Early signs say the pass rush should stay consistent for the Chicago Bears but they can't ever forget about the future. Money issues or not should they seriously consider stealing Cliff Avril from the rival Detroit Lions?
GM Phil Emery knows the defense can't lean on Julius Peppers forever
Fans love a general manager who never stops looking for an edge. Bears faithful would argue former head man Jerry Angelo spent too much time focused on the defense while ignoring the offense. New GM Phil Emery needed ten minutes into free agency to show he wasn't that guy. In a flurry of moves the former football scout added talent at wide receiver (Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery), running back (Michael Bush) and tight end (Evan Rodriguez), all while saving the top draft pick for a promising pass rusher in Shea McClellin. That hasn't stopped Emery from saying he won't ever stop looking for upgrades if he thinks Chicago will get better. A big question moving forward is fueling the pass rush to lessen the workload for 32-year-old superstar Julius Peppers. The Bears believe in th defensive end but while he has some good years left no one can forget that time grows less. Chicago has never feared big-money deals, but is it too greedy for them to eye a top free agent next year?
NFL salary cap may force Lions to sacrifice Avril to help secondary
The Detroit Lions are one of the top favorites for the playoffs but their continued problems on defense threaten to ruin everything. One area that hasn't become part of it is the defensive line. Led by Ndamukong Suh the Lions expect to have one of the best in football for another year. A big concern though is 2012 could become the last for his teammate, defensive end Cliff Avril. Detroit has loads of roster holes in their secondary that could even get worse in free agency next year. Safety Louis Delmas, a veteran leader in the back-end becomes a free agent along with a host of others. Avril comes off a season where he had 11.5 sacks. At age 25, his price may go too high for the Lions to match. Their NFL salary cap is already stretched because of the contracts for Suh, quarterback Matthew Stafford and receiver Calvin Johnson. Letting Avril go would save that money to help beef up the secondary. For Chicago it is hard to ignore. Though they are a division rival, Avril fits the Bears defense perfectly. He could become the other rusher opposite Peppers and team with McClellin for years to come.
It sounds too soon to think about what-ifs but it is hard to see Cliff Avril surviving the cap cuts to come for the Detroit Lions. His NFL stock will only go higher if he has another good year. The Chicago Bears and Phil Emery should not stay quiet on going after him.