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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Wrongs Righted- Bears Acquire Chris Harris for Jamar Williams

Since the start of the Lovie Smith administration, the Bears have made a habit of acquiring a plethora of safeties who aren't worth a damn. The only one that did pan out was Chris Harris, whom they foolishly traded to the Carolina Panthers in order to clear the way for Adam Archuleta and Danieal Manning. That worked out fabulously, if I remember. The Bears, having big questions at both safety positions, decided to fix their mistake and shipped Jamar Williams, who played a passable linebacker after injuries to Urlacher, Tinoisamoa, and Briggs, to the Panthers in order to reacquire the prodigal safety.

This is probably the best possible move the Bears could have made at safety this offseason. They certainly couldn't afford the salary demands of someone like Antrelle Rolle, but they also didn't want to gamble that an aging veteran like Darren Sharper could repeat his miraculous 2009 season. Harris gives them a starter at strong safety who is a great run stopper and respectable against the pass at a low cost and for several more years. This also allows Danieal Manning, Major Wright, Al Afalava, and Kevin Payne (although it appears Kevin Payne may already be the odd man out) to compete in order to put the best possible starter at free safety (I guess Craig Steltz and Josh Bullocks could also compete for those spots, but, come on. You're smarter than that).

The acquisition of Julius Peppers should improve the pass rush, while the return of a (hopefully) healthy Brian Urlacher and Pisa Tinoisamoa should upgrade the linebacking corps. With Harris holding down strong safety, and Charles Tillman and Zack Bowman (who led the team in interceptions and improved big time as the season went on) manning the corners, this leaves the free safety and nickel positions as the only big question marks on what should be a much improved defense.

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