After focusing on the defensive line in free agency and selecting a cornerback in the first round of the NFL Draft, the Chicago Bears finally addressed the most troublesome position of 2013, signing former Pro Bowl safety Adrian Wilson to a one-year deal.
With just four interceptions in the past three seasons, and missing 2013 with a torn Achilles tendon, the signing seems to be nothing more than an insurance policy, giving a young position a little veteran leadership on a team hoping to contend in 2014.
As of right now, free agent signee FS Ryan Mundy and fourth round pick SS Brock Vereen are projected to start for the team at the respective safety positions- not exactly a Cam Chancellor and Earl Thomas type of combination. Though these two will undoubtedly be an improvement over Chris Conte and Major Wright, the back end of the Bears’ defense appears to remain in doubt as the team prepares for training camp in a few weeks.
Safety play has been an area of concern for Chicago since Mike Brown’s departure several years ago. While signing a five-time Pro Bowl safety may seem like a bargain deal for team, don’t expect much of an impact if any at all from the 34-year-old.
As I see it, the move is not much different than when the team signed veteran safety Adam Archuleta in 2007. Archuleta routinely disappointed in coverage, appeared slow off the ball, and was subsequently released at the end of the season. And he was 29 at the time. Wilson, coming off a serious leg injury, at this stage of his career does little to solidify a position the Bears are clearly desperate to improve.
With a 55.3 completion percentage on passes throw more than 15 yards downfield (by far the worst in the NFL) the Bears defense, particularly the backend, must be stronger and more disciplined if the team hopes to compete in 2014. I just don’t see signing Adrian Wilson, a player far past his prime, as the move that gets them there.