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How Did The Chicago Bears Do In The NFL Draft and Free Agency For 2007

Aug 18, 2007
The NFL opening game is still over two months away, but if you are an avid fan, no doubt you are chomping at the bit. How did the Chicago Bears do in Free Agency? How about the draft? What about other off season issues? Did they do enough to get back to the Super Bowl and win it this time? How will Rex do this year?

Other Off Season Issues

Let's start with other off season issues. The off season for the Bears was not a pretty picture. It started before the off season even began. In December of 2006, police found several guns and other weapons equipment in Tank Johnson's Gurnee, Illinois house.

The following evening, Johnson's friend, William Posey, was murdered while defending Johnson at a nightclub. On March 15, 2007, a judge in Skokie, Illinois sentenced Johnson to 120 days in jail and fined him $2,500 dollars. On May 13, 2007, he was released from jail for good behavior. Soon after, Johnson was suspended for several games for the 2007 season.

For most people, this should have been a message to be on your best behavior. But not for Tank, as on early Friday, June 22nd, 2007, Johnson was pulled over for doing 40 in a 25 mph zone. The officer made observations that led him to believe Johnson was impaired. Sgt. Andrew Duncan, a police spokesperson, said Johnson was arrested for "DUI Impaired to the Slightest Degree" but was released without being booked or charged.

For the Bears, that was enough. In essence, Johnson was fired from his job. In NFL terms, he was released/waived. FM Jerry Angelo said in a statement, "We are upset and embarrassed by Tank's actions last week. He compromised the credibility of our organization. We made it clear to him that he had no room for error."

The situation with Lance Briggs continues to escalate. Shortly after the Bears lost the Super Bowl, the Bears slapped the franchise tag on Briggs, essentially locking him up for another year. The price of the tag is worth over $7 million.

Apparently Briggs did not like that horrible treatment and voiced his disgust over the deplorable situation on The Mike North Morning Show claiming he no longer wants to play with the Bears. Briggs then reiterated this statement on FoxSports. The Bears of course have stated that they plan to keep him for 2007 season. As expected, Briggs was a no-show for mini-camp. Despite that fact, the Bears still believe Briggs will come around. Lovie Smith said, "I'm going to rely on history a little bit. History tells me guys occasionally miss mini-camp, they're sometimes late to training camp, some maybe miss training camp. History tells me players don't miss an entire football season." Smith may be right.

Regardless of how one feels, giving up $7 million, or just a bit over $400,000 per game would be painful to do just to prove a point. Briggs will no doubt miss training camp and show up at the last minute to prove his point but not miss a paycheck.

NFL 2007 Draft

The defense was the cornerstone of the Bears run to the Super Bowl. So with that in mind, the first pick they had in the draft, the Bears went on the offensive side of the ball and selected Greg Olsen, a Tight end out of Miami. The remaining picks were spread fairly evenly between offense and defense.

Free Agency Losses

The Bears defense was solid for 2006, and could be just as good in 2007. The Bears suffered no major losses via Free Agency but as mentioned above, they have parted ways with Tank Johnson. While there were no other major losses, the Bears did lose their defensive coordinator Ron Rivera, who has since been replaced by assistant head coach/linebackers coach Bob Babich. Incredibly, the Bears and Rivera could not agree on a contract and Rivera ended up taking a job with the Chargers as a linebackers coach.

Why does a coordinator with a highly rated defense leave a team that went to the Super Bowl to take a job as a linebackers coach with another team?

Free Agency Gains

The Bears also were quite in Free Agency acquisitions. Other than slapping the Franchise Tag on Briggs, the Bears were relatively quiet. Of note though, the Bears did extent the contract of Lovie Smith. That as a no brainer as he took on team that was in shambles and took them to the Super Bowl.

Early Prediction

The Bears will once again be a good team but will not sneak up on people like they did last year. But will they be good enough to reach the Super Bowl? Yes, they could, but in this land of NFL parity and surprise teams, all the distractions they Bears have suffered over the last few months, somebody else will knock the Bears down and Super Bowl trips will once again become a distant memory.
About the Author
Keith Scott writes articles for fun. Talk Sports and football now at his free sports based forum. Provide your thoughts about your despised rival up north or the upcoming season or about Tank.
He also writes Coin Collecting Articles for fun.
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