Emery again gets aggressive at start of free agency

March 12th, 2014 - 9:41 am

The jury is still out on the kind of general manager Phil Emery is or will be, but if I were in the room, he’d get a vote of confidence from me. If nothing else, he has shown he can recognize problems and work toward addressing them.

For the third straight year as general manager of the Bears, Emery has made some kind of splash with the intent of aggressively fixing the team’s needs.

In the spring of 2012, the Bears fixed their long-standing need of a No. 1 wide receiver by trading for Brandon Marshall. Last year, Emery recognized that the Jay Cutler to Marshall combo wouldn’t completely work if Cutler were always throwing from his back, so the Bears landed offensive tackle Jermon Bushrod and guard Matt Slauson and got Cutler another weapon in tight end Martellus Bennett.

This year, Emery recognized problems on the defense and went hard after targets to improve that side of the ball. After unsuccessfully attempting to lure Bennett’s brother, Michael, from Seattle, the Bears signed defensive lineman Lamarr Houston from the Raiders. They also agreed to terms with safety Ryan Mundy, formerly of the Giants.

While neither player is a premier presence at his position, both are upgrades and will help to stabilize that side of the ball.

But, perhaps the biggest moves Emery has made in the past few days was the release of Michael Bush and Julius Peppers in order to free up cap space. While I enjoyed Peppers’ short tenure with the Bears, his production for what he was being paid just wasn’t worth it.

Look for the Bears to add a few more pieces to the puzzle via free agency before going into the draft with a defense-heavy focus.