Hub Arkush at chicagofootball.com gives his view on the Bears progress in free agency to date:
“[Antrel] Rolle is old by NFL standards, there’s no other way to spin it. But at 26 and 28, respectively, [Pernell] McPhee and [Eddie] Royal fill screaming needs in the Bears starting lineup and are more than likely to still be in their primes if the Bears can contend in 2016 or 2017.
“[Ray] McDonald is 30 but has been extremely durable, and there is no reason short of additional off the field concerns that he can’t stay in his prime for two, three or four years. Jarvis Jenkins will be 27 in April, Mason Foster just turned 26 and Vladimir Ducasse is 27.
“Jenkins and Ducasse are former second-round picks and McDonald and Foster were threes, and all but Ducasse are certain starters or important rotation players on Day 1.
“With all four players on one-year deals with little or no guaranteed money, the Bears have taken no risk while adding two extra second-round picks and two extra third-round choices.”
I’m open to the idea that the Bears got younger with ascending players… potentially ascending players. But to state that the Bears added “two extra second-round picks and two extra third-round choices”? I can’t buy that.
The Bears added two second-round picks and two third-round choices who didn’t work out. If they had, they would have gotten paid instead of taking one-year minimum benefit prove it deals. They are all four potential starters – at this point three are probable starters. But also at this point mediocre starters overall. You could potentially include Royal, McPhee and Rolle in that as well. The Bears are counting on each being better than he was last year.
The hope is, of course, that the Bears can develop or otherwise use the talent that made these players second and third rounders better than their previous teams. Maybe they can. But I’d say that it’s more likely that out of Jenkins, Foster, and Ducasse you might have one that you’ll want to keep at the end of the season. That’s a more realistic result of the Bears progress in free agency to date.