The countdown to free agency in the NFL is on and names are being linked to teams left and right. There will surely be some big names on some new teams next season, but there are also going to be a lot of signings that will not be jaw-dropping breaking news. I am taking a look at possible targets for the Chicago Bears on a weekly basis up until the start of free agency. This is week three of the series and the player under the scope is Vonn Bell, current strong safety for the New Orleans Saints.
Name Ring a Bell?
Bell was drafted in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Saints. He played his college ball at Ohio State where he was considered amongst the top prospects at the position. He ran a 4.51 40-yard dash at the combine and left college with nine interceptions and 15 pass breakups. Those are all very solid numbers. Unfortunately, the interceptions did not carry over to the NFL as he has just one in four years. He has had a strong career to this point, but will not be in the talks for top-safety money at all.
Vonn the Way Out
It is unknown currently if the New Orleans Saints have plans of resigning the strong safety, but it would not be surprising to see them let him walk. The fact of the matter is that the Saints can possibly be very comfortable at the safety position without Bell. According to PFF, Marcus Williams was the second-highest rated safety last season with a grade of 90.1. He has played one less season than Bell but is a name that they are very confident about.
Chauncy Gardner-Johnson is another name that the Saints feel good about. He played very well in his rookie season. He will still be on a rookie contract for a few more years which is appealing to any front office not wanting to break the bank.
Come to Ring Bells
While he has not become one of the league’s best safeties by any means, he has been very solid in his four years thus far. The one number that can become a gaping hole in the stats of a safety is his interceptions. The good news? The Bears would not be asking him to come and intercept the ball, but rather intercept the heads of opposing ball carriers. Bell has been outstanding in run support throughout his career. He has tallied 83 or more combined tackles in every season he has played.
This is precisely the kind of safety the Bears need to make their defense as dominant as it was in 2018. The key to this is getting Eddie Jackson back to free safety, permanently. With Ha Ha Clinton-Dix this past season, Jackson was asked to play strong safety much more than he should have been due to Dix not being able to come into the box and provide support. By bringing in Bell, you get a guy who is not afraid to attack ball carriers. This also allows Jackson to drop back in that center field role where he is most dangerous.
Best Option at Strong Safety
Don’t worry, that is all the corny puns I have for headlines. At the end of the day, Vonn Bell is the epitome of the strong safety position and would thrive in a defense with the likes of Eddie Jackson and Khalil Mack. Chicago’s defense is still elite, but the addition of Bell can make them downright dominant as we saw a year ago. At 25, Bell is still very young and has many good years to come. If the money is right, this would be a no-brainer move for Ryan Pace and company.
Come discuss this and much more at the Overtime Heroics forums!
Be sure to check out our partners at Repp Sports! They offer the first-ever crowd-sourced, no carb, no sugar, energy drink called RAZE and much more! Use the link above or add the promo code OTH1 at checkout to get 30% off your order!