Aside from the week eight deadline, the end of the preseason is typically a big time for trades. Are there any options out there for the Chicago Bears?
Marion Grice – RB – San Diego Chargers
Figuring out the situation behind Matt Forte at running back remains an ongoing process for the Bears. Thus far veteran Shaun Draughn and rookie Ka’Deem Carey have looked the best out of the group but neither has stood out. So the team could still be in the market for more help. One name to eye is Marion Grice. The Arizona State product was a 6th round pick of the Chargers. He has good height, agility, vision and the hands of a receiver. The fact he’s playing behind Ryan Mathews, Danny Woodhead and Donald Brown also means he may not land a job on the roster.
Michael Egnew – TE – Miami Dolphins
The injury to Zach Miller was really a tough one to swallow. People saw what his value as a second receiving option at tight end could bring to the offense. Now Chicago is forced to keep looking for help behind Martellus Bennett. If it’s an athletic receiver-type they want, then they must see about the situation regarding Michael Egnew. The Miami Dolphins 3rd round pick in 2012 has not adjusted to their system.
With Charles Clay and Dion Sims set on the depth chart, Egnew is battling rookie Arthur Lynch for the final spot and the team may not be willing to risk Lynch on the practice squad. Egnew won’t win awards as a blocker, but he’s a supreme athlete for his size (6’5″, 255 lbs) and can create mismatches in coverage provided he’s in the proper system.
T.J. Graham – WR – Buffalo Bills
Josh Morgan and Santonio Holmes are locked in a race for the third receiver spot on the Bears roster. However, knowing GM Phil Emery he never stops looking for contingency options. If it’s a trade he’s looking for, then T.J. Graham of the Buffalo Bills could be a available. The former undrafted free agent brings plenty of speed and agility to the table as a receiver but he currently sits on a crowded depth chart. He has yet to top 400 yards receiving in a season and hasn’t made enough plays in limited preseason chances.
Even so, the 25-year old has proven himself a threat down the field (averaged 15.7 yards per catch in 2013) and could also offer value as a return man given his 4.4 speed and track history. The fact he comes from N.C. State where Marc Trestman coached doesn’t hurt either.
Daniel McCullers – DT – Pittsburgh Steelers
Stopping the run was a misadventure for the Chicago Bears defense last season. So Emery, Trestman and defensive coordinator Mel Tucker made it their mission to improve in that area. One way they gone about it is to get bigger and longer up front on the defensive line. While most of their current depth chart seems set, there are one or two spots still up for grabs. If they feel what they have isn’t adequate, seeking to get bigger never hurt.
That is exactly what they’d do if they went after Daniel McCullers. The rookie out of Tennessee was a 6th round pick of Pittsburgh and has one calling card above all else: he eats space. At 6’7″, 351 lbs he is a behemoth with long arms that is ideal for plugging up running lanes. Concerns from scouts were weight fluctuation and inconsistent pad level. These issues have made it difficult for him to make progress on the Steelers depth chart. If plans are in place to cut him, perhaps Chicago can work out a deal and bring some serious beef to their rotation.
Brandon Graham – DE – Philadelphia Eagles
The Philadelphia Eagles have reportedly been trying trade Brandon Graham for months, ever since the NFL draft. Thus far teams haven’t bitten. His first four years in the league have proven, more than anything that despite his obvious pass rush skill, he isn’t a good fit in the 3-4 defense Philadelphia runs. Perhaps a move to defensive end in a 4-3 alignment, which he played in college at Michigan could be the ticket.
The Bears have a solid three-man rotation in place with Jared Allen, Lamarr Houston and Willie Young but they are never not looking for more pass rush help. Thus far in preseason nobody on the back end of the depth chart has flashed much. Adding Graham as a potential fourth rusher could give the Bears a deep rotation to throw at opposing offenses. As it has since he became available though, it’s all about price.
Image Source: CMG Digital
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