It may be a bit of a non-story but with the Bears spending so much in free agency last year, it was fair to wonder if they would avoid it this year. That won’t be the case. Jerry Angelo as related by Neil Hayes at the Chicago Sun-Times:
“We’ll have a plan for free agency, and I’m sure we’ll be able to get a few players in free agency.”
Angleo calls it “business as usual” but the its unlikely to be that. The time table may stay the same but that’s unlikely with the collective bargaining agreement unsettled.
The draft will take place as usual but no free agents can be signed until the new collective bargaining agreement is in place. That reverses the usual order for Angelo, who likes to strike fast in free agency to fill as many holes as possible. That leaves him free to draft the best player available in most cases.
Angelo may just assume that he’ll be able to do that this year as well. But it leaves him without leverage when it comes to negotiating with free agents who will see a clear need that wasn’t filled in the draft.
In any case drafting offensive linemen will undoubtedly be at the top of his list. But it will be interesting to see if he changes his approach overall, drafting with a bit more of an eye towards the needs of the team than usual.