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Bears should pass on Peppers and sign Aaron Kampman

In the first of my 3 pre-draft moves to get the Bears back to the playoffs in 2010, I suggested they part with one of the few playmakers they have on the team – Lance Briggs – to go after a defensive end or safety in the first round of April’s draft.

My second move is boring in comparison…it simply requires us to pass on perhaps the top talent on the free agent market – at perhaps our position of highest need – and settle for the next best, safest thing.

Sign Packers free agent defensive end, Aaron Kampman.

Panthers’ free agent DE Julius Pepper is angling to become the highest paid defensive player in the league. You would think that alone would automatically eliminate the penny-pinching Bears. But reports are already surfacing that Jerry Angelo is doing is due diligence and at least kicking the tires on Peppers and his asking price. But if his reoccurring stretches of Sunday disappearing acts are any indication, he isn’t worth the $10+ mil a year he’ll ask for.

That’s why I think we should turn our attention to DE Aaron Kampman, who the Packers declined to place their franchise tag on this week, making him a free agent. He’s a proven commodity that’s thrived as a DE in the 4-3. Here’s the evidence based on his last 3 years in that defense:

Year                       Sacks

2008                       9.5

2007                       12.0

2006                       15.5

When the Pack went to a 3-4 scheme last year, Kampman was forced to play out of a position. Then he got hurt in the 9th game. He’s continuing his rehabilitation and should be ready to go when training camp opens this summer. Kampman’s a Midwest-born-and-raised beast who pours every last ounce of his ability into each and every play. Not to mention the fact he would provide insider knowledge into the strategies of our fiercest rival.

And besides, Bears captain-to-be Alex Brown has already lobbied for the move.

Two moves down…one to go. If the Bears follow the first 2 steps of my 3-part plan, they’ll have addressed their biggest offseason needs – DE and potentially safety (with the selection from the Briggs trade).

Watch for the final piece of my pre-draft player acquisition trilogy in the next few days. We’ll turn our attention to the offensive side of the ball.

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