Bears president Ted Phillips recently claimed in an interview that the Bears would not be going “hog wild” in free agency despite the inevitable uncapped year that will officially begin in March. He maintained that the Bears will stick to the plan that they’ve followed for years which is to build their team through the draft and use free agency as a supplemental source to fill holes on their roster.
After hearing such a claim and knowing the Bears’ history of courting players, I thought there’d be a zero percent chance the Bears would target free agent defensive end Julius Peppers, who is not expected to be franchise tagged by the Carolina Panthers.
Maybe pigs are flying or hell is starting to freeze over.
Jason La Canfora of NFL.com has reported that Peppers is one of the Bears’ top targets and that they “are gearing up for a major run” at him. La Canfora also said that Packers free agent defensive end Aaron Kampman is also an option.
Kampman is the guy I’ve been wanting since the middle of last season because I think if they can get him, they can also address some other positions in free agency. But I wouldn’t turn away from Peppers if the Bears signed him.
It’s obvious the Bears are intent on upgrading the end position and improving a pass rush that is imperative to the success of Lovie Smith’s defense. It doesn’t appear that Adewale Ogunleye will be back unless the Bears swing and miss on the other two in free agency. The Bears clearly saw a need to upgrade the position when they acquired Gaines Adams in a trade early last season. With his tragic passing and Ogunleye and Mark Anderson hitting the free agent market, the Bears look like they’re ready to be aggressive.
If the Bears do acquire Peppers or Kampman, it will instantly upgrade their defense. A good pass-rushing end helps the rest of the defensive line and pressure from the front four will help the secondary by cutting down the amount of time they have to stick with receivers. A good pass rush will also lead to more turnovers and help improve the offense.
One big signing like this can’t fix all, but it certainly can improve the whole outlook.