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Camp Has Started. Let’s Grade Chicago’s Roster.

| July 24th, 2018

Let’s take an objective look at this Bears roster, grading each unit on a 1-10 scale, with 1 being the worst in the NFL, 10 being the best in the NFL, and 5 being an average NFL grouping. I am going to try to avoid projecting too much for young players who have not yet proven it in the NFL, so some of these rankings might be a bit lower than expected.

Let’s get right down to it!


Quarterback: 3.5

Key players: Mitchell Trubisky, Chase Daniel

Roster depth: Tyler Bray

I have a feeling this rating will be higher by the end of the 2018 season, but right now I can’t go any higher than a 3.5 out of 10. Mitchell Trubisky got steadily better as his rookie season progressed, but he still didn’t play that great, and while people seem to love Chase Daniel as a backup, he’s only thrown 78 passes over 8 seasons in the NFL.


Running Back: 8

Key players: Jordan Howard, Tarik Cohen

Roster depth: Benny Cunningham, Michael Burton, Taquan Mizzell, Ryan Nall

Welcome to the best position group on the Bears’ roster. Jordan Howard has run for over 2400 yards the last 2 years, and Tarik Cohen is a perfect complement who can make explosive plays on limited touches. Howard’s struggles through the air are the only thing keeping this grade from being higher, but the duo should be very productive in 2018 if used correctly. The depth here is solid as well; Benny Cunningham is a good ST contributor and solid 3rd down back, and people seem to like UDFA Ryan Nall as a sleeper.


Wide Receiver: 5

Key players: Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, Anthony Miller, Kevin White

Roster depth: Josh Bellamy, Bennie Fowler, DeMarcus Ayers, Marlon Brown, Javon Wims, Tanner Gentry, Matt Fleming, Garrett Johnson

For all of the focus spent on improving the wide receiver position this offseason, it’s hard to call this group anything more than average right now.

  • Allen Robinson is coming off a knee injury and hasn’t been dominant since 2015,
  • Taylor Gabriel is a WR3 getting paid like and relied upon like a WR2.
  • Kevin White is now on injury comeback #3.
  • Anthony Miller is a rookie, albeit a highly drafted one who is expected to contribute right away.
  • Josh Bellamy and Bennie Fowler are quality special teams players and solid depth at WR if they end up in the WR5/6 roles.

These players are all excellent fits for Chicago’s new offense, and there’s potential for a really good group here if all goes well, but you can’t bank on that until you see it on the field.


Tight Ends: 3

Key players: Trey Burton, Adam Shaheen, Dion Sims

Roster depth: Daniel Brown, Ben Braunecker, Colin Thompson

This is a ranking that will probably surprise some people, but for all of the investment the Bears have made in this position (two big contracts and a 2nd round pick), we have yet to see it translate to the field. Trey Burton’s best season saw him garner 327 receiving yards, which would have ranked 29th in the NFL among tight ends last year, Adam Shaheen has 14 NFL targets, and Dion Sims had an atrocious 2017 season and has never even gotten 300 yards in one year.

If Burton is as good as the Bears believe (and have paid him to be) and Shaheen takes the next step, this could be one of the best tight end groups in the NFL, but right now there is a distinct lack of proven production.


Offensive Tackles: 5

Key players: Charles Leno Jr., Bobby Massie, Bradley Sowell

Roster depth: Dejon Allen, Matt McCants

I think this group is pretty much the definition of average. Leno has established himself as a solid but not great NFL LT, while Massie is a guy who’s just good enough to not get replaced when the roster has bigger needs. That duo might merit a 6 as being slightly-above-average, but the lack of depth behind them tips it down to a 5. Bradley Sowell doesn’t exactly inspire confidence as the swing tackle, and there is nobody young who can realistically be expected to develop into a useful NFL player.


Interior OL: 7

Key players: Kyle Long, Cody Whitehair, James Daniels, Eric Kush

Roster depth: Hroniss Grasu, Jordan Morgan, Earl Watford, Will Pericak, Brandon Greene, Rashaad Coward

This was one of the hardest groups on the roster for me to grade. It could end up as one of the NFL’s best if Kyle Long remains healthy and rookie James Daniels is as good as advertised, but Cody Whitehair is the only sure thing I see. Eric Kush is a top backup here, and Earl Watford has significant starting experience. That depth is enough for me to consider them well above average for now.


Defensive Line: 7.5

Key players: Akiem Hicks, Eddie Goldman, Jonathan Bullard, Roy Robertson-Harris

Roster depth: Bilal Nichols, John Jenkins, Abdullah Anderson, Nick Williams, Cavon Walker, Bunmi Rotimi

Akiem Hicks is the best player on the Bears’ roster, and Eddie Goldman is somewhere in their top 5 or 10. Those two push this group up to being one of the Bears’ best, but the questions around them keep it from being considered among the top units in the NFL.

Bullard and RRH both played solid football in spurts last year, but will be asked to do more in bigger roles. If they can do that, Vic Fangio can feel comfortable rotating Hicks out more, which should keep him fresher and more productive as the season wears on.


Outside Linebackers: 2

Key players: Leonard Floyd, Sam Acho, Aaron Lynch, Kylie Fitts

Roster depth: Isaiah Irving, Andrew Trumbetti, Jonathan Anderson, Kasim Edebali, Elijah Norris

This is the worst group on Chicago’s roster by a fairly sizable margin. It’s never a good thing when three of your four key players are Aaron Lynch, Sam Acho, and a 6th round pick.

Lynch hasn’t looked like a starting-caliber player since 2015. Acho is a 4th OLB/STer competing for a starting spot. Leonard Floyd has been more solid than spectacular and has struggled to stay on the field. This has to be considered one of the worst collections of edge rushers in the NFL. If Floyd gets hurt again, the lack of pass rush could torpedo Chicago’s entire defense.


Inside Linebackers: 6

Key players: Danny Trevathan, Roquan Smith, Nick Kwiatkoski

Roster depth: John Timu, Joel Iyiegbuniwe, Josh Woods, Ro’Derrick Hoskins

This is another group I had trouble evaluating. Danny Trevathan is really good when he’s healthy, but he’s not healthy enough. Roquan Smith was a top 10 pick who is a favorite to win defensive rookie of the year, but he hasn’t taken an NFL snap yet. Nick Kwiatkoski has been ok through two years, and is a solid 3rd ILB. If Trevathan stays healthy and Smith is as good as expected, this will be one of the best groupings in the NFL. As it is, I think slightly above average is a fair placement for now.


Cornerbacks: 6

Key players: Kyle Fuller, Prince Amukamara, Bryce Callahan, Cre’Von LeBlanc, Marcus Cooper, Sherrick McManis

Roster depth: Michael Joseph, Doran Grant, Deiondre’ Hall, Kevin Toliver II, Jonathan Mincy, John Franklin III, Rashard Fant

Another group I think is slightly above average. Kyle Fuller had a breakout 2017 season that he needs to back up, Prince Amukamara is a boring but competent CB2, and Bryce Callahan is quietly a good nickel when healthy. LeBlanc and Cooper should provide solid depth (although Cooper was awful in 2017), while McManis is a great special teams player.

The biggest thing keeping this group from moving any higher is the lack of turnovers. The top trio combined for only 4 interceptions last year, and in 13 combined NFL seasons have only caught 17 balls.


Safeties: 5

Key players: Eddie Jackson, Adrian Amos

Roster depth: Deon Bush, DeAndre Houston-Carson, Nick Orr

The starting duo of Jackson and Amos probably deserves a 6 or 7 after their performance in 2017, and I think EJ should be significantly better in his 2nd year. But the lack of turnovers, especially from Amos, also keeps the grade down here. More importantly, the depth-or lack thereof-is terrifying, and that has to affect the grade. What happens if either Jackson or Amos get hurt? Bush has looked simply awful through two seasons, DHC is a special teams guy only, and Nick Orr is an undrafted rookie. I can’t believe the Bears haven’t signed a veteran for some injury insurance yet.


Specialists: 6

Key players: K Cody Parkey, P Pat O’Donnell, LS Patrick Scales

Roster depth: P Ryan Winslow

The kicker spot has been a nightmare for the Bears since Robbie Gould left town, but Cody Parkey should settle that down as a solidly above-average kicker. Pat O’Donnell is an average punter who will compete with Ryan Winslow in camp, and Patrick Scales never really does anything to make you notice him, which is precisely what you want from a long snapper.


Overall: 5

If you average all of these numbers together, they give a 5.3, which is just slightly above average. I feel like that’s about right for the Bears, who are likely still a year away from being a playoff team. A few other observations:

  • The offense (5.25) and defense (5.3) are also roughly the same, with the defense being slightly higher. I also feel like that’s about right, though I think there’s more room for the offense to outplay these grades.
  • Few of the units are really good or really bad; 9 of the 12 graded out between a 3 and a 7. That’s good news in that most of the weaknesses have been rendered adequate (except at OLB), but the Bears still need more top-shelf players and units to emerge as the focal point of their team. The good news is that, for the first time in a while, they actually have young talent that could do that. They need players like Trubisky, Miller, Floyd, and Smith to play like stars.

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  • 1. That’s how I would grade the OLB/Rush position (and no, NOT #1)

    Floyd, Fitts and Lynch are INJ prone. And as Jeff says, even IF they stay healthy, they’re not going to terrorize any OC (barring some crazy Mark Anderson scenario)

    I think for the most part you graded them correctly, Data.

    Sometimes fans get carried away and assume Robinson, Burton, RRH…are AP when they haven’t proven squat yet on the Bears (remember when Glennon was supposed to be Flacco, Shaheen Baby Gronk, and Demps Eric Berry?)

    Guys that can dramatically improve the team who I’m keeping an eye on.

    Anthony Miller. He has that Mocha Ninja buzz around him. Hopefully he comes out of the gates balling like him

    Kush. I liked what he did when healthy, and we all know Long isn’t for long.

    Morgan. I can’t help but think they’re gonna groom him to replace Massie. He’s 6’3 320. He played LT in college. He has close to 35″ arms. Just gotta get his feet out of the cement.

    Tolliver. I love Callahan, but he’s always hurt. Tolliver is already turning heads. He’s long and hungry.

    Nichols. Trade of all jacks, master of none? If he’s good, he can maybe spell all 3 DL positions.

    Kwiat. I know, the def of a backup, but word is, they may move him out to OLB. Maybe he gets new life out there as a sorta SAM.

    Fitts, IF he stays healthy. Hail mary…

    • SC Dave

      I know we’re desperate for OLBs, but I’m a little leery of moving Kwiat. Everyone seems to agree the kid isn’t bad, and represents solid depth at ILB. I suspect depth will be tested eventually replacing Trevathan, and I’d rather have Nick in there than the other guys (at least so far; Iyiegbuniwe could be a find).

      One thing to watch is what Pace does when the big cut days happen at camps throughout the league. No doubt they have their eyes on some OLBs.

      Yes, I know they will have been cut for a reason, but the Bears could still find someone better than they have.

      • Unlike Hall, I don’t consider Kwiat a bust because he has contributed and is a borderline starter. Sure, would like to find PBers in mid-rds, but borderline starters are not busts, in my book.

        That being said, how much better is Kwiat than Christian Jones? Prolly not much, so I guess one could make the argument from that perspective that Kwiat is a bust.

        Jones is gone, right?

        And Fangio covets versatility, so maybe he makes Kwiat his white Jones – an ILB first, but can play some OLB and specials too, which increases his value.

        ..

        As for OLBs cut, we may be first in line, for sure.

        Most cut players want to join teams they know they’ll have a good shot of playing, and since we’re so thin at OLB, plus Fangios good rep, we might have first dibs at the top cut OLB on the market.

        But, like you mentioned, most likely he’ll come with some flag – age, medical, character, heart, etc…

        • SC Dave

          Jones signed with Detroit (edit: two years, $6.35M with $2.8M guaranteed).

          Yes, Kwiat already plays specials, and pretty well from what I’ve read. He’s a keeper this season, and maybe for another contract – we’ll see I suppose.

          You should go back to your first book, where borderline starters are not busts. I have to agree with that; he was, after all, a 4th round pick.

    • I actually think Toliver is more insurance for Prince getting hurt again, if Toliver beats out Cooper. The backup nickel is LeBlanc. That’s a different role than outside CB, which is where Toliver has been playing. You don’t want your nickel CB being a big tall guy like Toliver.

      • His frame is def more L/RCB. I think Nagy even mentioned he almost looks like a S.

        But a tallish nickle isn’t unheard of. It would be good training for him since in many ways nickle is harder to play because they can’t use the sideline to help

        Then, if Prince gets INJ again, Tolliver can just slide over.

        Both Prince and Callahan are INJ prone.

        I don’t wanna see LeBlanc out there. We know what he is. A guy who can make plays, for both teams. Can’t really depend on that.

        If Tolliver continues making INTs with pads on, they’ll find a way to use him. Heck, maybe even at S. He’s 6’2 205.

        Eddie Jackson is 6’0 202, and Amos is 6’0 214
        His frame should be able to gain like 10pounds, and maybe he could replace S?

        Long shot, but who knows…

        • I think with a UDFA rookie, you don’t want to overload him with too much. Keep him at boundary CB and hope he does enough to earn the top backup role there.

          Maybe in future years you think about a different role, but for this year that’s what I would do.

          • leftcoastdave

            Why even think of moving him out of boundary CB. That’s the money slot to keep him in and a great pickup.

  • Johnnywad

    Nice read Wood. It would be interesting to see a similar write up at season’s end.

  • CanadaBear

    Good stuff JW. I could quibble over a couple of grades but it would be splitting hairs. Just have to keep in mind this isn’t the final roster going into the season. Some guys will get hurt, some will get cut and hopefully some solid players that were cut are picked up.

    • There’s always a few guys who surprise and a few who disappoint. No way to know who will be who.

      I for one think QB, TE, and WR all end up much better than their current rankings by the end of the year. I could see CB and S ending up lower though.

      • CanadaBear

        That’s for sure. You know there will be some movement in a lot of these groups. As always, I want to believe they are better but I’m still predicting 8-8 and your rankings are right there in the middle.

        If things go South even further at OLB I could see Smith becoming more of a blitzing threat from the middle of the D.

      • Amos and Fuller are my biggest fears for regression.

        Amos was Meh the first two seasons. Fuller wth knows how he’s gonna play after his shaky start and getting paid?

        I can’t really think of anyone on O, namely, because we have a whole new WR corp, and Shaheen is blocking Y

        The Oline I expect to be the same or better, and Trub can’t possibly be worse with Fox gone.

        • I’m personally not that worried about Fuller. He was quietly really good down the stretch in 2015 too. I said all last offseason he was the best CB on the roster, and that proved to be true. IMO he’s not a one-year wonder.

          I’m worried about Prince more than anybody on the D in terms of regression. Last year was his best in a long time, and he’s ALWAYS hurt.

          • And as for Amos, I think he’s fine as long as Jackson stays healthy. Playing next to Jackson allowed Amos to be asked to do what he’s good at and not play where he struggles.

        • Big Mike

          Are you a believer that teams play better with more emotion? Do you believe that extending an offensive series or two per game last year (basically eliminating 1 or 2 three and outs), might be a benefit to the defense? What if the Bears offensive actually scored in the first quarter? Imagine if they could be counted on to put up 21+ points a game. I believe that besides another years experience and Roquan Smith, the improvements to the offense will be the biggest factor in the defense improving next year.

          • Johnnywad

            Precisely.

          • You’re projecting that the O be good. We don’t know that yet.
            And once we get into projections, it’s a slippery slope.

            Like I can start projecting that Lynch won’t even make that team, and that Fitts, Floyd, Prince, and Callahan will get INJ, then we’re right back to square one.

            That being said, it’s hard to imagine the O being WORSE than under Fox.

          • Big Mike

            It all starts with even the most modest improvement. 1 or 2 fewer three and outs alone, makes this defense better. I know you watched games closely. I know you thought this. If only the Bears would get a first down, the defense is playing great. Then they go 3 and out and the D has to battle again.

        • SC Dave

          I don’t imagine Fuller not balling because he got paid would go over very well with Hicks. Not well at all.

          And that is one man I’d rather not have angry with me.

          • CanadaBear

            I really doubted Fuller going into last season. Part of the reason I was so surprised he missed the entire year was due to pedigree. Family full of competitive brothers that also have NFL experience. The flip side of that was I wasn’t worried about him being all that worked up over Fangio’s comments. I was thrilled he played so well last year and happy that he’s signed for 4 years. Still never heard a good explanation about the knee recovery taking so long.

          • Last year Prince was motivating Fuller by saying stuff like ” you gotta get paid”.

            And it worked. He had his best year.

            One year earlier, Fangio was calling him a pussy.

            Dunno if it was reverse psychology or what, but it always raises my eyebrow when players magically have their best season right b4 they hit FA.

          • “Modestly” Huge Bears Penis

            Before the last 2 years the D did not have an identity. There were few players that held teammates accountable. The player additions the last 2 years and Fangio turned that around. Prince is probably that guy in the secondary that stepped up and is holding the rest of the secondary accountable.

          • I agree on Prince. He was a much needed mentor to Fuller. Think that’s a huge reason why Pace extended him, as a packaged deal.

            If he keeps the secondary in check, and Hicks and Tre the rest, that should be a solid motivated D.

            That’s the one good thing I give Fox some credit. No one totally checked out on him like BBQ Briggs.

        • BenderMcLugh

          Amos’ issues early on were in his head if I remember, not being in position and taking bad angles on tackles. If he regresses to that shit again, yeeash, but I don’t see it happening.

  • Big Mike

    If 5 is average and the bears are a 5.3 that’s an 8-8 season. If you’ve only rated the QB on past performance, which is fair, 5.3 is low. Not going to go into all the reasons, we’ve all seen and read about what a disaster the Bears offense was last year. So let’s nudge that score up a bit and now maybe we project to a 9 win team and that’s in the hunt. Now I’m happy 🙂

  • KentuckyBearsFan

    Damn it, I was expecting 10s across the board.

  • CanadaBear

    In case you’re as sick of all the 49’ers Lynch is a genius BS as I am, here’s a good read about bloated contracts. #1 is an eye-opener.

    http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/24107215/nfl-20-most-outsized-contracts-adjusting-position-2018

    • SC Dave

      Yeah, but his entire three year contract is $15.5 million. So at most they “overpaid” $10M max over three years. Peanuts.

      • “Modestly” Huge Bears Penis

        For a FB? They aren’t used by most teams. So not in great demand. If Pace gave out that contract it would be bitched about for years.

        • BenderMcLugh

          dude went to Haavaad. He’s earned his millions.

      • CanadaBear

        Maybe peanuts to you but that extra $3.5 mil/yr could be put to much better use considering the salcap. When you look at it percentage wise for the position he’s out by 50-65% over other contracts.

        • Big Mike

          Overpaid, bad move.

    • Johnnywad

      None of them Bears. Good news.

      That Jimmy G contract situation was enough for me to have stayed away were I a GM. He looked really good. He looked like a bonafide NFL starter for 6 games. But my God, what a trick bag you get yourself into acquiring him with such a short resume and a contract due. Plus he’s already what, 4 seasons into his career? Time will sort all of this out, but I prefer the path the Bears are on at the position.

  • “Modestly” Huge Bears Penis

    Josh Gordon having problems with anxiety… if only there was something he could take or possibly smoke that would help him out.

    https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2018/07/24/report-josh-gordon-is-dealing-with-mental-health-and-anxiety-issues/

    • BenderMcLugh

      lol right? I really wonder how long after legalization it’ll actually take the NFL to get on board with medicinal cannabis treatments. My guess is the owners will take their sweet time

      • Russian Hacked Pacebot 2.0

        dude, he wasn’t using it medicinally, he was getting high as fuck and driving around and getting his party on.

        That’s like saying I drink awesome Martinique Rum all weekend for medicinal purposes.

        • BenderMcLugh

          woah woah Nelly, wasn’t trying to say he was being responsible before, hell no

        • BenderMcLugh

          and of COURSE rum is medicinal, preferrably in large quantities. works best when slowly administered on a beach.

        • leftcoastdave

          The fact of the matter is that medicinal use is quite efficacious for pain, including topical applications and as a muscle relaxer. I know quite a few people who are off narcotics in favor of reefer without the madness. (See what I did there?)

      • Big Mike

        grumpy ol white dudes associating weed with heroin

  • ButtonShoes

    Five? Higher than I think, but a fairly reasonable analysis of all the groups on the roster.

    • Johnnywad

      So you agree with the analysis and find it reasonable but disagree with math?

      • ButtonShoes

        I think the corners and D-Line are a little worse than what Data thinks. The idea that math of any kind is involved here, though…that’s ridiculous. These are subjective ratings, ones that I mostly happen to agree with. The only thing the numbers are conveying here is feel. That’s not math, in the literal sense.

        • Johnnywad

          Yeah I don’t get that at all. The whole piece is written with grading the group as the focus. How could you possibly grade it without some means of quantifying it? Seems you largely agree with his grades. He took those grades and averages them…….math.

          I’ll bet you could be pressed to put a number on it.

        • You think the corners and Dline are over rated?

          Goldman and Hicks would be like 9s (both I think are Top 5 at their positions). That’s 2/3rds of the Dline, while yes, the rest would be lucky to be 5s, so are you more referring to the depth of Bullard, RRH, Nichols, etc?

          CB is probably the strength of this entire team.

          Everyone talks about Fuller, but last yr teams were targeting Fuller instead of Prince. I couldn’t figure out why, but it was def a trend, which leads me to believe that OCs actually think Prince is the superior CB (when healthy)

          Callahan I love, he’s just been INJ prone.

          Those 3 starters aren’t ballhawks like Data mention, but that’s a good group I’d put at 8.5ish

          The back-ups, well again, reason they’re backups. McMannais is a pure sp teamer, but that’s common for most teams to carry a CB sp teamer.

          They’re banking on either Tolliver or Cooper to emerge at L/RCB, while LeBlanc is not ideal at nickle, but he does have experience and some playmaking skills who can sub in a pinch

  • AlbertInTucson
    • EnderWiggin

      I worked in the newspaper industry for 25 years. They are all screwed. The editorial staff is just the beginning – soon the pressroom, prepress, and mailroom are going to get the hammer.

      • SC Dave

        Newspapers don’t need editorial staffs any more. They have nothing but editorial writers “reporting” the news.

  • That Guy

    I really don’t get all the hyperventilating about Amos.

    Maybe he’ll continue to improve from 2017. Or maybe he’ll regress to 2016.

    Or maybe, considering he brings the wood, he’ll get suspended 4 games for hitting too hard, and be injured for another 4. Then it won’t matter if he’s good or sucks, because he’ll be out for half the season.

    And that’s the futility of trying to pick a literal fight over the merits (or lack thereof) of any particular player.That

  • leftcoastdave

    Liking this a lot:

    “Iowa senior defensive tackle Matt Nelson is 6-8, 295 pounds. He hopes to be a surgeon someday, though it should be pointed out that he’d also excel as a James Bond villain or a bouncer at a biker bar.

    Yet Nelson doesn’t mind admitting it: The real freak at the line of scrimmage during practices last season was center James Daniels. Nelson went head-to-head against the 6-4, 295-pound Bears rookie on dozens of snaps every practice.

    “Pretty much every play,” he said Tuesday at a gathering of Big Ten coaches, top players and media at the downtown Marriott. “He’s probably the quickest offensive lineman I’ve ever played against. He’s just a freak athlete, honestly. And if you just walked in the room, you would not guess that he’s that freaky of an athlete. Just his change of direction alone is unreal.”

    https://chicago.suntimes.com/sports/bears-rookie-james-daniels-still-drawing-raves-from-iowa-coach-teammates/

  • “Modestly” Huge Bears Penis

    It was stated on ESPN that the unsigned 1st round drafted players all have the same Agent, with the exception of Baker Mayfield.

    • AlbertInTucson

      Mere coincidence, I’m sure.

    • I was wrong. The agents aren’t colluding, namely cuz it’s the same agent. Convenient.

      Roq better be careful. Chicago’s can be a rough town for hold outs. Benson was in the dog house since day 1 and never got out.

  • EnderWiggin

    Todd Gurley received more $$ ($14m/year) than Pitt offered Bell last year. RB market could get crazy the next few years, and that sucks for us.

    • AlbertInTucson

      But Bell is smiling today.

    • NFL is so schizo with HBs. On the one hand, they try to draft them outside the 1st RD.
      Except if the HB is “generational”, which is like every draft, in which case, draft them top 10 (and then there’s always the race to trade up for them at the top of the 2nd)

      Then they don’t want to pay them when they do live up to the hype (like Bell), but other teams are more than happy to dish it out (like Gurley, and AP in the past).

      Some believe in an old school feature back (Bell), some are more than happy just plugging HBs into a 3-man committee (Pats, Eagles, etc) and letting them walk when they demand too much.

      And every year it seems a good vet HB is available (Demarco Murray), yet every year, some mid-rd HB no one heard of always busts out and rushes for 1,000 +

      HB has to be the position with the craziest range.

      And I wouldn’t worry about Howard’s market too much. Alfred Morris is still available in FA, right now.

      That’s gonna be Howard’s future if he demands too much.

      The one thing the NFL agrees on when it comes to HBs is that they don’t value 2 down HBs.

      Now, if Howard miraculously begins catching it like Bell, then we got ourselves an interesting problem…

      But something tells me that Nagy wants his Kareem Hunt.

      • Johnnywad

        Hypothetical. Let’s say Howard gets his normal rushing yardage but throws in 45 +/- receptions for xxx yards. What do you pay him?

        My hope is this is where he’ll be. I had a hard time speculating yardage, because we have a limited idea what this offense will look like. They’re already using Howard and Cohen together in camp which is awesome. But how many of those balls go to Cohen if to a HB on any given play?

        All hard to say. But I’m betting he’s going to have more passes thrown at him, as well as more room to operate.

        So what’s your #?

        • If Howard catches 45 + his career 4.6ypc, then he’ll def get paid, though I still don’t think he’ll be paid like Bell because it’s not just receiving, but what TYPE of receptions.

          For instance, the Steelers can split out Bell, or isolate him on slow LBs in wheel routes. Those are huge mismatches that OCs covet.

          I just don’t see that in Howard.

          However, if he catches 45 IMO he’ll get like Dion Lewis $$$.

          https://www.spotrac.com/nfl/tennessee-titans/dion-lewis-7868/

          Lewis just signed a 4yr $19M contract, basically avg $5M/yr against the cap.

          If Howard keeps his ypc avg, and throws in 40+ catches per year, Lewis will be a starting point for his contract.

          If he catches 20 or less, then he’s going to be treated like Alfred Morris or Blount b4 him – as merely a 2 down back in a RBBC

          (Unless he pairs those 18 catches with like 1,600 +yds 10Tds+ – then things will get interesting again cuz that would be AP territory. )

          • Johnnywad

            He caught 23 last year. I really doubt it goes down with Nagy and Helfrich, Giraffe gone, and Trubisky with all summer under his belt with the 1s.

            He’s not going to split out like Bell. But I bet we see some really common sense, easy throws his way. Wouldn’t take much to make the jump.

            I’d like to see him remain a Bear. So 40 receptions, 1100-1200 on the ground and a nice, fair contract is my hope.

          • Yes, but he also has the most drops in the last two yrs of any starting HB (including that one drop that cost them the game that SC always tries to put on the QB)

            And those catches are gonna mostly be flats and screens, so not exactly dangerous

            (that’s the other negative on him as Irish will tell you – he lacks explosion and long speed, unlike AP, so he can’t turn a 3 yd screen into a 60YD TD)

            This is why I think if he keeps pace, he’ll be in that 2nd tier and not break the bank.

            However, if Howard sees himself in the 1st tier, then he may overprice himself and bolt.

            That’s sorta what happened to Alfred Morris. He rushed for nearly 3,000 yds his first 2 seasons, but the Foreskins brought in other HBs because he had stone hands.

            They cut him, and no team would sign him in spite of his good ground game (he avg 4.8 ypc just last yr)

            Teams simply can’t afford to pay a HB who can’t be in the two-minute drill, or hurry up/up-tempo, or late in games when coming from behind.

            Anytime the Bears were behind late, they basically had to put in Cohen or Benny, while Howard was watching from the sideline.

            That’s gotta change if he wants to get paid.

  • BuddhaJoe

    I think this is about right. I’d have labeled a few one higher but that’s just splitting hairs. To be fair, I’m a homer and I’d say they would’ve been a 5 last year without the inordinate amount of injuries.

  • John F

    Sounds like all this adds up to very little margin for error.

    So when the inevitable 4-5 major injuries hit, the Bears will end up with 5-6 wins and everyone will say that next year they’ll be .500 and 2020 they’ll be a playoff team ……… rinse ……. repeat ……… for the next 25 years ……

    • “Modestly” Huge Bears Penis

      If you know what is going to happen why keep waste your time here.

      • John F

        I guess it pains me to see people talk themselves into thinking things will be better year after year when there is no basis for doing so. It frustrates me to no end that the same mistakes are made by the Bears brass and nothing changes. The Bears are my favorite sports team and have been since I was a kid, and it greatly upsets me that they can’t get their shit together. When you hopes have been dashed for decades, it’s a little hard to be positive.

        • Following the Bears is a lot like watching a movie. You gotta suspend disbelief.

          Have you ever watched a movie with someone who points out all the plot holes, or how unrealistic, or sophomoric it is?

          Yeah, they’re a drag.

          Hume once claimed that no one likes dining with a food critic for the same reason.

          Sometimes you just gotta yell, ” Yippee Ki Yay motherfucker!” and enjoy the ride.

          We all know how Hamlet ends, but we can still enjoy the play.

        • “Modestly” Huge Bears Penis

          We all understand your anger and frustrations. And no one expects you to shoot rainbows of optimism out your ass. But it would be beneficial if you would take your head out of your ass, at least for a little while, and realize/acknowledge that 4-5 major injuries will not happen each year, and consider the possibility that they got it right by hiring a young up and coming coach. It is the offseason after all, so go grab the crisco and lube up your head and slide it on out of your ass and try to enjoy. Then after 2-3 regular season if you don’t like what you are seeing, you can return your head back up your ass where you seem to enjoy.

          • Johnnywad

            It would be hard to lube his head up from inside his ass to get it out. It’s likely stuck.

          • AlbertInTucson

            “…shoot rainbows of optimism out your ass.”

            Tee hee.

          • This is beginning to feel like an intervention

    • Johnnywad

      God you are such a pain in the ass. Change your handle to “Eeyore” forthwith. And own it.

  • Speaking of OLB fliers…might be worth kicking the tires…

    Titans waived OLB Kevin Dodd.
    The No. 33 overall pick of the 2016 draft, 26-year-old Dodd declined to report when the Titans were due for training camp. He’s been unhappy since the Titans traded up for Harold Landry in the second round of April’s draft. Dodd has been a mega-bust to this point in his career, forcing his way onto the field for just 271 defensive snaps. He has as many career sacks (one) as starts. Despite his second-round pedigree, Dodd’s advanced age for a third-year pro will limit his appeal as a flier on the waiver wire. – roto

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