NFC North: Bobby DePaul
Director of pro scouting Bobby DePaul was fired in February, and rumors have circulated for months that former Seattle general manager Tim Ruskell would join the front office in some capacity. General manager Jerry Angelo didn’t deny that some changes are on the horizon when asked last week.
"I said we're going to do some restructuring," Angelo said. “I said that at the end of the season. I have some thoughts, some scenarios in mind, but my focus has been ... free agency ... and the draft. If and when we have something to announce, we'll announce it."
The hiring and firing period for most NFL personnel departments is in May, after the draft and the majority of the free-agent signing period. Because of the year-round preparation required to navigate those events, most teams with established front offices prefer continuity during that time. Even some new general managers retain their inherited staff until May for that reason.
All of which suggests the Bears reached an unexpected end with DePaul, whose primary job was to evaluate existing NFL players for possible trades and free-agent acquisitions. Although the upcoming uncapped offseason is likely to put a damper on free-agent movement, the Bears will need to be active participants because of their lack of high draft choices.
Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune offers suggestions for possible replacements, including former Seattle president Tim Ruskell.
Continuing around the NFC North:
- Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune looks at the Bears' options on the free-agent market, noting their biggest need at safety.
- Minnesota can retain defensive end Ray Edwards, a restricted free agent, with a tender offer of $3.2 million, notes Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune. But that total wouldn't satisfy Edwards, who noted that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell makes $9 million. Edwards: "I don't see him out there getting hit or nothing like that. The commissioner makes $9 million, so you tell me where the balance is? He doesn't put his life on the line, he pushes a pen."
- Detroit needs help on the offensive line but it will have few options in free agency, writes John Niyo of the Detroit News.
- Green Bay defensive lineman Johnny Jolly has a pretrial hearing scheduled for Thursday on a long-running felony drug charge in Houston, according to the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
During our SportsNation chat Monday, Jeff of Wayne, N.J., asked:
Now that the Bears have [Jay] Cutler do they have any plans of getting someone he can throw the ball to? Everyone makes fun of them being without a decent QB for years but besides an aging [Muhsin] Muhammad they haven't done anything at WR either...
Bears fans waiting for their team to make a secondary run on the free agent market might not want to get their hopes up. In his regular Q&A with the team's Web site, general manager Jerry Angelo didn't sound too enthused about the idea.
Angelo: "I wouldn't rule it out totally. [Director of Pro Personnel] Bobby DePaul and his staff, Kevin Turks and Dennard Wilson, are always looking for veteran players at all positions that can upgrade us or create better competition. Bobby and his staff have done a great job of doing this over the years."
We've all seen how important words like "totally" can be. (See: "At this time.") But there are no indications the Bears are eager to start adding veterans to their roster. One who has almost no chance is defensive end Simeon Rice, who hasn't played since 2007 but has suggested he would like to play for new Bears defensive line coach Rod Marinelli.
Angelo: "At this point I doubt we'd be pursuing Simeon as an alternative. He was a great player and I really respect what he did for Tampa. I thought he was the missing link that put them over the top during their Super Bowl year."