Bears sign Barber & Okoye
After a slow start and Bears have been very active the past few days and free agency continues and they seem to keep signing guys from the state of Texas. They already signed former Cowboys, Roy Williams and Sam Hurd, and now they add running back Marion Barber and from the Houston Texans defensive tackle Amboi Okoye.
They signed Barber, 28, to a two year contract while Okoye, 24, signed a one year deal. Barber spent all of his 6 seasons in Dallas while Okoye has been with the Texans since he became the youngest player to ever be drafted at the age of 19 in 2007.
Barber totaled over 4300 yard during those 6 years which he spent splitting carries with several runnings backs including Julius Jones (brother of former Bear Thomas Jones, and Felix Jones (no relation to the Jones brothers). Marion biggest assest is his ability to get into the endzone where he has found himself 53 times (47 rushing and 6 receiveing. My guess with the signing of Barber could bring the end to Chester Taylor's time in Chicago. Having Forte, Taylor and Barber is a luxury the Bears can not afford since none of the 3 would fit in on special teams and since the Bears have cheaper options like Kahil Bell and Harvey Unga also on the roster. They may wait to see if there is a market for Taylor before they release him. He could be a good fit on a team like the Browns or Rams who are in need of a good veteran backup.
Okoye might be viewed as a bust by some since he was drafted 10th overall but he was released by the Texans because he doesn't fit in their plans as they move from a 4-3 into Wade Phillips' 3-4 defense. Amboi has a chance to fit in nicely with a very solid group at DT with Anthony Adams, rookie Stephen Paea, Marcus Harrison along with Henry Melton and Israel Idonije who see time at tackle and end. Harrison probably has the most to worry about as he could find himself being the odd man out as he failed to pass his physical during day 1 of camp. Okoye is actually coming off his best season with 44 tackles, which is a career high, and 3 sacks, his highest output since 5 his rookie season. He has a chance to slide right into the hole left by Tommie Harris and under the guidance of Rod Marinelli could be an absolute beast.
Along with these two signing the Bears were able to resign cornerback and special teams ace Corey Graham to a one year deal. He lead the team with 25 special teams tackles last season and may push for the starting cornerback job opposite Peanut Tillman this season. Graham was a player the Bears could not afford to lose after Danielle Manning signed with the Houston Texans.
So far I am a big fan of the additions the Bears have made but losing Greg Olsen and the possible departure of center Olin Kruetz leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I feel if both of those players were here and with the new additions this offense could be a very scary thing for opposing defenses. Hopefully they will still resign Olin but according to sources it is not looking good and they might be signing former Seahawk Chris Spencer.