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Adams tragedy a major setback for Bears

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Dan Arkush
Executive editor

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Posted Jan. 21, 2010 @ 1:43 p.m. ET
By Dan Arkush

With their search for new offensive and defensive coordinators going nowhere fast, the last thing the Bears needed was a terrible tragedy that all but paralyzed the organization at a most inopportune time.

Clearly, the death of DE Gaines Adams at the tender age of 26 on the morning of Jan. 17 in his hometown of Greenwood, S.C., is a major blow. Team insiders concur that the Bears were banking on a much bigger role next season for Adams, the fourth overall pick of the Buccaneers in the 2007 draft, who was obtained from Tampa Bay Oct. 16 in exchange for a second-round draft pick.

While Adams, who registered only five tackles in 10 games after being traded to the Bears this season, was considered far from a lock to crack the starting lineup next season, we hear he was definitely envisioned as an every-down starter down the road.
After already having sacrificed their first-round pick in the 2010 draft in the trade for QB Jay Cutler, there's no way Bears GM Jerry Angelo would have been willing to relinquish a No. 2 pick for Adams if the team weren't planning on him making a relatively big impact.

What they got instead is nothing to show for their 2010 No. 2 pick and numerous holes that they won't be able to start filling via the draft until the third round for the second year in a row — unless Angelo makes a trade for some early picks.

With Adams no longer in the mix, it can be argued that the Bears' biggest need in the draft and free agency has now become another quality edge pass rusher.

In addition, it now appears the Bears may make a much greater effort to hang on to free-agent DEs Adewale  Ogunleye and Mark Anderson.

"I think they'll let Ogunleye test the market and see if they can hang on to him at a decent price," said one team insider. "He is still the best pass rusher on the roster. Anderson played better toward the end of the year, and with him probably being restricted, they'll probably make him a mid-tender offer."

The loss of Adams also figures to make the development of '09 rookie DEs Jarron Gilbert (third round) and Henry Melton (fourth round) a much bigger priority.

"They should both hit the ground running," the insider said. "And if you throw them into the mix with an improving Anderson, that might not be such a bad thing."


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