Emery is just getting started with Bears’ overhaul
BY ADAM L. JAHNS Staff Reporter March 12, 2014 10:53PM
The Bears have retained 13 of their own free agents and signed four unrestricted ones, but general manager Phil Emery is far from finished.
“We’ve got some holes to fill,” Emery said Wednesday at Halas Hall. “We’ve got a lot of work to do on our roster.”
More pass rushers: Emery wants as many pass rushers as he can fit on his roster after the Bears were last in the league in sacks in 2013.
The Bears will continue to scour the free-agent market for potential starters, including a look at 10-year defensive end Jared Allen, who had 111/2 sacks last season with the Vikings.
“We’re going to look at a number of players,” Emery said. “Obviously, Jared is one of those. . . . Jared’s been a great pass rusher in the league.”
Emery also didn’t completely rule out the return of defensive end Julius Peppers on a cheaper deal, but that seems unlikely.
Bargain shopping: Adding players such as Allen come down to price, and the Bears aren’t exactly overflowing with salary-cap space. So like last offseason, they’ll wait for the market for quality veterans to drop, then pounce.
“There’s a third wave [of free agency] where players know they’re either going for the veteran minimum or a little above that and they’re just looking for opportunity,” Emery said.
Peanut’s punch: Cornerback Charles Tillman visited the Buccaneers, who just signed Alterraun Verner but released Darrelle Revis. Emery said the Bears have had an ongoing conversation with Tillman.
If Tillman isn’t re-signed, the Bears might turn to the draft instead of free agency.
“The draft has a lot more depth than what’s available in the UFA class,” Emery said, “and if we’re going to make a major move, it would be more relative to the draft than it would be in UFA.”
Oh, Henry: Free-agent defensive tackle Henry Melton is making visits — with a reported stop in Minnesota on Thursday — which means his future with the Bears is in question.
“We’re working through that,” Emery said. “I believe Henry has got a number of teams to look through.
‘‘They’re very interested in his medical status [after his torn anterior cruciate ligament].”