In 1994, the Chicago Bears’ young head coach continued to imprint his deep stamp on the team. Native son of the same area as his predecessor, the legendary Mike Ditka, Dave Wannstedt wielded personnel control that Ditka could only dream of, and used it to mold his roster the way he saw fit. By the end of Wannstedt’s sophomore season, the young Bears team would have seen surprising highs, surprising lows, and a finish that was every bit as rewarding as it was frustrating.
Wannstedt’s eventual downfall in Chicago would ultimately be a result of his personnel decisions. But his poor personnel decisions seemed to focus more on draft choices than his free agent signings. February 1994 brought the second year of free agency in the NFL, and the Bears were poised to overhaul their offensive roster.
The 1993 Bears had finished near the top in NFL defensive rankings-and near the bottom in offense, so it was obvious where the Bears would focus the majority of their attention. Wannstedt and his personnel advisors publicly stated that they thought the team was a few years away from contending for a Super Bowl. The plan was to build from the core of the team out. No major free agent splashes on a player deemed to be the best as his position in the game (thus overpaid) would be made until a solid overall team was in place. Then, if the team determined that one player may make the difference, the team would spare no expense to sign that person.
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