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TAKE 2: Bears kick off free agency season

Published: Saturday, March 16, 2013 11:57 p.m. CDT • Updated: Saturday, March 16, 2013 11:59 p.m. CDT
(AP photo)
Tight end Martellus Bennett, left, and left tackle Jermon Bushrod wait to be introduced by Chicago Bears general manager Phil Emery during a news conference at the Bears' practice facility Wednesday in Lake Forest. The Bears signed former New Orleans Saints Pro Bowl tackle Jermon Bushrod and former New York Giants tight end Martellus Bennett.

The Bears kicked off free agency by signing a versatile tight end and a Pro Bowl left tackle, but other needs remain. Sports editor Jon Styf and columnist Tom Musick discuss:

Musick: What’s one of the best purchases you’ve ever made? How about one of the worst? I’ll go first. When I was a kid, I bought a Roberto Clemente baseball card that made me happy beyond belief. When I was a grown-up, I bought a used elliptical machine off Craigslist that broke within a month.

Styf: The Bears’ worst recent purchase was Jay Cutler. Their best, Brandon Marshall. I see what they’re doing, with subtle offensive improvements. But their defense isn’t getting better, it’s getting worse. It’s like those Bose headphones I bought that look and sound cool in the store but ultimately are as fragile as .... well .... Kerry Wood. The free airplane ones last longer. You think this is going to solve all the Bears’ woes. But they’re just creating new headaches by neglecting what’s made them good, instead allowing it to unravel.

Musick: That’s too bad about the headphones. Did they at least look cool? I’m trying to figure out where Martellus Bennett and Jermon Bushrod fit on the spectrum of good buys versus bad buys. My first reaction is positive. The Bears can’t spend everything on everyone all at once, and with that said, I think it makes sense to start by trying to fix a broken offense.

Styf: If this were just the start, I would agree. But the offense has been broken for years. And this simply isn’t enough to make it work. After the Week 1 win over Indianapolis, we thought all was well. But it was not even close. I’ve heard a full range of opinions on Bushrod, from a guy who got lucky to make the Pro Bowl to the solution to the Bears’ O-line woes. I’d say he’s not enough. They had five problem spots on the line last year; he might be an answer to one. Not enough, not enough.

Musick: I hear what you’re saying, but general manager Phil Emery still has time to patch up some trouble spots on both sides of the ball. He might have to do so via smart draft picks and bargain-priced free agents, but he’s fully capable of that. Every team has weak spots to go along with strong spots. The Bears’ core talent is impressive, and more help should be on the way in the next few weeks.

Styf: Like that elliptical machine, I’m guessing these moves look better than they are in reality. Bank on Bears fans calling Bushrod a bum before his contract’s done.

• Write to Jon Styf at and follow him on Twitter @JonStyf. Write to Tom Musick at and follow him @tcmusick.

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