Armchair GM: Does the Bears Secondary Come First? - NBC Chicago
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Armchair GM: Does the Bears Secondary Come First?



    Say you're Jerry Angelo. You watched the Bears turn into contenders over the course of the season, but you know they aren't quite there, and it's your job to add the missing pieces. What do you do first? Offensive line? Receivers? Perhaps the secondary?

    The Bears secondary was overshadowed on defense by the line and linebackers, who combined for three Pro Bowlers. The secondary's constant rotation of players meant that a single star didn't emerge. Still, the Bears had several role players who did their job well.

    One of those underrated players was Danieal Manning, and as of right now, signs don't point to him staying in Chicago. Manning reportedly turned down a contract extension during the season, and is now in a gray area of free agency, waiting to see that if the lockout happens and what it will mean to his free agency. If he leaves, the Bears will lose a consistent playmaker and reliable return man who supplemented Devin Hester on special teams.

    Chris Harris was rock solid at free safety this season, so it's puzzling that rumors popped up on Twitter that the Bears were thinking of moving Charles Tillman to FS. Harris led the team with five interceptions, plus had 70 tackles and seven pass deflections, so if the Bears are addressing a need, free safety isn't it.

    Tillman is contracted to the Bears through 2013, but his ever-present injury problems means that the Bears need a reliable back-up. That logic may be exactly what the Bears use to hold on to Corey Graham, the special teams star who is a free agent and who can be a starter on defense for other NFL teams, and it can be a motivator for the young and talented D.J. Moore.

    Despite Tillman and Harris' presence, the Bears will need to bring in a safety to fill in for Manning. Several big name cornerbacks will be on the market this off-season, but it's fairly thin at safety. Chicago has two options in-house: Major Wright and Craig Steltz. Wright showed flashes of brilliance during the season but battled injuries and didn't have a change to show what he could do with a full season.

    Taking all of that into account, what would you do with the Bears secondary? Build up through the draft, develop in-house or drop some cash on a big name free agent?