8 impact free agents the Bears can bring to Chicago
Brian Orakpo (Washington, DE)
Orakpo comes off a disappointing 2014 season for the 'Skins, but in general he would be a solid addition to the Bears. Orakpo has three Pro Bowl appearances, 40 sacks, and 171 combined tackles in his six pro seasons. Pro Football Focus still has him ranked as one of their better FA rush ends on their 2015 FA tracker. He could be acquired for a very good price and be a starting DE in DC Vic Fangio's new 3-4 base defense.
Jasper Brinkley (Minnesota, LB)
Jasper Brinkley, 30, was a very productive player for Mike Zimmer and the Minnesota Vikings' improved defense in 2014. He is one of PFF's highest-rated FA LBs, and despite his age and mileage last year, he's still a productive and athletic body to put in the linebacking corps. He can play the pass very well, which is good for a new 3-4 scheme that will look to improve upon a woeful pass defense in 2014. He produced on a short deal in Minnesota; he'd likely take another short-term deal, which would make him a good value as well as a good system fit.
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Ndamukong Suh (Detroit, DT)
The Lions saw the deadline for franchise tagging their standout DT come and go, and yet they let him get to market. Starting March 10, expect the FA Lion to garner huge interest and ask for lots of money. Why not? He's a once-in-a-generation defender — an interior d-lineman that can rush the passer and generate consistent double- and even triple-teams, freeing up other players along a defensive line. Suh's behavior and aloof nature can be off-putting, but he's a gamer and almost never gets hurt. Suh is worth a lot of money for the Bears, especially to improve a woeful d-line in 2014.
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Geno Hayes (Jacksonville, LB)
Hayes has been playing in a 4-3 base defense the past two years in Jacksonville, and with the Bears transitioning away from that towards a 3-4; is Hayes worth acquiring? Yes. He's young (he is still just 27 years-old), and could be a real bargain pick-up depending on how much he's on the radar for other teams looking for LBs. Hayes has shown flashes of great play, and is adept at forcing fumbles: he's had six forced fumbles in six years as a starting LB in either Tampa Bay or Jacksonville; at least one per season every season since 2009. He also posseses good speed, and is talented enough that he could be put into another system and be able to adapt. He should be on Chicago's radar.
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Reggie Bush (Detroit, RB)
Bush was recently cut by the Detroit Lions, and the 30-year-old RB has had his injury issues of late, but he's a brilliant choice as a backup RB for Matt Forte. Why? He is a veteran that has produced well enough over his career to garner the defense's attention, and he wants to continue playing, so he might be open to taking a team-friendly contract. Bush is really good out of the backfield, making him the perfect backup for Forte, as Jay Cutler likes to throw screen passes to his backs.
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Devin McCourty (New England, S)
McCourty, 28, is PFF's No. 2 FA safety. McCourty has been in the league since 2010; he's had 17 career picks as well as 303 combined tackles, and he has seven career forced fumbles. Even better: McCourty has played at fewest 14 games every single year of his career. The Patriots decided not to franchise tag himand might let him walk. Like Suh, McCourty is talented enough to deserve a big contract.
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Tramon Williams (Green Bay, CB)
Williams will turn 32 later this month, and he played over 1,000 snaps on defense for the Packers in 2014. That said, Williams is still productive and one of PFF's highest-rated FA CBs. Williams can provide veteran leadership to the young Kyle Fuller as well as fill in nicely when needed at the CB position.
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Da'Norris Searcy (Buffalo, S)
Searcy, 26, is Pro Football Focus' No. 6 FA safety. Searcy has only been in the league since 2011, and while he could certainly re-sign with the Bills this March, if he hits the market, he's worth grabbing. In just four seasons as a pro he has three forced fumbles, four sacks, 14 passes defensed, and over 140 combined tackles. Searcy's youth and athleticism are extremely tantalizing for a Chicago team with some of the league's worst safety play in 2014.