It had to be difficult for Bears head coach John Fox to watch two of his former teams compete for the Super Bowl 50 championship on Sunday. Fox coached the Carolina Panthers from 2002-2010 and the Denver Broncos from 2011-2014. He left Denver and immediately signed with the Bears last offseason. The Broncos victory had to be bittersweet for the man, who basically teed up that team for current coach Gary Kubiak to take the home run swing.
Now that the 2015 season is over, free agency is a month away and the Bears are examining what they need to do to get better for next season. One way to do that is to study what made other teams successful and try to emulate that.
Given how dominant the Broncos defense was this season — particularly in the AFC Championship against Tom Brady and the Patriots and in the Super Bowl against MVP Cam Newton and the Panthers — it seems a natural fit for Fox and general manager Ryan Pace to set their sights on the Broncos.
Super Bowl 50 MVP Von Miller is not going anywhere. I know Bears fans had a lot of fantasies about him suiting up in a different shade of navy and orange next fall, but if he does not agree to a long-term deal with the Broncos, he’s at least going to get the franchise tag.
Two other players worth monitoring are defensive end Malik Jackson and inside linebacker Danny Trevathan, both of whom had important roles on the Broncos defense.
Broncos general manager John Elway has stated that he intends to try to re-sign the two players. “We want to get Danny and Malik done. We want to try and keep the group together,” Elway told the Denver Post.
But just because Elway wants them to stay, that doesn’t necessarily mean he will be able to afford them.
Jackson, who scored the first touchdown of Super Bowl 50 when he recovered a Newton fumble in the end zone, was up front about his desire to remain a Bronco, but that he won’t necessarily take a home team discount.
“I love it here man. I think I’m accustomed to living here,” Jackson said on PFT Live, part of ProFootballTalk.com. “You know it’s one thing about this thing is it’s a business you know it doesn’t matter what you like or where you like it. It’s where you can feed your family and make enough money to feed your family.”
If the Bears — who have a lot of cap money to work with this offseason — throw enough money in Jackson’s direction, it could be enough to entice him to jump ship.
Whether or not the Bears can land one of the Broncos’ free agents may be a question mark, but you can bet the Bears will at least try to model their defense after the NFL’s top unit in 2015, and acquire pieces in the mold of Denver’s playmakers.