The Chicago Bears have found a lot of success during their history, but even they aren’t immune from bad free agent signings. Let’s take a look at the first worst free-agent signings in Bears history.
5. Orlando Pace
Orlando Pace had a very nice NFL career, but by the time he signed with the Bears, his time in the league was all but done. Pace signed a three-year deal worth $15 million to help sure up the offensive line before the 2009 season. Pace played the first 11 games of the season, but he was a shell of his old self. He suffered a groin injury, which marked the end of his time in the league. Even though he had the one bad year with the Bears, he was still named to the Hall of Fame because of his play with the St. Louis Rams.
4. Kordell Stewart
Kordell Stewart signed a two-year deal worth $5 million before the 2003 season to be the team’s starting quarterback. The Bears tried to get cheap bringing in Stewart—and it didn’t work out well. Stewart ended up starting seven games during the 2003 season, not impressing anyone with his play. He completed a little over 50 percent of his passes in his seven starts, but the big issue was with the interceptions, throwing 12 of them.
The good news for the Bears with that signing was it was only worth $5 million, but shopping in the bargain bin for a starting quarterback wasn’t the best option for the Bears.
3. Cody Parkey
When a player costs a team a playoff game, they have to be included on this list.
In March of 2018, the Bears signed Cody Parkey to a four-year deal, hoping that he could be the long-term solution to their kicking game woes. Parkey was solid before coming to the Bears, but during the regular season in 2018 he made only 76.7 percent of his kicks. The regular season was bad, but what puts him on the list is what he did during the playoffs.
Against the Philadelphia Eagles in the wild card round, the Bears’ offense had driven down the field with Parkey only needing to make the kick to advance to the next round. He double-doinked the attempt, which led to the Bears’ loss and his release later.
2. Thomas Smith
The Bears, throughout their history, have given big long-term deals to players who hadn’t proven up to that point in their career that they deserved it. Cornerback Thomas Smith wasn’t even considered a shutdown player when the Bears brought him in, but that didn’t stop them from giving him a five-year deal worth $22.5 million before the 2020 season.
He played all 16 games that season for the Windy City franchise, but didn’t do a whole lot of anything. He wasn’t good in coverage and didn’t create turnovers. During the following training camp, the Bears decided to move on from him and bite the bullet with the money that remained on his contract.
1. Mike Glennon
In 2017, Mike Glennon was brought in to be the starting quarterback for the Bears on a three-year contract that could pay him as much $45 million ($18.5 million of that was guaranteed at the time of signing).
When the Bears signed him, he had gone 5-13 as a starter with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. For some teams, that might have scared them off, but the Bears still thought he could be the future of the team. Glennon ended up starting only four games with the Bears, leading the team to victory in only one of them. The Bears have had trouble finding that franchise quarterback since then, but it was clear before the contract was even signed that Glennon wasn’t going to be the guy.