The Chicago Bears are likely not to start signing veteran players again until after the upcoming NFL draft. The date for free agents to stop counting against the compensatory pick formula is May 7th. So they’ll be evaluating the market by that point on ideas for how else they can improve the roster.

One name that has a lot of team around the league interested is Gerald McCoy. The Pro Bowl defensive tackle has had a long and great career for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. However, it’s rumored that the team may be thinking about a change with the arrival of their new coaching staff. One that plans to install a 3-4 system under Todd Bowles.

Their GM Jason Licht has done nothing to put those fires out whenever asked.

“I talked about Gerald at the combine,” Licht told reporters. “I talked about him, answered some questions at the owners’ meetings, and there really hasn’t been any developments.”

This leads one to surmise the team may decide to move on if they can find some help in the draft for their defensive line. At that point, an older but still quality defensive player will become available. So should the Bears be interested?

Chicago Bears Gerald McCoy idea can happen because of Chuck Pagano

People will immediately challenge this idea. The Bears run a 3-4 too. So why would they consider McCoy more than Tampa Bay would? The simple answer is their coordinator. Chuck Pagano actually has a considerable history when it comes to using traditional 4-3 defensive tackles in his 3-4 system, and often with success.

He did it multiple times during his stints as a coordinator in Baltimore and then a head coach in Indianapolis. Cory Redding was a defensive tackle for year in Detroit. Then he signed in Baltimore and experienced a career resurgence under Pagano.

Kendall Langford was a defensive tackle for three years with the Rams before signing with the Colts in 2015. He promptly delivered a career-best seven sacks. Johnathan Hankins was a defensive tackle in New York before joining the Colts as well in 2017. He had a solid season with 44 tackles, two sacks, and three passes defended.

Besides, it’s not like McCoy can’t play in a 3-4.

He’s plenty big enough for the task and Pagano features the sort of attacking style that fits his pass rush skills perfectly. Putting him up front with Eddie Goldman and Akiem Hicks with Khalil Mack and Leonard Floyd on the edges?

That would be something to watch. The difficult part would be selling McCoy himself on making it work. Something for Ryan Pace to think about if that opportunity arrives.