As we dig further into positions of need for the Chicago Bears in free agency, we come to a position that has been a bit of an anomaly over the last several years: safety.
Mind you, it has not been for a lack of trying. The Bears tend to draft a safety in every year of the draft but they have never really panned out and any attempt at signing free agents have had mixed results at best. This should be the year that gets rectified.
Here are some of the best available options for the Bears come Tuesday.
Devin McCourty (Patriots)
He will be the most sought after free agent safety in 2015. And for good reason. He is a converted cornerback with great coverage skills and is not afraid to tackle. This is exactly the type of leader the Bears need to take over the back-end of the defense. There will be lots of competition for him.
Da’norris Searcy (Bills)
He came on very strong last season for the Bills when slotted to replace the departing Jairus Byrd. He is not as great in coverage as McCourty, but can hold his own. He makes up for it with his willingness and ability to tackle. Searcy is also great roaming the line of scrimmage when needed.
Rahim Moore (Broncos)
The obvious connection is his experience with John Fox.
Moore is a very solid player and has improved every year he’s been in the league. Despite a solid 2014, he has had some trouble with tackling in the past as he’s always going for the big hit. With the right coaching, that part of Moore’s game can certainly be fixed. He has very strong coverage skills and has no trouble going up for the ball.
Kendrick Lewis (Texans)
I have him as my sleeper. His name is not being thrown around much and that could be good for the Bears. Lewis is a big safety at 6-foot, a hard-hitter, good in open space and doesn’t have any problems getting the defense to line up. Lots of upside with him.
Tyvon Branch (Raiders – released)
He is a great safety when healthy, but sadly that has not been too often. Branch is a tackling machine and has the speed to perform in coverage. He could be the perfect fit for the Bears if he can just put together a healthy season.
If the Bears are not able to land one of the top 5 players mentioned, going into the next tier of free agents is likely. They may not necessarily be second level, but injury concerns could factor into the equation. Keep your eyes out for names such as Sergio Brown (Colts), Louis Delmas (Dolphins), Nate Allen (Eagles) or Stevie Brown (Giants). They would all be upgrades to the existing roster.
There are two other names to look out for as well: Will Hill (Ravens) and Tashaun Gipson (Browns). The only issue is they are restricted free agents, so we could not sign them outright unless their teams fail to match an offer. They still could be in play though if Ryan Pace thinks they can help the Bears better than the aforementioned.