Four linemen signed through (at least) 2013:
Shea McClellin – Julius Peppers – Corey Wootton – Stephen Paea
Four linemen Free Agents:
Israel Idonije – Henry Melton – Nate Collins – Amobi Okoye
Keepers: Henry Melton – Israel Idonije
Henry Melton’s six sacks, two forced fumbles, and ability to get constant pressure up the middle landed him his first trip to the Pro-Bowl after the 2012 season. Obviously, the Bears would like to keep Melton around. Unfortunately, Melton would look good on almost every roster in the NFL. Now the question comes, as it often does after a breakout contract year-is Melton willing to settle for a little less cash to remain a Bear? If Lovie and Marinelli were still calling the shots at Halas Hall, I would consider Melton a lock. All we can do now as fans is cross our fingers and hope for the best.
Don’t let Israel Idonije’s 7.5 sacks fool you. He is much more than a pass-rusher. Aggressive, smart, and most importantly versatile- with the ability to play any position on the line during any situation. I would be surprised if the Bears didn’t bring back Israel. Starting his 11th season puts him in a position to negotiate a contract spanning the rest of his career.
Nate Collins and Amobi Okoye have a lot in common. Both show bursts of potential with intermittent periods of inactivity due to injury and/or Sunday roster space. No offense to all the Okoye fans out there, but I don’t see the Bears resigning either of these linemen. Look for new Defensive Coordinator Mel Tucker to replace both of these players with a late round draft pick to compete with a handful of other no names for the seventh and final defensive line spot.
What direction will Marc Trestman and Mel Tucker take? Which direction should they take? Let me know!