With the conclusion of the Superbowl this past Sunday, the NFL off-season is officially underway. Now is the time where most franchises have high hopes of drafting that kid that is going to turn their team around or, on the other hand, signing that one missing piece that will put them over the top. In this case for the Bears, one of those pieces can be Karl Joseph.
Well, there are a handful of teams that sort of fall right between the two and the Chicago Bears may be the epitome of them. At times this team has looked as dominant as any, but there are other times where it looks like they should be in the Big Ten and not the NFC North. This off-season will surely answer many questions surrounding the team. Seeing as the Bears do not possess a first-round pick this year, free agency may play a bigger part than usual.
The official start of free agency begins March 18th. There is loads of time to get our hopes up about plenty of guys that our teams will not sign. What I plan to do here is write weekly about one possible free agent the Bears can sign leading up to the actual start. That makes for seven players for all you math majors out there. Let’s hop into the first guy on the list: Karl Joseph.
Karl Joseph is a strong safety currently on the Oakland Raiders. The former 14th overall pick in 2016 has had up-and-down play for the most part in his career. He is undersized when it comes to covering receivers and tight ends as he is only 5’10”. What he lacks in size he most definitely makes up with his hitting. Melvin Gordon finds that out here:
He is a true thumper safety who is not afraid to come down in the box and meet anyone in the hole. That is exactly what the Bears need opposite of Eddie Jackson.
Ha Ha, Not Funny
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix was brought in to replace Adrian Amos this past year and he played alright for the most part. The problem is the Bears sacrificed Eddie Jackson so that Ha Ha could fit in the defense. Jackson was asked to play strong safety more this past season because he was able to do so unlike Ha Ha. Jackson is at his best playing center field and reading quarterbacks and not coming down to help in the run game. That is why the tandem of him and Amos worked so nicely.
Amos would come down into the box for run support allowing Jackson to roam around and play his game. Many believed Amos was an issue on the defense because of his lack of turnovers. The actuality is that Amos was the reason Eddie Jackson was able to be in all those spots for turnovers. Ha Ha is a solid free safety, but he is definitely not a strong safety. Having him on the roster is simply forcing one of the best free safeties in the game, out of his position. Thus, the Bears defense, especially Jackson, suffered.
Joseph can come in and replace that void left by Amos a year ago. This allows Eddie Jackson to get back to doing what he does best. Joseph does not have to come in and back up into coverage much as he was asked with the Raiders. He is a true box safety and can be just that since the Bears already have the coverage pieces in place. Joseph only played in 9 games last season but was arguably playing the best ball of his career. He had 37 solo tackles and one interception before a foot injury ended his season. That can also mean he ends up somewhere on a one-year prove-it deal, very similar to Ha Ha’s deal this year. This means he will not be super expensive.
Karl Joseph vs. Adrian Amos
However, if we take Karl Joseph’s 2017 year where he played 15 games and compare it to Amos’ season last year, the numbers are almost identical. In 2017, Joseph had 58 solo tackles and one interception in 15 games played. Amos, on the other hand, had 65 solo tackles and two interceptions in 16 games played last year. The bottom line is Joseph can come in and be that hard-hitting, run supporting safety that this defense needs to get the most out of its other pieces.
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