Patience could pay in free agency

Patience could pay in free agency

Posted by Bob LeGere on Mon, 03/12/2012 - 16:36
Every effort will be made by NFL teams to snap up marquee unrestricted free agents like Mario Williams and Vincent Jackson shortly after the market opens at 3 p.m. Tuesday. The Bears have interest in both players and, as they showed two years ago when they swept Julius Peppers off his feet with $84 million, they have the financial wherewithal to get a blockbuster deal done quickly. But the Bears don’t have to get a big-name, big-money player in the first 24 hours to close the talent gap between themselves and the Packers. New G.M. Phil Emery will face expensive competition for both players. In Williams’ case there is a pretty steep drop-off to the next level of pass rushers, most of whom are on the wrong side of 30 or have yet to produce at a high level. The best of the bunch could be 33-year-old John Abraham, although he did have 9 ½ sacks last season. But at wide receiver, there is a solid group after Jackson, including the Saints’ Marques Colston and Robert Meachem, and the Cowboys’ Laurent Robinson. Any of them would immediately upgrade Jay Cutler’s weak supply of weapons. And, although defensive line and wide receiver might be the Bears’ two biggest needs, there are several defensive backs who could help, including Titans CB Cortland Finnegan, Chiefs CB Brandon Carr, Ravens CB LaDarius Webb, 49ers CB Carlos Rogers and Redskins S LaRon Landry. Waiting a day or a even week could be the Bears’ best bet, considering that the earliest deals in free agency are usually the ones in which teams overpay the most. By waiting until the opening feeding frenzy subsides, the Bears could get more talent for less money.
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