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Bears Tue Sep 29 2015
One could spend hours dissecting mistake after mistake that Phil Emery made as general manager of the Bears. It would be days had he been around as long as Jerry Angelo was, but in just three years, Emery took a middling team on the brink of the playoffs and slammed the organization straight into the septic tank.
The Bears are the worst team in the NFL because of multiple, consecutive, failed drafts. Nearly a decade's worth of players drafted with such high expectations are either on another team or gone from football completely. Ryan Pace knew this coming in, and he's doing whatever he possibly can to turn the page.
Yesterday afternoon, the Bears dealt free agent bust Jared Allen and second-round flop Jon Bostic, to Carolina and New England respectively, for a pair of sixth-round picks. Both are 4-3 players trying to fake it in a 3-4 scheme (or, if you're Bostic, just trying to actually participate in a football game), and the Bears should be thrilled to get anything for them.
For Carolina, they're hoping that a return to an ultra-aggressive four linemen scheme can revitalize the aging Allen. He goes from being counted on as a team leader to just needing to be the seventh or eighth best player on their defense -- a perfect transition and situation for him to succeed. Don't be surprised if he becomes a passing down ace on a team where he doesn't need to play all the time. They'll owe him almost no money this season, and can cut him with no financial repercussions at any time.
The Patriots getting Bostic on the field would constitute a success for them. He's been hurt throughout all of 2015 (the year, not just the football season), and it's been a theme of his professional career. When he has made it onto the field, he's played out of position at middle linebacker, and played poorly at his more natural Will linebacker spot by consistently filling the wrong gaps and biting on all play action fakes. Maybe all he needs is the right coaching to figure things out, but it's far safer to bet that doesn't happen.
It seems like Pace is now on a mission to rid his team of players who don't fit into future plans. It's smart of him to do as much in year one as he can, because new GMs usually have carte blanche to do just about anything. Expectations for 2015 were basically knee high after the Kevin White injury, and it would be a major surprise to exceed them after a laughable start to the season.
The next best bet to go is Willie Young, another 2014 free agent darling who was supposed to make the Bears' pass rush dangerous last season. Young tore his Achilles tendon toward the end of the season, but made a full recovery in time to make the team as an attempted outside linebacker convert. It hasn't taken, and he was a healthy scratch against Seattle. He might fetch a similar price as Allen for a defensive end-needy 4-3 team looking for some speed on the edge.
Another name that is likely to spring up right away in trade rumors is Matt Forte. He's in the final year of his deal, and will turn 30 at year's end. Despite the near universally accepted concept that you don't sign running backs whose age begins with a three, Forte remains one of the most dangerous and versatile backs in the league. He's able to avoid most head-on collisions because of his underrated shiftiness, and catches the ball out of the backfield better than anyone in football.
Moving Forte would shock most Bears fans, but the new regime has prepared for this day by drafting Jeremy Langford and the signing of Jacquizz Rodgers. If they're able to get value in return, they won't think twice about dealing one of the best running backs of the last decade. A top-flight running back on a largely talent-less team is an unnecessary luxury. This team needs lottery tickets on draft day and as much ammunition to add or trade up to get players they're targeting as they can get.
When the phone rings at Halas Hall, everyone is now available.