Continuing to shore up personnel deficiencies on the defensive side of the ball, the Chicago Bears inked veteran CB Alan Ball to a one-year deal. Ball, a University of Illinois product, adds depth to a depleted CB unit.
Ball isn’t a long-term option, but the eight-year pro gives the Bears some stability and experience at an important position. He made 22 tackles along with one interception and three pass plays defender before injuring a biceps and missing the final half of the year.
Tim Jennings is the Bears only returning starter at the corner spot, and he returns following an uneven 2014 and after a DUI arrest in Georgia during the offseason. Second-year man Al Louis-Jean is unproven, and the team apparently has elected not to bring back long-time starter Charles Tillman.
While proclaiming that character matter in rebuilding the Chicago Bears at his initial press conference in January, new General Manager Ryan Pace and the Chicago Bears raised eyebrows with the signing of troubled former San Francisco 49′ers DT Ray McDonald on Tuesday to a one-year deal. McDonald was released by the 49′ers in December after a series of events the club termed as evidence of “a pattern of poor decision-making.”
McDonald was arrested last August in California on suspicion of domestic violence, though no charges were filed. He is also under investigation for an apparent sexual assault, but the case remains open with no charges filed.
McDonald convinced Bears Chairmen George McCaskey in a lengthy meeting that he was worth giving a second chance to, and team patriarch Virginia McCaskey apparently gave her blessing as well.
Entering the third full week of NFL free agency, it’s apparent the Chicago Bears are selective and picky buyers, bucking the league wide trend of spending lavishly to add talent to the roster.
New Bears General Manager Ryan Pace’s lone luxury purchase in the annual shopping spree was former Baltimore OLB Pernell McPhee. McPhee, though a situational pass rusher for the Ravens, is being counted on to spice up the pressure in a refurbished Bears defensive alignment.
In contrast to last year, when the Bears opened up the wallets for defensive lineman Lamarr Houston, Jared Allen, and Willie Young, and were mostly disappointed except for Young, the club has been relatively quiet and appears focused on the upcoming NFL draft as its cornerstone in acquiring talent.