The Chicago Bears have a boatload of potential free agents to re-sign (or not) from last year’s roster, and the most expensive of the lot could be Henry Melton. The 26-year-old defensive tackle is coming off his first Pro Bowl appearance just as his rookie contract expires.
As reported by Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune (via Twitter), the Bears appear to be willing to sink huge amounts of cash into keeping Melton on the roster. Biggs says that, unless a long-term contract is reached, the Bears are expected to put the franchise tag on the youngster…a move that’s expected to cost in the neighborhood of $8 million next season.
The Bears aren’t long on cap room in the best of scenarios, so committing that kind of money to one of their many skilled defensive linemen isn’t a trivial decision. Nevertheless, Chicago can ill afford to make any other move where Melton is concerned.
The Chicago Bears face a host of decisions about re-signing potential free agents this offseason, none bigger than the question of what to do about Brian Urlacher. The career Bear and eight-time Pro Bowler will turn 35 in May, and a series of injuries have raised serious questions about how much he has left in the tank.
Unlike many aging stars, though, Urlacher appears to recognize that he’s no longer the player who recorded 93 tackles and three interceptions in his last All-Pro season in 2006. As reported by the Chicago Tribune, Urlacher acknowledged in a radio interview “when you look at my age and everything, it’s going to be hard not to give [the Bears] a discount. I’m not going to make what I was making in the past.”
Urlacher also commented “Chicago is my home…So I want to be there and hopefully we can work something out.”
New Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman has had success on every level, but his two Grey Cups in five seasons with the Montreal Alouettes have been his most public success. A “quarterback guru” who helped Bernie Kosar succeed in college and the pros, and worked with Tim Tebow in the run-up to the 2010 NFL Draft, Trestman should look to these coaches (and one executive) who successfully ran clubs in the United States and Canada.Marv Levy - Trestman’s CFL career perhaps mirrors former Buffalo Bills coach Marv Levy’s the most. Like Trestman, Levy coached the Montreal Alouettes to two Grey Cup wins in five seasons before heading to the NFL. However, Levy’s success in America did not happen overnight; Marv only had one winning season with the Kansas City Chiefs from 1978 to 1982. After one season with the USFL’s Chicago Blitz in 1984, Levy rebuilt the Buffalo Bills around fellow USFL-er Jim Kelly. Levy and Kelly both led one of the most consistently successful teams in NFL history, if one that always fell short of the main prize.
While Marc Trestman’s success in the Canadian Football League may help him succeed with the Chicago Bears, not every head coach can win in both American and Canadian pro football. Here are five head coaches who should’ve just stayed in one country:Jerry Williams - A longtime assistant with the Philadelphia Eagles and the father of the nickel defense, Williams had success with the Calgary Stampeders before new Eagles owner Leonard Tose hired Jerry in 1969. As indicative of the Eagles of that era, he went 7-22-2 in two seasons, but then went to Hamilton, where he led the Tiger-Cats to a Grey Cup win in 1972.Hugh Campbell - Sometimes a coach was only meant to be successful with one team. In Hugh Campbell’s case, winning ten championships in the CFL as a player, coach and executive more than make up for his lack of success in America. In six seasons coaching the Edmonton Eskimos in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, Campbell made six consecutive Grey Cup finals, winning five in a row with Warren Moon sharing QB duties with Tom Wilkinson.
When the Chicago Bears fired Lovie Smith in the aftermath of another playoff-free season, they left little doubt that they would be moving in a different direction after nine years of Smith’s defense-first philosophy. Just how different wasn’t certain until Tuesday.
As reported by the Chicago Tribune, the Bears have hired Marc Trestman as their new head coach. The well-traveled Trestman has been an assistant at both the college and NFL levels, but his most recent job has been turning the Montreal Alouettes into one of the Canadian Football League’s powerhouses.
In five seasons in Montreal, Trestman won a pair of Grey Cups (the Canadian analogue to the Super Bowl), so he knows something about thriving under postseason pressure. More importantly, though, his time in the offense-dominated CFL can only be good news for his hopes of turning around the Bears’ underachieving offense.