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Across The Middle: Quick Thoughts On Bears Spending Spree

| March 13th, 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.

• I’m glad the Bears took my advise from my Feb. 14 ATM. Size matters.

• I wouldn’t worry too much about a slot receiver for the Bears. With what they paid Burton, he better be on the field. Between him, Tarik Cohen and Cam Meredith (who played in the slot 52 percent of the time in 2016, per PFF), there aren’t that many snaps to go around.

• The Bears do still need to add some speed though. I expect them to draft a speedster at some point, there are going to be plenty available in the middle rounds.

UPDATE: After this was initially posted the Bears reportedly agreed to terms with Taylor Gabriel. Gabriel is short, but he isn’t a slot receiver (44 receiving yards from the slot in 2017 per PFF). He’ll add speed and the ability to make plays after the catch.

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• The signing I liked the most was probably Cody Parkey. We’ve suffered with bullshit kickers for long enough. Parkey has kicked in Philadelphia and Cleveland so he should be able to handle the Chicago weather.

• Mitch Trubisky has to be feeling a little pressure now, but the job will seem easy in Year Two with the likes of Burton, Meredith, Robinson and Shaheen all on the field at the same time. He had growing pains last year, but having very little talent around him didn’t help.

• The Bears still have a lot of work to do. Phil Emery won every offseason and nobody gives a shit now. But they needed better players and they did a good job of adding young talent. Now, they have to put it all together. It’s a player’s league a bad coach can win with great players, but a great coach can’t win with bad players. This was a great start to Pace’s offseason.

• How the hell did Sam Bradford get $20 million? He’s made of glass.

• Remember on Monday when the Packers were supposedly in the mix to sign Robinson, Watkins, Burton and pretty much every other high-priced free agent? People long blamed Ted Thompson for not signing free agents, the reality is free agents don’t want to go to Green Bay. Ron Wolf didn’t blow up free agency either. The Packers are the team agents use as a pawn and their fans fall for it every year. (Minutes after this was posted, Adam Schefter reported the Packers were going to sign Jimmy Graham. I don’t care, they can have a 31-year-old tight end who is clearly declining).

• Kirk Cousins might not produce significantly more than Case Keenum did for the Vikings, but they can rely on his production going forward. There was no way of knowing if Keenum could play that well again, but Cousins has put together three years with more than 4,000 yards and 25 touchdowns. As long as the Vikings get that kind of production from their passing game, they’ll be contenders. They’ll lose key defensive players, but Rick Spielman and Mike Zimmer know how to build that side of the ball.

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