Bears to spend big this offseason?

Bear fans may finally get something they’ve been dying to see for almost a decade now: GM Jerry Angelo opening the team’s wallet.

According to a report by Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times, Angelo has been authorized to spend up to $25 million in guaranteed money this offseason. That kind of loot would certainly be enough to lure Julius Peppers to Chicago, if the free agent defensive end wants to play for the Bears that is.

Angelo has a history of being thrifty in free agency and building his roster almost solely via the draft. But after trading their first round pick in this year’s draft to Denver for Jay Cutler and their second round pick to Tampa Bay for the late Gaines Adams, the Bears don’t have a selection in this year’s draft until the third round. It’s hard for a team to fill voids along the offensive and defensive lines when they don’t make a selection until midway through the third round.

The problem for Angelo is that even though he’ll have the money to spend in free agency, there aren’t many attractive offensive line options. Bobbie Williams (Bengals), Kevin Mawae (Titans) and Chad Clifton (Packers) are all 33 years or older and wouldn’t offer Chicago long-term solutions. The real value at the position lies in the restricted free agent department. Jahri Evans (Saints), Logan Mankins (Patriots) and Jared Gaither (Ravens) are all young and productive players, but depending on what each player was tendered at, the Bears won’t be able to put a decent trade package together because they don’t have any draft picks.

Angelo has a long history of shopping in the clearance section during free agency and until he proves otherwise, I’m not buying that he’ll all of a sudden become Daniel Snyder of the 2010 offseason. That said, it’ll be interesting to see if the Bears do make a strong run at Peppers and what they’ll do to address their needs along the offensive line. Either way, it looks like it’ll be an interesting offseason in Chicago.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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