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Three Thoughts on Potential Allen Robinson Tag-and-Trade

| February 25th, 2021

(1) The only time I’ve gotten a scoop wrong on Twitter was during a conversation I had with Robinson last spring, suggesting he would be extended shortly. That suggestion came from directly inside the organization and there was a firm belief the deal was done. It was not. Robinson wanted more. (Way more.) And now it seems ARob has taken his situation to the media in hopes of avoiding the franchise tag and securing about a $100 million contract.

That same individual inside the organization told me this week the team has NOT ruled out a long-term deal with Robinson. An extension is still their best case scenario, despite what Robinson says publicly.

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(2) Tagging Robinson is a no brainer. And if any team is willing to part with a first-round pick for him, the Bears should not even hesitate to make that move. As Andrew wrote Tuesday, if trading Robinson makes it possible for the Bears to acquire a potential franchise QB, nothing else matters. Make the deal. If the Bears don’t find themselves acquiring an established starter (Watson, Carr) before the draft, they must come out of that first round with a quarterback to inspire the fan base and give hope for the future. With two first rounders, that should be fairly easy to accomplish.

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(3) This piece at CBS from Cody Benjamin has a passage I simply don’t understand:

If Chicago hasn’t met his demands by now, it’s hard to believe the team will retain him any longer, unless it’s on the franchise tag Robinson doesn’t want.

Who cares what Robinson wants? This is a business. The Bears are not going to determine whether or not to tag Robinson based upon the player’s preferences! It’s been amazing to see national writers only see the team’s options as tagging (and keeping) him or letting him go onto the open market.

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Wednesday Lynx Package

| February 24th, 2021


Some days we just have to fill the space around here. This is one of those days. Here are some links worth reading.

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ATM: Trading Robinson Could Help Bears Land Franchise QB

| February 23rd, 2021

It certainly doesn’t seem as if the Chicago Bears are going to be re-signing Allen Robinson to a long-term extension, which means they have to find a way to make his exit a positive for the future of the franchise. The best way to do that is by moving him in a deal that would help the team draft the next franchise quarterback.

As I wrote last week, the team’s options at quarterback are relatively limited and trading up would cost them more picks than most GMs would be comfortable with unloading. Their most valuable asset could be Robinson through a tag and trade scenario.

In recent years, worse receivers have been traded for first round picks, so that’s where the bidding could start for Robinson. Last year, Stefon Diggs was traded for the 22nd pick and some change after a season in which he caught just 63 passes. Considering he’ll be on the franchise tag with a hefty raise coming, it’s not unreasonable to consider Robinson as having the same value as Diggs.

Trading Robinson makes the Bears future prospects at least a little more interesting.

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Three Mocks and a Strange, Recurring Theme

| February 18th, 2021


Sometimes as a silly hobby, specifically in years where the Bears might draft an early quarterback, I find myself scouring mocks in February to see which way the wind is blowing. Yesterday, I looked at three such mocks.

Daniel Jeremiah at NFL.com had the Bears taking a wide receiver at number 20.

Kadarius Tony, WR, Florida

The Bears are going to need more offensive playmakers whether pending free agent Allen Robinson is re-signed or not.

Chris Trapasso at CBS had the Bears taking an offensive lineman at 20.

Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL, USC

Vera-Tucker is a valuable prospect because we’ve seen two high-caliber seasons from him at different positions (guard then tackle).

John Clayton at the Washington Post (apparently) had the Bears also taking a receiver at 20.

Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota

The Bears might have to place the franchise tag on wide receiver Allen Robinson to keep him for another season, but regardless, getting another receiver will be important. He has great ability and good size at 6-2, 210.

But something stood out in both the Jeremiah and Clayton mocks. In both, New Orleans selected Mac Jones (QB, Alabama) eight picks later as the their apparently to Drew Brees.

It would be one thing to have the Bears passing on quarterback if these evaluators did not see a player worthy of selection at this stage of the draft. But if they both think Jones is good enough to be a first-round pick, and good enough for offensive guru Sean Payton, why on earth would they have the Bears passing on him?

Let me just state what should be an obvious fact. If the Bears have a first-round (or early second-round) grade on a quarterback and that quarterback is available when they’re on the clock at 20, they MUST take him. You can have all the good receivers and offensive linemen in the world but until this franchise solves the quarterback position, the rest of it doesn’t matter.

Take as many swings as necessary until you make contact.

That starts with this first round pick.

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ATM: Wentz Might Be Best Option for Bears

| February 17th, 2021

The carousel.

While many are expecting the 2021 offseason to be a busy one when it comes to quarterback movement, it’s worth wondering if the current pause in the carousel just might be permanent and if the Chicago Bears need to find their guy soon.

The pause is because of Deshaun Watson.

While he has requested a trade and, reportedly, insists he won’t play for the Houston Texans anymore, the Texans are still without a real good reason to trade him. Perhaps refusing to trade Watson would look bad for Houston but in the long run, if they refuse to move him, Watson will have to either show up or retire. The latter option would likely mean repaying some of his signing bonus. All signs point to Houston not budging, at least for the foreseeable future.

If Watson isn’t moved soon, Derek Carr surely won’t be. The Raiders would be idiotic to move Carr without a surefire upgrade in place and it certainly appears they don’t see Marcus Mariota as that upgrade. The 49ers are also likely to stand pat with Jimmy G, though the latter likely wouldn’t be seen as a surefire starting option anyway, given his injury history.

You can bet Russell Wilson won’t be traded and the Packers have insisted they won’t move Aaron Rodgers. (He wouldn’t be available to the Bears anyway, but could cause another domino to fall.)

So, where does that leave teams like the Bears and the Colts?

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Deja Vu: Bears Need to Be More Explosive

| February 16th, 2021

I’ve been tracking explosive plays for a few years now because they have a strong relationship to points scored. To put it simply, good offenses produce plenty of big plays. Let’s look at how Chicago did in this department in last season.


Basic Overview

The table below shows how many explosive passes, runs, and total plays the Bears produced in 2020, as well as how those results ranked compared to the rest of the NFL. Explosive passes are those that gain 20+ yards, while explosive runs gained 15+ yards. All data is from Pro Football Reference, and explosive play data is from the Game Play Finder.

A few thoughts:

  • If these results look awfully familiar, it’s because they are. The Bears were the least explosive team in the NFL in 2019 with 49 explosive plays. If you want to look on the bright side, this year actually showed a slight improvement, though they were still one of the least explosive offenses in the league.
  • You can view the full results here, but Chicago’s totals put them right in line with teams like the Washington Football Team, Giants, Jets, and Bengals. Yuck.
  • I found last offseason that there is very little year-to-year correlation for explosive plays. Based on this, you could argue that finishing horribly in this category 2 years in a row is random bad luck, but I’m more inclined to think it’s an indictment on the personnel and/or scheme.

Explosive Players

I also want to look briefly at who produced the explosive plays. I want to caution that I’ve found there is very little year-over-year consistency in these results, so a player having an explosive or non-explosive 2020 doesn’t necessarily guarantee it will repeat in 2021.

Let’s start with a look at the quarterbacks, and I want to note that passes here include sacks for a more accurate reflection of total pass plays.

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Three Off-Season Approach Questions with [REDACTED]

| February 15th, 2021


The NFL personnel man I refer to as [REDACTED] has been a friend of mine for more than a decade. He’s not a cultivated source. He’s a guy in a high-profile NFL gig and his family lives in my neighborhood. He’s also one of my most valuable resources in the league. So I asked him three questions.

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DBB: I won’t ask you to weigh-in on the Houston situation, or any other front office, but give me your general response to the Deshaun Watson availability.

[REDACTED]: Unthinkable. But based on what is happening down there, totally predictable. I will weigh-in on Houston. Nick (Caserio) aside, those are not good people running the program. Deshaun is above all a truly good person. He sees the caliber of individual leaving the organization and the caliber of individual staying and he knows which groups he belongs in.

As for the trade itself, I don’t envy Nick’s position. Three first round picks are nice but they’re not Deshaun, you know what I mean? You can hit on all three and not equal the value of a player of his status and ability. And none of the quarterbacks rumored to be in the packages back to Houston are half the player he is. Nick almost has to take this further along so he can convince his fans he had no other choice but to trade him. He has to exhaust his options.

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DBB: Many Bears fans believe Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy are in a “lame duck” season. I’m not one of those people, but it seems to be the general perception. You’ve been in a front office, in that spot. Can you describe the experience?

[REDACTED]: Yeah, it sucks. 

First thing, and I have told you this previously, nobody I spoke with believed Ryan or Matt was getting fired. And if they were, both would have been hired again within 12 hours if they wanted. I would have pushed hard for us to bring Ryan in but he’d more than likely go back to Sean. 

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