Bears General Manager Phil Emery said that he wouldn’t be signing any of the team’s impending free agents, a group that includes quarterback Jay Cutler and cornerback Charles Tillman in addition to other key contributors, before the end of the 2013 season.
The Bears’ plan would seem to be to use this first year under new coach Marc Trestman as a proving ground for the players with expiring contracts before picking which ones they want to keep around as the foundation for their team in the future. Emery said he hasn’t heard any bad vibes from players about that plan, but a player from one of the Bears’ divisional rivals offered up a note of caution on Monday.
Lions cornerback Chris Houston was headed toward free agency last year along with several other members of the Lions defense and said that led to problems that contributed to Detroit’s tumble from the playoffs to a 4-12 record.
“It left a bad taste, but you can see the chemistry is so much better now,” Houston said, via Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit News. “A lot of guys were working for themselves last year. We got a lot of young guys now and they listen, no big egos or nothing. It’s going to be a much better year.”
Every team is different and you need only look at the Ravens to see how things can work out just fine for a team with a slew of players about to become free agents, so it’s not like the Bears are guaranteed to run into trouble. One could even argue that the way that players deal with impending free agency gives you another data point to use when deciding whether to commit long-term money and that the biggest lesson the Lions learned was that they had too many players who weren’t worthy of sticking around the team.