The frenzy of the NFL free agency period has begun. The 32 teams throughout the league will be spending millions upon millions of dollars to lure players, in hopes that these players are the missing pieces to the Super Bowl puzzle. The first 24 hours of free agency are always an exciting and frenzied time, with players signing multi-year, multi-million dollar contracts, as well as players becoming “cap casualties” or, having a high salary that is counting against a team’s cap number.
This year was no exception with the high profile players who were under contract with their respective teams becoming “cap causalities”. Most notably Demarcus Ware of the Dallas Cowboys, and Julius Peppers of the Chicago Bears, two players who will more than likely find themselves in Canton one day. In fact, in this free agency period, the three active sack leaders are all looking for new teams, with Idaho State’s own Jared Allen being the third defensive player looking for a new team as well.
The moves the Bears have made today are none of any real surprise. The move to terminate the contract for Peppers was one that was to be expected, and with a cap number of $18 million, was one that needed to be made. With the Bears expecting last years starting Free Safety, Major Wright to leave via free agency, the club quickly signed veteran Free Safety Ryan Mundy. The 6-1, 215-pounder has appeared in 80 games with 14 starts over five seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers (2009-12) and New York Giants (2013), registering 143 tackles, two interceptions, 10 passes defensed, three fumble recoveries, five tackles-for-loss and one sack (ChicagoBears.com)
The team also got younger on the defensive line with the addition of Lamarr Houston from the Oakland Raiders, who is thought by many to be the best Defensive End available after Michael Bennett re-signed with the Seattle Seahawks. Houston, a 6-3, 302-pounder appeared in all 64 games with 60 starts over the last four seasons with the Oakland Raiders, recording 226 tackles, 16 sacks, one interception, five passes defensed, 37 tackles-for-loss, four forced fumbles and six fumble recoveries (ChicagoBears.com).
The Bears also re-signed Middle Linebacker D.J. Williams, who was the starting MLB but was lost for the season in week 6 to a torn pectoral muscle.
With former Corner Back Charles “Peanut” Tillman scheduled to visit the Tampa Bay Bucs on Wednesday the Bears still have some holes to fill on what was one of the worst defenses in the league last season.
GM Phil Emery has shown that he is willing to be aggressive in pursuing free agents on day one, and once again he did not disappoint.