With free agency and the draft in the rearview mirror and training camp just a couple months away, we assess the Chicago Bears' offseason moves.
Best move: Bringing aboard experienced veteran coaches on defense. Chicago was mostly a veteran group on defense in 2013, with the majority knowing the system so well they needed little guidance. When injuries hit, several young players were forced to play significant minutes, and some of the coaches on the staff at that time weren't capable of properly teaching the inexperienced players. With the roster currently featuring so many young players on defense, it was important to hire experienced teachers/coaches, which is what Chicago got in Paul Pasqualoni, Reggie Herring and Clint Hurtt, who all have extensive backgrounds in multiple schemes.
Riskiest move: Because of the money spent to re-sign some of their own and the resources poured into rebuilding the front four, the Bears skimped a little in free agency at the safety position, adding veterans Ryan Mundy, M.D. Jennings and Danny McCray. The club added Brock Vereen in the draft, but at this point it doesn't appear the Bears have done enough to address a position that was arguably the club's weakest in 2013. We've seen what Chris Conte can do, but he's coming off shoulder surgery. Perhaps it's just the unknown factor regarding the new additions at the position that give reason for concern.
Most surprising move: Letting defensive tackle Henry Melton walk. As free agency approached, the Bears basically told Melton's reps to find a deal and then get back to them. But instead of doing that, Melton bolted for the Dallas Cowboys. As one of the team's draft picks from 2009, Melton was a homegrown talent, cultivated in Chicago's program. It's important to keep those types of players, and based on what he received from the Cowboys, money wasn't a concern. By letting Melton go, the Bears certainly didn't get better on the interior of the defensive line.
Worth watching: The battle between Jordan Palmer, Jerrod Johnson and rookie David Fales for the No. 2 quarterback spot behind starter Jay Cutler. Let's not forget that Cutler hasn't played an entire 16-game season without missing time because of injuries since 2009. So there's a good chance the No. 2 quarterback will have to play at some point in the 2014 season. Palmer is the favorite to win the job, but he hasn't played in a regular-season game since 2010 and he has thrown a total of 15 passes in live action throughout his five-year career.