Great FA pickup for them in an area of need.
He's doing the obvious things that have been ignored for too long.
Settling LT and TE opens up a world of possibilities for the draft, although Eifert is probably not an option now.
Where's the money going to come from? Is the plan to restructure Peppers or does he not intend to re-sign Cutler?
Bushrod and Bennett are good players at positions of dire need, but as I recall they were about $3M under the cap heading into free agency after franchising Melton.
I assume they've backloaded both of yesterday's deals (Bushrod averaging $7M/year and Bennett averaging $5M/year), but here's their list of starters that are free agents in 2014:
Robbie Gould (including a kicker here because he'll average $3-4M/year in FA)
This isn't a team full of young depth and all of this ignores Urlacher.
So I'm not sure what the "plan" is beyond hope they make a good run this year and pray they aren't godawful in the years to come.
It seems like they got decent value (for free agency) for those guys too. I certainly like the contracts better than what the Colts or Rams paid similar guys.
But I read somewhere that Bushrod's cap # this year is 3M. Only 2M of Bennett's contract is guaranteed, so if he's a bust it doesn't seem like there's much preventing them from cutting that contract short.
The pending FA issue is certainly the question for now. Of that list I'd say Cutler, Melton, Tillman, and Jennings are necessary re-signs (although if Jennings has another big year he'll probably price himself out). If Webb has a good year at RT, I'd put him in the Wotton column of a nice to have re-sign. Depending on the draft and any other low level signings, Garza probably expendable and Gould an unfortunate victim of cap math even though he's a quality kicker.
Imagine they let Hester and Wright walk without much thought about it.
I believe Marshall due an extension soon, too.
All in all, you're right in questioning what the plan is here but there's so many moving parts that it's hard to see the forest through the trees at this point. As Bears fans, we just have to give Emery the benefit of the doubt until he proves otherwise. In a vacuum, Bushrod and Bennett are solid upgrades at positions of need and if it turns out the Bears can still keep other key players it's clearly understandble why they would do such a thing on the first day of FA (even though it's the day where the most egregious contracts are handed out).
a bit. the defense is old and there isn't a lot of quality youth in the pipeline. Maybe we're going all-in and will deal with the ramifications in a year or two. In today's NFL, I'm not so sure that's a bad idea, as long as we're not talking long-term contracts, which we're not (yet).
The defense will need a complete overhaul soon as you state. Might as well try and go for it now when you can still get something out of the older guys. The relative youth on offense though is encouraging - Bushrod, Bennett, Forte, Jeffrey, and heck Marshall/Cutler only 28 & 29 respectively.
Emery banking on Trestman extracting the value out of these guys as he knows that's where most of his younger talent currently lies. A huge if though.