Chat with Michael Wright
Welcome to ESPNChicago.com! On Thursday, our Chicago Bears reporter Michael Wright stops by to chat about the team's offseason.
Wright joined ESPNChicago in April 2010 after spending the previous four seasons covering the Jaguars. He also covered the Redskins for two seasons. A native Texan, Wright was a four-year football letterman at West Texas A&M University. He covers the Bears for both ESPNChicago.com and Chicago's ESPN Radio 1000.
Send your questions now and join Wright Thursday at noon CT/1 p.m. ET!
Michael (1:01 PM)
Hello folks. It's already been a busy morning. But there's no way we'd miss chatting with you guys, as I'm sure you've got a ton of questions. Let's get it.
What are the chances Bears and Forte get a deal done? How many years do you think they will give him if they do?
Michael (1:03 PM)
Mark, right now it doesn't look good. The last deal the Bears put on the table was for five years, which would have been fine had the compensation been up to par. So I'm unsure of how a new GM will handle negotiations when it's time. But my guess is the Bears will look to get a three to five year deal done. More than likely, the Bears will wind up franchising Forte.
Brad W. (Glenview)
Who do you think should be taken with the 19th pick?Would you trade a 2nd/3rd or two 3rd round draft picks for Brandon Marshall?
Michael (1:07 PM)
Brad, I'm the wrong guy to talk to about trading away picks. Unless the guy is a Randy Moss in his prime or something like that, I don't believe in giving up picks. I'd probably be willing to give up two third round picks for Brandon Marshall. For me that would be a no brainer, considering the Bears already have an extra third round pick because of the Greg Olsen trade. But I doubt the Dolphins would be willing to take two third-round picks as compensation in a trade for Brandon Marshall. You've got to remember that both sides have to be willing to do the deal. As for the 19th pick, I'm very much a proponent of taking the best player regardless of position. I've seen need-based picks destroy franchises. The only way you should pick based on need is if you have the "need" player rated similarly to the best player left on your board.
Hey guys, thanks for the chats, any word on the GM search? Do you have an idea of who the front runner is?
Michael (1:08 PM)
No idea of the front runner right now, but Tim Ruskell is interviewing with the team today. A lot of folks are high on Marc Ross. But I think Phil Emery could be the sleeper. One director of football operations for another team that I spoke to said that he'd go with Emery over all the other candidates.
John (West Loop)
Michael - Draft or sign a FA CB? Of the FAs, who could be on the Bears radar?
Michael (1:13 PM)
John, I think you draft one. Free-agent corners are terribly expensive. Their value is often inflated, too, because there's always competition for their services. Perfect example: back in 2008, the Jaguars gave Drayton Florence a six-year $36 million contract, with $13 million guaranteed to basically play nickel. A lot of folks don't realize how difficult it is for a player to move from one team to another in free agency still be successful. As a GM, you have to weigh how much the scheme contributes to the success of the player you're evaluating. You have to factor that in with how the guy may fit in your scheme. It's tough to do.
Ace (Chicago, IL)
I say draft a WR in the first round and make a move for another in FA, with the defense getting old I think the offense has to make big strides ASAP! Thoughts?
Michael (1:14 PM)
Ace, you can't neglect your defense while making all those moves on offense. That's bad business.
Floyd seems like a very risky pick at 19 overall to me.... wouldnt it be better to draft a DB or pass rusher and try to address reciever via free agency or trade?
Michael (1:15 PM)
It would be best to draft the best player on your board at the No. 19 slot.
Report say Bob Bostad will be name Offensive Lineman coach but your recent article says he's one of 5 or 6 candidates, including Steve Loney. So, the rumors that Bostad is on board is not true? I wonder where the Score got their info from.
Michael (1:16 PM)
Not according to my sources, which are very good.
Cliff Avril looks like he could be a great fit for the Bears and the Lions are strapped by the cap, thoughts?
Michael (1:17 PM)
I agree with you, Sean. But when a team wants to keep a player, I promise you they'll find a way to tweak the numbers to make him fit. Cliff Avril is a young with a bright future. I don't see the Lions letting him get out of town.
Why haven't I heard Mike Lombardi's name in the GM discussion? Guy really seems to know his stuff, and his last job was working for Al Davis, so you can basically write that off in terms of his resume.
Michael (1:17 PM)
True, Scott. But what other body of work is there to draw from regarding him as a potential candidate?
Why not trade Forte for a #1 pick? Running Backs seem to come out of nowhere and the shelf life is terrible.
Michael (1:18 PM)
Gary, you've gotta have a dance partner to dance. Surely most teams feel about the same as you with regards to running backs.
Chicago Offense (Lost)
I feel like I have been neglected for so many years.
Michael (1:19 PM)
I'm sorry, O. If Mike Tice ends up being your coordinator, I'm pretty sure he's gonna push hard to give you some new bells and whistles.
D.J. (Sleepy Hollow)
Why is Tim Ruskell the only GM candidate with actual experience at GM?
Michael (1:21 PM)
Good question. But if you bring in a ton of guys with GM experience, the criticism would be that the Bears are interviewing re-treads. I actually like that the Bears are looking at some younger outside-the-box type of thinkers. That's how this team is going to improve and enjoy some sustained success.
Craig (Illinois )
JD suggested today on radio that Fortea??s salary figure was further off base than the Bears salary offer to him and it was Forte who wouldna??t budge any truth that you have heard?
Michael (1:22 PM)
Craig, it's very true that Forte wouldn't budge. It's also very true that the Bears wouldn't either. The Bears only made one offer, and never increased it.
If we bring in Emery as GM, does that give us the inside track on Bowe? Vjax or Bowe in your opinion?
Michael (1:24 PM)
Not at all, Jeff. One thing you have to remember about this game: it's always about the money. That's where the Bears sort of fall short of other teams when it comes to attracting free agents. Sure, they broke the bank to get Julius Peppers. But the Bears typically don't operate in that fashion, which is why it's so important for the team to bring in a new GM that can evaluate talent and draft well.
Ken (Tinley Park)
I feel like the Bears don't have a "drawn out plan" for any of their vacancies at the moment...will they go into panic mode if Tice is hired as the Raiders head coach?
Michael (1:26 PM)
Ken, there's a plan. Let me also mention that it's not a slam dunk that Tice gets the head coaching gig in Oakland. In fact, I'd say his chances are probably right below 50 percent. So I think we're all reacting a little too quickly about news of Tice's interview. Let it play out some. But I promise you that this team has contingency plans in place.
Jim (Barrington, IL)
Is there any truth to the rumor the Bears are interviewing a Street Wise vendor to fill Angelo's spot?
Michael (1:26 PM)
They haven't brought me in yet, Jim.
Snooks (Lafayette La.)
Which draft philosophy do you like a. Draft the best player available? or b. Draft for need or position? Which will the Bears employ?
Michael (1:28 PM)
Snooks, I like "A". The only way you deviate from "A" is if a guy at a need position is graded similarly to the best available guy on your board. It's impossible to know which philosophy the Bears will employ in April because we don't know the philosophy of the new GM, which is yet to be named.
Is this GM search the best job the Bears have ever done of not leaking out info? lol
Michael (1:29 PM)
Mark, they've done a bang-up job in that area for sure. But one thing organizations will never realize is that there will ALWAYS be leaks. Always.
Dez Bryant is in trouble again. I know the Cowboys thought about trading him a year ago. Is this the straw that broke the camels back? If so, would the Bears be a player to trade for Bryant?
Michael (1:30 PM)
Aaron, when you're as good a player as Dez Bryant, teams have a tendency to look the other way when you're making mistakes. Bryant isn't going anywhere. But if the Cowboys were interested in trading him, I doubt the old regime under Jerry Angelo would've been interested. But remember, we're still waiting for a new one to come in.
What are the chances of Todd Haley as OC if Tice leaves??
Michael (1:32 PM)
I'm sure his name would surface as a potential option there. But it would all depend on Lovie Smith's comfort level with Haley. Jay Cutler will probably also have some input on any potential move.
Are the Bears looking to add depth to the roster this year and not just focus on major starting roles? The lack of depth seemed to be the big problem to me.
Michael (1:34 PM)
Depth was a huge issue, Will. The key to success and adding depth is making training camp as competitive as possible by acquiring guys that can challenge for starting jobs. The loser in those competitions become backups, and that improves the talent of your depth.
where do you rank the bears o line
Michael (1:36 PM)
I don't think they're as bad as people made them out to be. I consider Chicago's offensive line a middle-of-the-pack group that has a ton of upside because of its relative youth. Remember, the Bears lost two starters to season-ending injuries last season and played with a new center, and they weren't all that bad. I think Cutler's comfort level with the OL has grown tremendously.
AD (St Louis)
In your NFL coaching hierarchy where do you rank Lovie Smith? It seems half of Chicago thinks they can do a better job?
Michael (1:38 PM)
Well, AD, head coaches delegate and let their coordinators do their jobs. So I think the mark of a good head coach is his ability to motivate players. Nobody can tell me that the Bears don't play extremely hard for Lovie. So I don't know where that puts him in relation to other coaches around the league. But his ability to motivate guys is undeniable.
Michael Floyd (South Bend, IN)
Do the Bears draft me?
Michael (1:39 PM)
You've got some issues the Bears really need to take a close look at. It'll also depend on how the new GM views you.
With the last scheduled interview for the GM role on Friday do you think they will take the weekend to review the candidates then bring 2 or 3 back in at the start of next week for a 2nd interview or do you feel the week they took to research these guys plus one extensive interview will be enough for them to decide and name a guy within the next week?
Michael (1:40 PM)
I like your thinking here. I think they'll probably bring back a couple of finalists next week for more interviews. Remember, the coaching staff is on vacation right now. So you'd think the Bears would like to sit the potential GMs to sit down with the coaches.
Am I valuing myself too highly?
Michael (1:42 PM)
Absolutely not. NFL stands for "not for long". Get what you can, while you can. Plus, the Bears' offer wasn't even close to what players similar to you in terms of production are making. Get your money, man.
da bears30 (dfw)
Who is to blame for the lack of player development the bears have faced over the past decade? I know Angelo had a lot to do with it, but he wasn't there every day to coach these guys up. It's frustrating to see that the Pack won last yr with some many backups and we have holes at almost every position.
Michael (1:42 PM)
A GM is only as good as his scouts, who spend most of their time evaluating prospects before forwarding them to the bosses. Just saying.
Forte should have taken the contract they offered him
Michael (1:43 PM)
He'll come out with more money by taking the franchise tag and won't be tied to a five-year contract. That's a shrewd move.
Bill (Palo Alto)
Is there a chance the Bears could lose Jennings, Graham and Bowman?
Michael (1:44 PM)
Absolutely there is. I'm not sure that two of them even want to come back to be honest with you.
Do you see the Bears getting worse, before getting better?
Michael (1:45 PM)
They can't afford to do that. This team has to take a win-now mentality. So no, I don't see the Bears regressing at all moving forward.
Cutler's injury showed to me that he is a elite QB in the NFL, your thoughts?
Michael (1:46 PM)
Not yet, Sam. Close, but not yet.
Has Steltz earned a shot to start at safety next year? Will they resign him?
Michael (1:47 PM)
Mike, I think he's earned a shot and I can see the Bears trying to re-sign him. But they'll have competition, which might drive up the price so high that the Bears will pass.
Kendall Wright or Alshon Jeffrey, who are you higher on?
Michael (1:49 PM)
Not because we have the same name, but give me Wright. I've heard some scouts compare him to Steve Smith in Carolina. He's got those "point guard" traits that are becoming more and more valuable in receivers. You've got to be able to stop and start, run great routes, and gain yards after the catch. Those are skills I think Wright possesses. Big isn't always better.
Brian (Columbus, Ohio)
Is it too late to fire lovie and make mike tice head coach before the raiders get him?
Michael (1:50 PM)
C'mon, Brian. Lovie isn't going anywhere for at least another year.
Has Jerry Angelo officially retired or is he still looking for GM work?
Michael (1:51 PM)
That's a great question. Last I heard, Jerry was looking to get out of town for a while with his wife to sort of decompress. I think he'll probably re-evaluate his options after he returns, but it wouldn't surprise me if he decided to retire.
any chance the bears trade briggs for some picks.
Michael (1:53 PM)
I think there is. Briggs is getting older, and obviously he's wanting more than what the Bears are willing to pay. Despite Briggs being one of the league's best OLBs, I doubt the Bears would get much in terms of draft compensation because of Briggs' age. This is a young man's league.
Tom D. (San Diego, CA)
True of False: Our window is 1-2 years, at least with our defense the way it is currently constructed.
Michael (1:54 PM)
False. I'd throw at least one more year onto that and make it 3.
Darth Ditka (Fort Walton Beach, FL)
Passing coordinator? Seriously? Tice can't call passing plays? Why does he have the job then?!?!?!
Michael (1:55 PM)
I think Tice is very capable of calling plays. But the passing game coordinator will also serve as the quarterbacks coach. Remember, there's a vacancy there because of the departure of Shane Day.
Who you got over who in the superbowl?
Michael (1:56 PM)
Your handle is "gambler" and you're gonna ask me that?
How far does Lovie need to go in 2012 to keep his job? I say Superbowl appearance.
Michael (1:58 PM)
I disagree with you. It's always dangerous to place stipulations on where a team needs to be for a coach to keep his job. A lot of times, it sort of depends on HOW you arrived at your final record. Did the team quit on you? Did they play hard? Was there progress made? Has the team regressed? There are way too many factors involved in these types of decisions. But I think it would be unwise to say that Lovie has to make it to the Super Bowl in 2012 to keep his job.
You state that you'd prefer the Bears draft the best player available. However, if you're the Bears, you have gaping needs at several positions (WR, DE, CB, Safety) - wouldn't it be wise to draft the best available at those positions, or trade out of the 1st round to accumulate more picks to fill those needs?
Michael (2:00 PM)
Frank, what if the best available player at your need position in the first round carries a second-round grade from your scouts? A lot of teams draft for need in that scenario, and it gets them in trouble. The second part of your question is more feasible though.
Do you know what kind of WRs Tice will prefer in his offense? I ask because Martz required a specific type of WR, which meant FA last year like Sidney Rice didnt "fit in". Of todays FA, who fits in best: Desean, VJack, Bowe, Garcon?
Michael (2:01 PM)
Corey, Tice won't put restrictions on the type of receivers he'd want in the offense. He's going to be looking for playmakers regardless of body type. Ideally, he'd like to find at least one speedy deep threat.
Michael (2:01 PM)
Folks that's my time, and it definitely flew. Check in with us for information on all the sweeping changes taking place at Halas Hall. We'll check back in with you guys next week.