Although I wouldn’t say anything was a given this offseason, it’s been roundly expected that the Chicago Bears would use some of their ample available dollars to improve their woeful secondary. That could – and should – include a safety addition (today’s rumored target is D.J. Swearinger), as well as at least one cornerback.
On the cornerback front, we’ve already heard of the Bears’ interest in free agent Bills corner Stephon Gilmore, and it sounds like things are heating up on that front:
Stephone Gilmore poised to get biggest CB deal of this FA class. As reported Sun – shooting for J. Jenkins deal. Bears remain frontrunners
— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) March 7, 2017
— Alex Marvez (@alexmarvez) March 7, 2017
Source confirms that the #Bears "are showing strong interest" in CB Stephon Gilmore. I'm told he wants to sign early.
— Josina Anderson (@JosinaAnderson) March 7, 2017
Gilmore, 26, is one of the best options available in free agency (PFT ranks him the 16th best overall free agent, and second best cornerback), and would mark a clear and immediate upgrade for the Bears’ secondary. He made his first Pro Bowl in 2016 with the Bills, and was the team’s first round pick (10th overall) in 2012.
That price tag, though. Janoris Jenkins netted one of the biggest contracts in football for a cornerback last year from the Giants, signing for five years and $62.5 million ($28.8 million guaranteed). In a free agent market seemingly awash with teams with cap space, you can expect salaries to tick up across the board, so it’s not at all inconceivable that Gilmore will be able to land a deal in that range. It’s worth pointing out that this year’s draft crop is especially deep in the secondary, so that may apply a little bit of countervailing downward pressure on eventual signings.