Four years, $56 million.
$18 million guaranteed.
Here’s another compilation of Tweets, wrapping up the Bears’ flurry of free agency moves in the last four days and their press conference Thursday. I’ll have a full column Monday morning and Adam Jahns will join me on the podcast next week.
Riding in the car on way to physicals this morning with my guys @Thee_AR15 & @TGdadon1…already talking about this season & the mindset we want to bring up here to Chi-Town! Something special is brewing & I felt it the minute I walked into Halas Hall! #BearDown 🐻⬇
— Chase Daniel (@ChaseDaniel) March 15, 2018
The Bears are really following Eagles blueprint. Take a QB at 2. Hire Andy Reid’s OC as your HC. Surround your QB with weapons for year 2. Get rid of your high-priced “starting” QB. Bring in Chase Daniel as a mentor.
— Mike Mulhern (@MikeyMuls) March 14, 2018
(Jake Roth – USA TODAY Sports)
The “legal tampering period” is another work of staggering genius by Roger Goodell. Instead of having an exciting start to the league year this afternoon, with six hours of team-changing moves, we now have this three-day, amorphous blob of leakage featuring the newest bullshit phrase “intend to”.
Nothing in the NFL improves under Uncle Rog but the television revenues. His contract extension proved nothing else matters to these owners.
Twitter is the place to be on days like yesterday, as the news comes flying in from every direction. (True story. I’m currently starting a theatre company and for some reason scheduled ALL my legal meetings for yesterday. Forgot to check the NFL calendar.) So here are the Tweets telling the story of the Bears newest signings.
Allen Robinson, Cam Meredith, Taylor Gabriel, Trey Burton, Adam Shaheen, Jordan Howard, and Tarik Cohen is a collection of actual NFL players.
— Robert Mays (@robertmays) March 13, 2018
I kinda like the Trey Burton deal – think he can by a dynamic receiving option – but that’s a great example of paying for future potential not past production. We haven’t seen it YET, Bears confident they will.
— Sam Monson (@PFF_Sam) March 13, 2018
A few quick thoughts on what turned out to be a busy and productive day for the Bears:
• They paid more than they wanted to, but the Bears ended up with the best receiver they could possibly acquire this offseason. How could anybody be upset with that? The jury is still out on whether or not Robinson is actually a great receiver. He had one tremendous year followed by a mediocre year then a torn ACL. But he’s better than anyone else they could’ve gotten in free agency or the draft.
• The Bears were always going to be the team Robinson ended up with. Nobody else really had a chance. Pace and pro personnel man Champ Kelly made damn sure of that.
• Signing Trey Burton will help Jordan Howard as much as it will Mitch Trubisky. With his athleticism, Burton is going to allow the Bears to play in two-tight end sets that can’t be defended by base defenses. While he isn’t a good blocker by any stretch of the imagination, he’s still better than a standard slot receiver who would otherwise be on the field against those defenses. The end result should be a lot of soft fronts for Howard to punish.
Per RapSheet it is 3 years, $42 million with $25 million guaranteed.
I like free agency week. It’s fun. It’s real. For the most part, unlike the draft, media and fans can accurately analyze what the acquisition of a certain player means for the acquiring club. (It also inevitably leads to NFL beat writers bitching at one another over “breaking news” and that’s ALWAYS fun.) Some thoughts for the Bears this week.
Yes, the fan base is hungry but free agency is almost never the time to feed them. Spend some money, sure, but spend wisely and spend young. Any long-term guaranteed cash should be invested in players who will be part of the team’s plans for the duration of Mitch Trubisky’s rookie contract.
Don’t overpay for a Jimmy Graham or Trumaine Johnson, guys who will be well into their thirties when the Bears hope to be playing in the last game of the NFL season. The Bears are not the Eagles, trying to win another title. They are not even the Rams, who’ve been able to convince themselves they are on the precipice of a title despite a wildly misleading 2017. They need to be 8-8 or better in 2018. Then plug the final holes next off-season and go for it.
The Bears have two elite interior offensive linemen. They severely hindered the development of Kyle Long by inanely moving him around the line due to a lack of a lack of sufficient talent on the roster. They are now in danger of doing the same to Cody Whitehair. Pick a position. If it’s center, fine. If it’s guard, fine. But make the decision now and approach free agency/draft accordingly.
There’s been a lot of Zach Fulton talk surrounding the Bears and he’s a solid player. But what is he? A guard? A center? If the Bears are going to pay him substantial money, one would hope they’d have that question answered before they sign the first check.
The Bears have two positions of dire need: wide receiver and pass rush. There are no edge rushers worth a damn on the market (and there rarely are). There are plenty of professional receivers available for purchase. Ryan Pace should not worry about whether a guy is a number one-type or a number two-type. He should simply add good, productive bodies to the room and then turn to the draft for getting to the quarterback.
Allen Robinson will be 25 when the 2018 season begins. Albert Wilson will be 26. Are either elite receiving talents? No. But a wide receiving corps of Robinson, Wilson, Cam Meredith, Kendall Wright, Dontrelle Inman and anything from Kevin White is formidable. That’s a winning group at the position.
YOU MAY NOW LEGALLY TAMPER.
As everybody knows, it’s been a rough stretch for the Bears. They’ve won a total of 14 games in the three years since Ryan Pace took over and lost at least 10 games in each of those seasons.
Now many fans, myself included, see a young quarterback in place and a new coaching staff designed to help him succeed. Better times are on the horizon. After all, teams with a good QB on a cheap rookie contract are usually pretty good for most of that deal. If you believe Trubisky will be even an average NFL QB, things should be looking up for the Bears.
But before I get too carried away planning a downtown parade route, I want to look at recent history to get a sense of a realistic best-case scenario for what the Bears’ next few seasons could look like. Again, I want to emphasize this is not what the Bears’ next few seasons will look like. This is an historically realistic, best-case scenario.
But hey, free agency is starting next week and we’re all dreaming big, so let’s have some fun.
The first goal has to be making the playoffs, so let’s start there.
Since the Bears are on a bad three-year run, I looked at all playoff teams since 2007 and tracked their performance in the three years before making the playoffs.
The table below shows averages and low values for wins each season, plus the number of teams (out of 132) who had marks the same as or worse than the Bears. Full data can be seen here.
A lot seemingly going on in the land of the Bears. Let’s take a look at some of it.
There was much debate this off-season about the best approach to Fuller, a player with one of the most tumultuously bizarre starts to an NFL career many can remember. He’s been at turns terrific and terrible, including missing an entire season for injury reasons the organization did not believe were valid.
Ryan Pace had to answer a simple question: did Fuller’s 2017 performance convince him the corner was worthy of top corner money? Applying the transition tag answers that question with a definitive NO. The Bears like Fuller. But if they valued him as a top corner, there were plenty of deals struck at the position last off-season to set the market.
The Bears will now see how the marketplace values Fuller. And they’ll know that if they want him on their 2018 roster, it is fully in their control.
The official email account of DBB receives more action in the lead-up to the draft than at any other time. And thankfully there are now people like Data and Andrew writing here because my god do I find the whole draft process to be a colossal bore. Here are three general thoughts.
(1) Unless a team has designs on one specific player (Bears with Trubisky, Falcons with Julio…etc.) they almost ALWAYS want to trade back. GMs and scouting departments live for this shit. The more times they can get on the clock, the more opportunities they have to pad their resumes. (So stop emailing me and asking me if the Bears want to trade back.)
(2) Ryan Pace has made three first-round picks. Kevin White, a freak athlete who can’t stay on the field. Leonard Floyd, a freak athlete who struggles to stay on the field. Mitch Trubisky, quarterback of the future. But there’s more pressure on this off-season for Pace than any previous one. Don’t be surprised if his approach veers more conservative on draft weekend.
Under Ryan Pace, the Bears have primarily targeted great athletes at positions of need in the first round. After the Combine, there’s no reason to expect that to be different this year. Here is how I suspect the team’s Big Board may look, as of today, with the assumption that top players like Bradley Chubb, Saquon Barkley and Minkah Fitzpatrick will already be off the board.
It’s entirely possible that the Bears are sick of waiting for Jon Bullard to emerge. There’s no reason Bullard shouldn’t have been starting over Mitch Unrein in his second season, but it didn’t happen. The Bears need a third stud up front so they don’t run Akiem Hicks into the ground.
Ridley came in a bit smaller than expected and didn’t test very well, coming in the seventh SPARQ percentile. That doesn’t mean he can’t be a good receiver, but it’s unlikely that he’ll be a great one and probably not worth a top 10 pick. Still, he could be a good option for the Bears if they were to trade back into the middle of the first round. More likely, their best bet will be addressing the receiver position in free agency.
Doesn’t have the size or length the Bears look for at cornerback but he’s such a great athlete, they could overlook that. Generally thought to be the best CB in the draft.
There’s a lot to be said about taking a guard in the top 10 but much of it could be moot if a team were to switch Nelson to tackle. Regardless, I don’t think the Bears would’ve hired the best offensive line coach in the world to take an already-polished guard in the top 10. Harry Hiestand gives the Bears the ability to take a guard in the mid-round and count on him developing into a stud so they can use their premium picks on premium positions.
This is my personal favorite option for the Bears but he falls just short of their arm-length standard. Landry’s arms measured 32.875 inches and if you look back at Pace and Fangio’s recent histories, you’ll see that 17 of the 19 defensive line and edge players their teams have drafted have had arms measuring at least 33 inches with the only exceptions being late round picks. Is Landry close enough? I hope so, but the evidence suggests otherwise.