Do you think the Bears will win the Super Bowl with the addition of Brandon Marshall and Eric Weems? -- Anthony Graf, Oswego
It's very dangerous, probably foolhardy, to think the addition of one or two veterans is going to bring a team to the Super Bowl -- especially if the player is one who is not counted on to touch the ball more than five or six times a game. If you look at the history of veteran free agency, you could safely say only two additions have had a direct impact on a team winning a Super Bowl. Reggie White signed with the Packers in 1993, and they won it all three years later. And Drew Brees helped bring a Super Bowl to New Orleans in 2009 after signing in 2006. If any team wins a Super Bowl as the result of a 2012 addition, though, it will be the Broncos.
With Mike Shanahan looking for weapons for Robert Griffin and the price for Marshall being so reasonable, why do you think the Redskins did not trade for him? Marshall had his most productive games playing for Shanahan. With the trade for RG3 and the signing of Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan, it's obvious that draft picks and money are not the issue. Does Shanahan know something we Bears fans don't? -- Mazhar Paliwala, Buffalo Grove
My sense is Shanahan had his fill of Brandon Marshall, but I could be wrong. In 2009, ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported that had Shanahan stayed in Denver, he was preparing to cut Marshall because he believed Marshall hurt the Broncos more than he helped them. If Mortensen said it, I believe it. He's as solid as they come. Then again, the Marshall that Shanahan knew might not be the Marshall that Lovie Smith is going to know, if Marshall is to be believed. Marshall says his treatment for borderline personality disorder has made him a new man. We'll see. But there is another reason why the Redskins might not have been in the Marshall trade discussions. Even though the compensation requests from the Dolphins were reasonable, the Redskins don't have much trade ammunition after the RG3 trade. They already are missing a second-round pick this year and first-round picks in 2013 and 2014. They really are not in position to be giving away two more picks.
Do you think Brandon Marshall is the Bears' Dennis Rodman? We had Rodman and you see what he did for the Bulls, he helped win three championships. What do you think? -- Brandon
Their rap sheets may be comparable, but Marshall has fewer tattoos, body piercings and famous girlfriends than Rodman. I do believe that like Rodman, Marshall is going to make things very interesting around here for a while.
Don't you find it odd that the Bears have not signed any free-agent offensive lineman? NFL Network has been saying that is the biggest need besides wide receiver. Can Brandon Marshall catch passes from Cutler if he's lying on his back? -- Aleck Rinaldo, Rockford
I think the Bears' perception of their offensive line is not the same as the public's perception of their offensive line. Offensive coordinator Mike Tice and coach Lovie Smith believe they can win with the linemen they have. The plan is to help the linemen more by not putting them is such difficult positions. That being said, I'd have no problem with this team drafting a left tackle in the first round if the right one were on the board.
Nice column about Jason Campbell. He's a great Bears pickup. Little doubt Bears would have made the playoffs last year had he been the backup. I am wondering why he took the Bears offer to be a backup, since it would seem he could still start for some teams. -- Ronald Soukup
Good question. Campbell thought his best offer and best opportunity was from the Bears. Other teams, notably the Cowboys, were interested in him. But he thought his career would be best served in Chicago. The Bears gave him a one-year deal worth $3.5 million. If he plays 20 percent of the snaps, he'll get another $250,000. If he plays 35 percent, he'll get another $250,000. And he can earn up to $1 million total in play time incentives.
I know Jason Campbell signed just a one-year deal, and the Bears are paying him top money as a backup. Can you see him with the Bears for more than this year if Jay Cutler stays healthy and he really doesn't play much? -- Bears fan
It all depends what his options are next year. And it's really difficult to project what they will be now. But I will say this: Unless Campbell gets a chance to have extended playing time, and he really lights it up, his days of coming to training camp as a starter probably are over. He will be 31 the next time he is a free agent and two teams already have given on him as a starter. The best place for him to be in 2013 very well may be Chicago again.
If Kyle Orton was willing to settle for a backup role, why didn't the Bears try to sign him? -- George Schoenthal, Fort Worth, Texas
Because they liked Campbell better. The Bears made it very clear to Campbell that he was their first choice to be their backup, and pursued him from the opening bell of free agency.
It's pretty obvious now that the Bears need to go for a defensive end in the first round. Who are your top four pass-rushing ends that the Bears should target? -- John; Winona, Minn.
The four best defensive ends in the draft that fit the Bears' scheme, in alphabetical order, are Melvin Ingram from South Carolina, Whitney Mercilus from Illinois, Nick Perry from Southern Cal and Courtney Upshaw from Alabama. There is a chance the Bears will have their pick of these four, but I really think there is a good chance Mercilus is off the board at 19. I also think there is a good chance Quinton Coples from North Carolina could be off the board, but I don't see him as the kind of player the Bears will be looking for. Different players will rank these ends in different orders based on their schemes, so we can't be completely sure how they will come off the board.
I saw that Lovie Smith had dinner with Stephen Hill. I was very impressed with what he could do at the combine and at his pro day. In some newer mock drafts if Michael Floyd isn't available the writer has the Bears taking Hill. Hill looks like a good prospect but I think 19 is a little too high to take him. So if Floyd isn't available do you think the Bears would take a chance on Hill at 19? -- Sam Rudman, New England
If that were to happen, I would think it would be because three or four other players the Bears liked better than Hill were snatched away in the preceding picks. Hill has as much potential to be a star as any receiver in the draft, but he also has as much potential to be a bust. You have to be careful with players who did not produce a lot in college, especially wide receivers. I think he would be a fine pick in the second round, where taking big risks makes more sense. But I agree with you: 19 is too high for Hill.
Should/will the Bears go after Dallas Clark? -- Todd Kirby
I would be surprised if they did, especially if they gave him significant money. Clark will be 33 soon. His last two seasons have been marred by injuries. He's not the same player he was.
Can the Bears trade down with a team at the bottom of the first round, stockpile the extra draft picks, and then sign Mike Wallace and give up the first-round pick that was acquired? Or does the rule state they have to give up their original first-round pick? Wallace seems like a better risk than many of the rookies available at 19. -- Marty Schroeder
I agree that Wallace would be better than any receiver available at No. 19, but to try to acquire him the way you suggest would not be allowed. In order to submit an offer sheet to a restricted free agent, a new team must have its own choice or a better choice in the applicable round.
There were six other NFL teams that finished with the same record as the Chicago Bears. The Arizona Cardinals pick 13th in the upcoming draft and the Bears will select at 19. How was draft order determined, and how badly do you think this will impact the Bear's ability to get the player they want? Would it be a reach to draft David DeCastro from Stanford? I know tackles have more value in the draft, but wouldn't he be a better fit? What are your thoughts? -- Norb Gecewicz, Deer Park
The first tiebreaker in the draft for teams with identical records is strength of schedule. Because the Bears played a stronger schedule than the Cardinals, Cowboys, Eagles, Jets, Raiders (their pick now belongs to the Bengals) and Chargers, they pick last among all the 8-8 teams. And picking 19th as opposed to 13th definitely could cost the Bears dearly. If you say the Bears' biggest need is an edge rusher, the Cardinals, Cowboys, Jets and Chargers all could use one as well (though each of those teams runs a 3-4). If you say the Bears really need an offensive tackle, the Cardinals, Jets and Chargers are threats to take one of them. And if you still want another receiver, the Cardinals, Jets and Bengals all could ruin the Bears' plans. As for DeCastro, I think 19 is too high to take a guard who is not elite. If you are going to reach, don't do it for a guard. Do it for a player who can impact your team with big plays. I really don't see guard as a need for this team.