The Bears have set an aggressive pace through the first week of free agency, signing and re-signing players at a furious pace, particularly to shore up areas on defense that led directly to a 2013 season of failed expectations.
The strategy has made perfect sense, even the price tags involved, to an NFL executive who has been through his share of shopping sprees to shore up a franchise.
Jerry Angelo is contracted to be a regular NFL insider for the “Kap and Haugh Show” every week, 10:25 a.m. on Wednesdays, as part of “The Game” on WGWG LP 87.7 FM.
Few teams have matched the aggressiveness of the Bears in free agency, and nearly all of the moves have come on defense. That in fact is part of a plan that builds in layers.
“I look at it this way,” Angelo said. “Before you get good, you have to get better first...Teams are addressing where they really feel they have needs going out and filling their needs.”
But it’s expensive: “They know when they come out in that first week, you’re shopping at Nordstrom’s. No sales here; you have to pay a premium to get these players. The sales on these players start with retail.”
Angelo drafted Henry Melton as a defensive end out of Texas, a fourth-round find that stands as one of his better draft selections in any area of the defense. He also was involved in moving Melton to defensive tackle, a switch that produced a Pro Bowl performer before last season’s catastrophic knee injury.
But Melton is with the Dallas Cowboys as of Tuesday, a move Angelo understood completely as to why the Bears did not move to re-sign a physical interior lineman who also could rush the passer. In addition, the Cowboys’ contract contains a three-year team option.
“Until you see him up and going, you don’t want to do a long-term contract,” Angelo said. “It was smart on the Cowboys’ part to still have control of the contract. I’m sure they’re going to see the Pro Bowl player that we saw in Chicago.”