Free Agency: Is Shea McClellin done with Bears?
With NFL free agency only a month away, the Bears have a lot of decisions awaiting them. Who will they attempt to re-sign? Who will they target on the open market? Two of the biggest names on their own roster that will explore the open waters unless the Bears act on them are running back Matt Forte and wide receiver Alshon Jeffery.
But what about former first-round pick, Shea McClellin? ESPN’s Jeff Dickerson poses the question: Are the Bears ready to cut ties with the underperforming choice of former general manager Phil Emery?
McClellin was a pass-rushing specialist out of Boise State when he was selected 19th overall in the 2012 draft. The Bears — like most teams, frankly — were desperate for pass rushing help and decided to convert McClellin to defensive end. McClellin was clearly overwhelmed and undersized at the position and could not cut the mustard there. The team moved him to outside linebacker under former head coach Marc Trestman and then again to the inside under new coach John Fox — both places he struggled to make plays.
The team thought highly enough of McClellin to make him the play caller of the defense, but calling plays and aligning the defense is only part of the job. Being a cornerstone in the middle is a much bigger task, that which McClellin failed to achieve.
“I thought he did well in making that adjustment [to the inside],” general manager Ryan Pace said. “There are some positive things about him and I think you have to take into account he’s still growing at that position.”
That doesn’t sound like a man who is ready to cut ties with McClellin. Then again, it could just be a smoke screen.
Veteran backup quarterback Brian Hoyer could end up with the Chicago Bears, at least one source speculates.
CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora tweeted on Wednesday that the former Houston Texans quarterback is slated to visit the Denver Broncos this week, but if he does not sign with Denver, La Canfora expects the Bears to sign him.
In addition to playing for the Texans, Hoyer has spent time with the Cleveland Browns, Arizona Cardinals, Pittsburgh Steelers, and the New England Patriots, who signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2009.
Hoyer, 30, has 26 career starts while compiling 7,163 passing yards, 38 touchdowns and 26 interceptions.
The Bears liked what they saw in Jay Cutler last year in his first season under head coach John Fox, but that doesn’t mean they’re not going to look to bolster the quarterback position in the upcoming NFL draft.
NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reports that the Bears will meet with Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook.
Cook is predicted by multiple media outlets to be selected in the second round. Whether or not that’s too early for the Bears to take a shot at Cutler’s replacement will remain a hot debate.
Could the Bears select a wide receiver in the first round of the draft for the second straight year?
The idea doesn’t seem likely given the needs at other positions, but that didn’t stop the Bears from bringing in draft prospect Corey Coleman, according to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport.