The Chicago Bears free agency plan remains in its early stages. A big part of why is they still haven’t sorted out the 13 remaining names on the in-house list. They re-signed Bobby Massie to an extension, locking up their right tackle position. Now they must move on to other key names. Topping the agenda are two key defensive backs in corner Bryce Callahan and safety Adrian Amos.

Given their limited salary cap situation, the Bears likely can only afford to pay one of them. Conventional wisdom says it should be Amos. He’s younger (25) and proven much more reliable from a health standpoint. There’s just one problem. Word is Amos’ camp is placing their contract demands high. Much higher than the team is comfortable with.

While the young safety had a good year, nobody would list him among the key reasons the Bears defense was so great in 2018. He was less a driver and more a passenger. A quality backup dancer to the main band on stage. Imagine if that backup dancer suddenly went to management and said he wanted money similar to what the drummer was making.

It wouldn’t fly, which might explain why the Bears could end up seeking a replacement.

Chicago Bears free agency focus could involve bold move at safety

Hub Arkush, a longtime Bears insider for Pro Football Weekly, addressed this issue in his most recent mailbag and mentioned something interesting. In the event that Amos is gone, which he believes more than possible, the Bears are well-positioned to score an upgrade on a rich safety market.

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Not only that, but he seemed confident that one name would be their primary focus.

“But the “Honey Badger” only got $7 million last year on a one-year, prove-it deal, and though he’s going to get at least three, maybe four years this time, it doesn’t have to be at more than $8-9 million a year, probably $20 million guaranteed.

They can afford that, and he’s worth it.”

It’s interesting that Tyrann Mathieu is the name mentioned. One thing about new defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano is he loves being aggressive, or to “wreak havoc” as he put it. This means he uses his defensive backs to press the opposing offense in a multitude of ways including coverage and as extra blitzers. Something Mathieu is quite capable of.

In 2018 for the Houston Texans, Mathieu had 89 tackles, three sacks, eight passes defended, and two interceptions. He also seems to have gotten over the injury issues that plagued his time in Arizona, having played his second-straight full season without missing a game. There is no question about one thing though. He’s a far bigger playmaker.

Mathieu has 13 career interception in 82 games. Amos has three in 60. So yeah, the Bears defense would be more dangerous with the “Honey Badger” in the fold.