A reminder that the legal tampering window opens up at 11am CT. Already, there’s another report connecting the Bears to free agent quarterback Mike Glennon. Are we going to hear word of a verbal agreement as soon as this afternoon? Are Bears fans going to react with thoughtful contemplation?
Until then, Bullets for your Tuesday consumption …
- The Bears made some roster moves with the re-signing of tight end Daniel Brown, and the tendering of contracts to wide receiver Josh Bellamy and cornerback Bryce Callahan. The three exclusive-rights free agents played bit roles in 2016. Brown played six games with the Bears (three starts) after coming over from Baltimore. Bellamy saw increased action at receiver due to injuries at the top of the depth chart, while Callahan is a nickelback who has played in 20 games (13 starts) since joining the Bears as an undrafted free agent out of Rice in 2015.
- Among the litany of thoughts and nuggets from the Chicago Tribune’s Brad Biggs is that Eddie Royal is expected to be cut after he passes a physical. Royal had surgery in December on his left foot to address a turf toe injury. Royal’s time in Chicago serves as a reminder that sometimes free agent deals don’t work out. He has played in only 18 games, making just 70 catches for 607 yards, and three touchdowns in two injury riddled seasons in Chicago. Royal wasn’t much of a factor as a specialist, returning 20 punts in two years and was nowhere near the special teams contributor he was in Denver, when he averaged 11.9 yards per return. Royal is set to count $5 million against the cap in 2017, the final year of his deal.
- Biggs tackles a slew of topics with the rest of his “10 thoughts” including perspective on the combine efforts of quarterback prospects Deshaun Wastson, DeShone Kizer, Mitchell Trubisky, and Patrick Mahomes, Alshon Jeffery’s future, an unlikely comeback for former Bears defensive lineman Amobi Akoye, and the future of the edge rushers currently on the Bears roster. Biggs reports Willie Young is coming off minor microscopic knee surgery this offseason, adding him to the list of the walking wounded currently slated to return to Chicago in 2017. Lamarr Houston had his second ACL surgery in three years since joining the Bears, while Pernell McPhee is coming off shoulder surgery to fix his torn labrum. If healthy, Houston, McPhee, and Young can be defensive playmakers for a front-seven that desperately needs them. But they can’t be useful pieces for Vic Fangio’s defense if they can’t stay on the field. Again, give Biggs’ 10 thoughts a read.
- There will certainly be a focus on improving Fangio’s defense through free agency for a second straight season. Four of the five biggest contracts handed out by the Bears in 2016 were to free agent defenders, and Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times analyzes the defensive options on the free agent market. Cardinals safety Tony Jefferson, Texans cornerback A.J. Bouye, and Bills cornerback Stephon Gilmore represent ideal targets worth adding to the secondary. Pace could also seek a role player at linebacker to add depth to the aforementioned group of talented, yet oft-injured edge defenders.
- Over at the Chicago Tribune, Dan Wiederer adds more details to the Bears’ free agent pursuits on defense. The Bears have their sights on adding two starting corners and a starting safety before May, meaning expect the Bears to be busy re-tooling their secondary via free agency and the draft. The defensive backfield isn’t the only area worth focusing on in free agency, as how the team addresses its quarterback conundrum and Alshon Jeffery’s future are also top priorities.
- If the Bears go through the draft to address secondary problems, Chris Emma of CBS Chicago writes Jamal Adams could fill the long-time vacancy of playmaking safety. The LSU standout has drawn comparison to role model and former Eagles star Brian Dawkins. Adams could go to the Bears at No. 3, and between filling a need and the increased value in stopping pass-happy offenses in a pass-friendly league, the time might be right for the Bears to step out of the box and take a calculated risk in adding a playmaking member of the secondary in the draft.
- Dan Durkin of The Athletic outlines the major decisions Ryan Pace will face this offseason in the draft and in free agency. Cornerback, safety, and tight end are among the deepest positions in the draft. The Bears could use free agency and the draft to re-stock their secondary, while avoiding free agency in their search for a tight end because the draft’s depth. Durkin adds the Bears need to find an edge rusher to complement rookie standout Leonard Floyd, citing that the Bears could use and an injection of youth and speed.
- Winning the offseason won’t necessarily translate into wins in 2017. Rob Maaddi of the Associated Press writes that not all major spending sprees have ended well recently, noting the Eagles’ ill-fated runs in 2011 (8-8 after signing defensive end Jason Babin and cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha) and 2015 (where Chip Kelly signed running backs DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews, among others) when the team finished 7-9 after a pair of 10-win seasons. The free agent bust rate is understandably high because teams are doing a better job of keeping their best players from heading to the open market. That isn’t to say there aren’t helpful pieces out there, but depending on free agents to change the direction of your team overnight is among the least likely bets to cash out on.
- Speaking of cashing out:
— Vincent Bonsignore (@DailyNewsVinny) March 6, 2017
- So, then, the Raiders to Las Vegas remains very much a possibility.
- Trumaine Johnson signed the franchise tender handed out by the Rams last week. Johnson and Los Angeles have until July 15 to reach a long-term agreement, and if they don’t, Johnson will play on a one-year deal worth $16.7 million. If Johnson plays well in Wade Phillips’ defense, another big payday awaits in 2018.
- Let’s stay with the Rams, who have offered a $1 million payday for a fan who correctly guesses their exact schedule for the 2017 season. Los Angeles has home games against the Colts, Texans, Saints, and Eagles, and road games versus the Cowboys, Jaguars, Vikings, Giants, and Titans, to go along with their divisional showdowns against the 49ers, Cardinals, and Seahawks. Good luck to all participants.