Yesterday during a conference call with season ticket holders Bears GM Phil Emery said that it seems unlikely the Bears will be bringing back DT Amobi Okoye. Regarding the Bears attempts to re-sign Okoye Emery stated “Right now, Amobi is trying to decide which direction he is going,” Emery said. “We’ve had conversations with him. So far, we have not been able to work out a deal. Amobi is probably going in a different direction.”
With that updated bit of free agency news the Bears have now added defensive tackle to their list of needs for the upcoming NFL draft. With the departure of Okoye and with the Bears cutting Anthony Adams the Bears currently have three true DTs with game experience on the roster in Henry Melton, Stephen Paea and Matt Toeaina. The Bears however do have Israel Idonije who has played DT in the past and has done it well for the Bears.
Okoye was a top player for the Bears last year and likely deserved at minimum a two year deal rather than the one year deal he received. Okoye carried little risk high reward prior to his signing with the Bears and the fact that he was only 24-years-old accentuated his value. Shame on Angelo for not getting him under contract for at least two probably more like three seasons.
The Bears are now forced to move DT up on their list of priorities meaning they could be in the market for one earlier in the draft. Possible candidates include Fletcher Cox who has shot up draft boards since the end of the season, though it’s unlikely he’ll fall to 19. Additionally Jerel Worthy and Devon Still fit the profile of a one gap attacking DT that the Bears could plug into their defensive scheme. Possible later round prospects include Brandon Thompson of Clemson Kendall Reyes of UConn, and Mike Martin of Michigan.
With so many needs developing for the Bears the likelihood that they’ll trade up in the draft seems moot at this point. There isn’t a lot left in the free agent class and barring a team cutting another Amobi Okoye like player the Bears will be draft hunting for DTs.