Bears acquire DE Gaines Adams from Buccaneers

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The Chicago Bears made a move before the NFL’s Tuesday trade deadline and it was not for disgruntled wide receiver Terrell Owens, as was the unsubstantiated speculation this past week.

The Bears instead bolstered their defensive line by acquiring defensive end Gaines Adams from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a 2010 second round draft pick.

Adams, as you may recall, intercepted a Kyle Orton screen pass in the third week of the 2008 season and returned it 45 yards for a touchdown.

Unless the Bears make a move to acquire a first or second round pick, next year’s draft will mark the second year in a row that the team has been without either of its first two selections. The Bears traded last year’s first round pick as well as the first round choice in 2010 for Jay Cutler and they also traded out of the second round in 2009’s draft.

That Jerry Angelo would trade one of his coveted draft picks — a high one at that — speaks volumes about how big a trade this is. Adams, the fourth overall pick in the 2007 draft, finished with 6 sacks as a rookie and 6.5 in his second season. Now entering his third year, the Buccaneers had high hopes for him.

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Rookie coach Raheem Morris singled out the 6-foot-5, 258-pound defensive end on the opening day of training camp, saying Adams would be considered a “bust” if he didn’t post double-digit sacks this season.

Through five games this season, Adams had just one sack for Tampa Bay. It is unclear whether he’ll play Sunday night in Atlanta, but he’ll have double-digit games to improve that sack total.

Aside from trading for a Top 10 draft pick, the other point that makes this a significant trade is that NFL teams rarely make deals in the middle of a season. Unlike the Major League Baseball trade deadline — where quite a few teams make it a point of emphasis to be buyers or sellers — there isn’t much action around the NFL’s deadline, and it often comes and goes without being noticed.

One question to be answered in the wake of this deal is what the Bears will do with Adewale Ogunleye at season’s end. Ogunleye, 32, is off to the best start in his career and is on pace to break his 15 sack total in 2003. But he’ll become a free agent this off-season and the Adams acquisition could signal Ogunleye’s ticket out of town. Then again, Mark Anderson — who, in all fairness is having a more productive year under the tutelage of Rod Marinelli than he had in his previous two seasons — could be on the hot seat as well if he doesn’t continue to develop as hoped.

One thing that can’t be argued, though, is that the Bears saw a chance at making their team better and jumped on the opportunity. Mired in a tight division race with a dominant Minnesota Vikings team, the Bears could use all the help they can get.

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