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Safety in Numbers

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Mar 22, 2007 1:06PM

The Bears' offseason thus far has been a pretty unbearable affair for fans. We watched the tension grow between team management and head coach Lovie Smith before Lovie finally got the extension and raise he deserved for taking the Bears to the Super Bowl. We saw defensive coordinator — and member of the 1985 Super Bowl team — Ron Riviera fired. Thomas Jones traded. Lance Briggs telling anyone and everyone he's upset at the Bears' use of the "franchise tag" on him, and how he'll never play another down for the team. Tank Johnson going to jail. It seemed like every week, something helped build the impression that the window of opportunity for a Super Bowl victory was rapidly closing.

Even lesser stories convinced us that we may remain firmly engrossed with that '85 team and our sole Super Bowl victory for a long time, with the quiet departures of role players like Todd Johnson and Cameron Worrell , as well as possible departures of likes of Ian Scott and Alfonso Boone.

2007_03_sports_archuleta.jpgThis week, the Bears finally made one move to shore up their defense by trading for Redskins' safety Adam Archuleta, a favorite of Lovie Smith's when they were both with the Rams. The Bears gave up a sixth-round draft pick.

Between the losses of Johnson and Worrell, as well as the annual season-ending injury to Mike Brown, Archuleta should be a valuable addition to the Bears defense. Expected to start alongside Danieal Manning, Brown might be at the end of his Bears career if he doesn't restructure his contract.

As part of the trade, the Bears already renegotiated Archuleta's deal, signing him to a $8.1 million three-year deal, including a $5 million bonus the Bears will pay. However, its a far cry from the $35 million, seven-year deal he signed last year with the Redskins after being pursued by the Bears.

While they've finally checked off one position off their critical list, the Bears still have a lot of work to do if they expect their defense to remain among the league's best. In addition to the departures, possible departures and possible holdouts, Tank Johnson's jail time will also result in a significant suspension by the league office.

Image via Washington Times.