A report that the Chicago Bears would not use the Franchise tag to bring back Alshon Jeffery set the tag-related rumor mill in motion on what turned out to be a transaction-and-rumor-filled Monday.
Wednesday is the last day to announce tag designations, and some teams still have decisions to make by that day’s 3 p.m. deadline. Be sure to check the calendar to keep tabs on the most important dates that are coming up on the NFL Calendar.
- Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times adds some depth and perspective to the Jeffery-Bears tag situation by answering four important questions. Antonio Brown’s fresh deal set a new top of the market, passing A.J. Green, and Julio Jones. Jeffery likely wasn’t going set the market anyway, but, even still, it will be tough to sign him for more than what Green and Jones make because a lack of availability (11 missed games the last two years) takes away from his value. He could still earn a significant salary if his camp uses the contract of Keenan Allen (four-year, $45 million extension in June 2016) as a guide. Of course, his pending departure leaves the Bears with an injury-riddled Kevin White, a relatively-unproven Cameron Meredith, and veteran Eddie Royal, who Jahns writes is a candidate to be released.
- Over at CBS Chicago, Chris Emma writes that parting ways with Jeffery puts GM Ryan Pace and his front office “on the clock” in the wake of the franchise’s first major offseason decision. Emma calls the Bears’ reasoning for wanting to split with Jeffery fair, but also notes his departure doesn’t make the Bears a better team in what is expected to be a critical year for head coach John Fox – who is looking to avoid a third straight losing season. Even if the move is deemed fair, it’s questionable because this puts the front office in a position to find its long-term solution at quarterback and suitable players to throw to in the same offseason. Yes, the Bears have salary cap space and draft picks. But with as many needs as they had before parting ways with Jeffery, adding another to the list is less than ideal.
- Rob Rang and Dane Brugler have an offseason primer for the NFC North, and not a moment too soon. The needs are plenty for the Bears, and the duo diagnoses quarterback, run defense, and secondary as places in need of the most improvement, while putting quarterback, safety, and cornerback as the top three needs on the offseason shopping list. The list of defensive backs available to target in free agency and the draft are worthwhile, but it’s the quarterback position that leaves much to be desired.
- The free agent quarterback fits (as deemed by Rang and Brugler) include Kirk Cousins, Tony Romo, Mike Glennon, Tyrod Taylor, and Colin Kaepernick. The CBS duo expects Romo and Kaepernick to be released, and Taylor would only become available if his option is not exercised by the Bills. Cousins still could be handed a Franchise tag between now and Wednesday’s deadline. That leaves Glennon as the only true free agent at this stage of the offseason. That’s troublesome for a team in search of stability at the position.
- If you’re curious about the rest of the division (and you should be, because the Packers, Lions, and Vikings have each made at least two postseason appearances since the Bears’ last playoff game) you can read up on what their needs are here.
- Not only is the Bears’ quarterback situation complicated, it has analysts digging right into the feels for analogies:
— @CLTVSportsFeed (@CLTVSportsFeed) February 28, 2017
- Things could be worse for the Bears’ quarterback situation (or, well, bad in a different way), as they could be in the kind of mess Washington currently finds itself in with Kirk Cousins. Charles Robinson details how badly things have been botched in Washington (sounds familiar) as the team could (1) not tag Cousins, and receive a third-round pick in next year’s draft, (2) pull a tag-and-trade, but that would leave the team without a quarterback and likely wouldn’t result in receiving an equal value in return, (3) let Cousins play one year under the tag, thus, spending $43.89 million in guarantees over two years – and still not have a long-term solution at quarterback, and/or (4) set up a scenario where he is given a Franchise Tag for a third year in 2018, meaning the team would have spent $78.36 million in guarantees or place a transition tag in for a in 2018, which means the team would have shelled out $72.67 million in what would amount to the biggest three-year contract in league history. In any case, Daniel Snyder’s world is as unkempt as it gets in the NFL.
- Vinnie Iyer of the Sporting News has come up with a free agent target for every team in the NFL and there are two Bears ties – one obvious, and one not-so-much. Cornerback Trumaine Johnson (who is expected to be slapped with the Franchise tag by the Rams) is Iyer’s free agent fit for the Bears. You could make the case that Johnson would slide into the “obvious fit” category, but the Rams have already tagged him once and would not be better off by letting him walk for nothing. Further, he’s not the kind of player worth trading two first-round picks for if he is handed the non-exclusive Franchise tag. And in the case of the obvious fit, Alshon Jeffery and the 49ers absolutely makes sense.
- Former Bears coach Marc Trestman (who was part of the regime that was at the ground floor of sending the organization into its current tailspin) is taking his talents back across the border to Canada. Multiple reports have Trestman becoming next coach of the Toronto Argonauts. Trestman was a great Canadian Football League coach, leading the Montreal Alouettes to four division championships and two Grey Cups. Trestman’s post-Bears run lasted less than two years in Baltimore, where he served as the Ravens’ offensive coordinator under John Harbugh. Trestman was fired in October.