Wondering about a player, a past game or another issue involving the Bears? Senior writer Larry Mayer answers a variety of email questions from fans on ChicagoBears.com.
Instead of risking the third overall pick in the draft on a quarterback, I'd prefer to see the Bears trade their third-round pick to the Bengals for A.J. McCarron and fill holes at defensive end and defensive back in the first two rounds of the draft. What are your thoughts?
I think it all boils down to the Bears identifying their quarterback of the future. Is it a veteran who may be available in a trade like the Patriots' Jimmy Garoppolo or the Bengals' A.J. McCarron? Or is it a prospect who will be available in the draft? Once that determination is made, the Bears need to do whatever is necessary to acquire that player. Simply put, that is the single most important decision that general manager Ryan Pace will face this offseason and it also will likely determine how successful the Bears are for years to come. McCarron, by the way, has appeared in eight games with three starts the past two seasons for Cincinnati, completing 79 of 119 passes for 854 yards with six touchdowns, two interceptions and a 97.1 passer rating.
How many of their own free agents did the Bears re-sign last year?
The Bears re-signed 13 of their 23 free agents a year ago, including receiver Alshon Jeffery, who played under the franchise tag. The others who returned were outside linebacker Sam Acho; tight ends Zach Miller and Rob Housler; receivers Marc Mariani, Deonte Thompson and Joshua Bellamy; cornerbacks Tracy Porter and Sherrick McManis; safety Chris Prosinski; running back Jacquizz Rodgers; defensive lineman Mitch Unrein and guard Nick Becton. Seven signed with other teams: Guards Vladimir Ducasse (Ravens) and Patrick Omameh (Jaguars); running back Matt Forte (Jets); defensive lineman Jarvis Jenkins (Jets); linebacker Shea McClellin (Patriots); cornerback Alan Ball (Cardinals) and linebacker LaRoy Reynolds (Falcons). Three free agents did not play in the NFL this past season: Safeties Ryan Mundy and Sherrod Martin and center Will Montgomery.
If the Bears lose Alshon Jeffery, will they get a compensatory pick?
Not necessarily. Compensatory draft picks are awarded based on a formula that assigns a numerical value to every free agent in accordance with his compensation, play time and postseason honors with his new team. Teams that lost more or better free agents than they acquired the previous year are eligible to receive compensatory picks. So if Jeffery signs elsewhere and doesn't have a Pro Bowl-caliber season or the Bears sign a handful of free agents who perform well, they won't receive any compensatory picks next year.