games.

The Bears are in the process of retooling their quarterback position after releasing Jay Cutler in March. Free agents Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley both signed with the 49ers, leaving the cupboard bare.

The Bears hold the No. 3 pick in the upcoming NFL Draft and could select one of North Carolina's Mitch Trubisky, Clemson's Deshaun Watson or Notre Dame's DeShone Kizer with the pick.

Bears free-agency analysis: Better does not necessarily mean good

Bears free-agency analysis: Better does not necessarily mean good

This is the last in a series analyzing the Bears' decision-making during the 2017 free-agency period.

From 3/13: Bears free agency analysis: Alshon Jeffery non-deal left an understandable void

From 3/14: Bears free-agency analysis: Offseason OL pattern holds with Tom Compton

From 3/15: Bears free-agency analysis: Ryan Pace overhauls secondary

As the first and second waves of free agency recede, a handful of observations as to the effects the Bears' spate of signings will have on the bigger, 2017 picture, with the overall conclusion that the Bears are better than a year ago, although "better" does not equate to "good," which the Bears need more than a few signings to be.

It would be difficult for the Bears not to emerge from the signing period any worse off than they finished the 2016 season. And while the dozen signings did not carry the splash factor of a handful of others (cornerback Stephon Gilmore to the New England Patriots, defensive lineman Calais Campbell to the Jacksonville Jaguars, wide receiver Alshon Jeffery to the Philadelphia Eagles), at the very least the Bears upgraded themselves, if not as much as they or their fan base might've preferred.

But the reality is that at the positions of need, the Bears got incrementally better over where they were in 2016, like the additions or not.

Quarterback: Mike Glennon for Jay Cutler/Brian Hoyer? Cutler and Hoyer are career mid-level NFL quarterbacks at best. Until Glennon proves something, he's not there yet. The Bears are gambling that he has upside that none of their incumbent options had; until then...       +/-? Minus

Defensive line: The Bears defense suffered when nose tackle Eddie Goldman was down with an ankle injury. Opponents averaged 3.8 yards per carry in the six games Goldman played, 4.8 in the 10 he missed, replaced by chiefly by Will Sutton. Bears signed former New Orleans Saints/Seattle Seahawks nose tackle John Jenkins on Friday. Jenkins or Sutton? +/-? Plus

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Cornerback: Prince Amukamara and Marcus Cooper will not make Chicago forget Charles Tillman anytime soon. And they did not rate on a par with Gilmore, A.J. Bouye or Logan Ryan. But the Bears started Jacoby Glenn, Bryce Callahan, Cre'Von LeBlanc and Johnthan Banks at the corner opposite Tracy Porter. Callahan has upside but the signings are steps up from the 2016 collage. +/-? Plus

Safety: Quintin Demps at 32 is a de facto bridge rather than long-term solution. And with two picks in the first 36, the Bears will be in position to add a top-shelf safety via the draft. In the meantime, Demps or Harold Jones-Quartey? Or Adrian Amos? +/-? Plus

Receiver: Losing Jeffery created a void in the passing offense, taking away a wideout with 304 catches over the past five years. The Bears expect Cam Meredith and Kevin White to provide size on the outside, and went for speed in signings of Markus Wheaton and Kendall Wright, who combined for 387 catches over those same five years. +/-? Minus

Tight end: Zach Miller is the usual known unknown, coming back from IR. The Bears already re-signed Daniel Brown. Logan Paulsen among the NFL's most-penalized tight ends, with more infractions (6) than pass receptions (3), including none over the final eight games. Dion Sims graded out as a better blocker and had 26 receptions, including four games with as many or more as Paulsen had all season. +/-? Plus

Offensve line: The offense changed starting offensive lines five times last season, primarily because of injuries at guard (Kyle Long, Josh Sitton). Tackles Charles Leno and Bobby Massie accounted for a combined 31 of 32 starts, with Mike Adams stepping in at right tackle for one game (New York Gaints). Signing Tom Compton creates competition for Massie in particular, but also puts a proven swing tackle behind the starters. +/-? Plus

Bears Free Agency Notes: Mike Glennon signing puts Dowell Loggains in the spotlight

Bears Free Agency Notes: Mike Glennon signing puts Dowell Loggains in the spotlight

The most important member of the John Fox coaching staff just became offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains, with quarterbacks coach Dave Ragone a strong second. Period.
 
The move to bring in Mike Glennon from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is the centerpiece of Bears free agency, regardless of what else plays out. A very strong case could have been made for staying with Brian Hoyer after his brief but highly productive stint last season, but general manager Ryan Pace very clearly viewed Glennon as a potential upgrade with upside, one worth the extra $10 million a year that Hoyer would've cost. Glennon had pedestrian results in his limited play with the Buccaneers but was solid at ball security and flashed in a couple of instances, enough to convince Pace, from the pro-personnel side of scouting, that there was potentially more here than just a bridge quarterback.
 
The other shoe at the position will come in the draft, with Pace expected to give his organization a second shot at something special. Which round isn't necessarily important; as with Glennon, the development is.
 
Loggains/Ragone made something out of Matt Barkley and had Hoyer playing some of the best football in his career. Both quarterbacks happen to now be members of the San Francisco 49ers.
 
Glennon. A draft choice. And Connor Shaw. All in development. Dowell Loggains, you're on.

Bears add another DB

After signing a safety but staying out of the spiraling bidding for cornerback help on Day 1 of free agency, the Bears moved on Friday to address their critical need at cornerback with the signing of Prince Amukamara, the 2011 first-round pick of the New York Giants who played last year for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
 
The Bears explored the market for corners as free agency opened but stepped away from situations that saw Stephon Gilmore leave the Buffalo Bills for the New England Patriots and $65 million over five years, and A.J. Bouye go from the Houston Texans to the Jaguars for $67.5 million over five years.
 
Instead, the Bears got agreement on a one-year deal with Amukamara, the 19th player taken in the same draft that saw the Bears take Gabe Carimi at No. 29. Amukamara was hampered by injuries during his five Giants seasons, missing 25 games. He missed the first two last year with a hamstring strain before playing the final 14, starting 12. Amukamara has 7 career interceptions and has the size (6-foot-1, 201 pounds) and ability to play physical man-to-man preferred by Bears defensive coaches.

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Safety first

The Bears had a very clear mission statement and standard for judging their third offseason under Pace.

"I think if we look back," Pace said last week during the NFL Scouting Combine, "and we say we've addressed some of our critical needs."
 
Pace took a step toward one of those critical needs with the Quintin Demps signing, although Demps, whose football odyssey since being a Philadelphia Eagles draft choice in 2008 included a year (2010) with the Hartford Colonials of the United Football League, is far from the end of what the Bears are seeking to do in the secondary this offseason.
 
The Bears made plays for a number of other defensive backs, both cornerbacks and safeties, but were not able to bring in some of their No. 1 targets.

Remember those guys?

With the exit of wide receiver Alshon Jeffery and the release of quarterback Jay Cutler, the Bears are without any of the skill-position players that were part of their franchise-record (6,109 yards) offense of 2013. And the Bears aren’t the only ones letting members of that group go.
 
Brandon Marshall was traded away to the New York Jets, who cut him last week and who opted to stay in New York (Giants) to advance his media career. Martellus Bennett was dealt to the Patriots and tweeted goodbye to the Pats this week after they sent him a message in the form of a trade for Indianapolis Colts tight end Dwayne Allen.
 
Matt Forte wasn't re-signed after 2015, joined Marshall with the Jets but finished a career-low rushing season (813 yards) on IR with a knee injury. He is still in the Jets’ plans (a guaranteed $4 million for 2017 will do that) for now.