Matt Eberflus plans to change the way the Chicago Bears play defense. Gone will be the 3-4 Vic Fangio-style system they’ve known since 2015. Returning will be the classic 4-3 Tampa-2 system that Lovie Smith made famous in the 2000s. As is often the case, different systems require different types of talent at various positions. This is especially true at cornerback, where it appears the team needs a lot of help outside of Jaylon Johnson.
Kindle Vildor was a disappointment in his second season. Artie Burns didn’t fare much better. Rookie Thomas Graham Jr. had some nice flashes, but he’s still unproven. This is a group that needs help. Many are pleading with the Bears to go after the best possible options in free agency next month—names like J.C. Jackson, Charvarius Ward, Carlton Davis, and Donte Jackson. However, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune doesn’t believe Eberflus will take such an approach.
Not after what happened with the Indianapolis Colts.
“One thing I would keep in mind is that Eberflus did pretty well in Indianapolis with an aging veteran in Xavier Rhodes, whom the Colts were able to sign on the cheap. Rhodes was slower than he was originally in Minnesota, but the Colts identified a player who would fit their scheme and wouldn’t take up much cap space. It was a terrific signing.
So it’s possible the Bears would take a similar approach — and it might not be someone whom they would sign in the first wave of free agency, when teams inevitably overpay.”
Xavier Rhodes has 2 INTs on Darnold 😤
— B/R Gridiron (@brgridiron) September 27, 2020
Xavier Rhodes comes up CLUTCH with the interception 😤
Colts have full control.
— B/R Gridiron (@brgridiron) October 25, 2021
It is a fair point.
Rhodes was considered done after his final season in Minnesota. The Colts signed him for just $5 million in 2020. He rewarded them with two interceptions, a defensive touchdown, and QBs completing just 51% of their passes in his direction. He isn’t the only veteran cornerback Matt Eberflus proved he could get the most out of either. He helped 29-year old Pierre Desir rack up three interceptions a year prior. A personal best.
The Bears aren’t in a good position to spend big money on defense right now. Not with the offense needing so much help. That is why it makes sense Eberflus would encourage the idea of identifying older veterans that may still have gas in the tank. There could be some such options available when the market opens next month.
Darious Williams (29) Steven Nelson (29) Kyle Fuller (30) K’Waun Williams (31) Patrick Peterson (32)
All five of those names have proven they can play at a high level in the past. With a defense like Eberflus’, the demands on the cornerback position aren’t as high. Hence why older veterans can excel in it. Except fit and price tag to determine where the Bears go.
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