THE COR­NER­BACKS

Chicago Sun-Times - - BEARS BEAT -

The deals: Alan Ball (one year, $3 mil­lion to­tal, $1 mil­lion guar­an­teed), Tracy Porter (one year, vet­eran min­i­mum).

What hap­pened: Ball got the big­ger deal, but Porter was the bet­ter player. Af­ter start­ing the first three games of 2015, Ball played spar­ingly the rest of the sea­son. Af­ter be­ing slowed by a ham­string in­jury, Porter took over in Week 4 and be­came one of the Bears’ best play­ers. De­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Vic Fan­gio of­ten matched Porter against the op­po­nent’s best re­ceiver. Porter played 81.9 per­cent of the de­fen­sive snaps, break­ing up 22 passes and mak­ing one in­ter­cep­tion.

What it means for ’16: The Bears need a cor­ner­back. Porter will turn 30 in Au­gust and is look­ing to turn his strong sea­son into what might be his fi­nal NFL pay­day. Should the Bears give it to him? Fan­gio has said he wants him back, but cost is ev­ery­thing. Ball, mean­while, is un­likely to re­turn. He will turn 31 this month. Janoris Jenk­ins (Rams) and Sean Smith (Chiefs) are the top cor­ner­backs on the mar­ket.

Tracy Porter

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