So, how’s your bracket looking?
Several Chicago Bears shared their March Madness picks prior to the tournament, but none of the brackets are perfect.
There’s always next year, I suppose.
- Free agent contracts often come with high expectations. Even though the Bears’ signings weren’t sexy, their moves will land under the microscope and things will be expected of their signees as we draw closer to the football season. Over at the Chicago Sun-Times, Adam Jahns steps out and offers up some expectations for the free agency class of 2017. As of right now, the class features nine players – including three Jahns deems to have high expectations. Overall, this group projects to have four steady starters, reliable depth pieces on the offensive and defensive lines, at tight end, and wide receiver. Even still, there is work to be done, both through the lower tiers of free agency and via the draft.
- Give a cursory look at the Bears’ early efforts in free agency, and it’s hard not to give the team a passing grade. ESPN’s Jeff Dickerson does just that, but barely, as he handed out a C-plus to the team’s front office for their early run at free agency. The Bears didn’t land a premier free agent cornerback, and instead shelled out a significant amount of guaranteed money to Mike Glennon, Prince Amukamara, Dion Sims, Markus Wheaton, Quintin Demps, and Marcus Cooper – players who weren’t expected to be given significant free agent contracts. On the other hand, the Bears did use free agency to fill vacancies with capable starters on short-term deals that didn’t project to hurt the long-term cap outlook for a rebuilding team. All things considered, the Bears’ execution in free agency is worth this precise grade.
- The Bears weren’t the only team handing out one-year “prove-it” deals hoping for best case scenarios to pan out. In fact, Pro Football Weekly pieced together a list of players who were given one-year contracts in 2016, only to parlay them into multi-year deals this offseason. Perhaps someone like Alshon Jeffery, Kendall Wright, or Prince Amukamara will be on this list in 2018.
- In that vein, Howard Fendrich of the Associated Press has a behind the scenes look at how teams put together rosters and fit them neatly into what can often be complex salary cap situations. There’s so much that goes into a signing that has little to do with the player, himself.
- You can add Andre Holmes to the list of free agents the Bears missed out on. The wide receiver, who was born in Hoffman Estates and played his high school ball at Conant, reportedly will sign with the Buffalo Bills in a move that pleased running back LeSean McCoy. Holmes spent his last four years with the Oakland Raiders, accumulating 100 catches, 1,451 receiving yards, and 12 touchdowns in 58 games. The Bears were one of the teams interested in Holmes’ services at some point this offseason.
- Even though the biggest (and arguably, most important) signings have already occurred, there are still a handful of quarterbacks looking for work. Over at Pro Football Focus, Sam Monson highlights the most important stats for Jay Cutler, Colin Kaepernick, Robert Griffin III, and the rest of the top remaining free agent quarterbacks. The Bears aren’t in the market for another veteran quarterback after committing to Glennon and re-signing reserve Connor Shaw. As for Cutler, Monson writes the long-time Bears quarterback was rather accurate based on topping a 70 percent adjusted completion percentage eight times.
- Even though Matt Forte left the Bears to sign a multi-year deal with the New York Jets in 2016, the Pro Bowl running back still has a piece of Chicago in his heart. Forte will be credited with an assist in aiding Chicago’s CIRCLE Foundation when he hands out a $10,000 scholarship to Innovations High School’s student of the year. His “What’s Your Forte?” foundation gives scholarships and other support to at-risk teens in the Chicago Public School system, which came about after seeing statistics that indicated that nearly 15 percent of CPS high school dropouts were incarcerated.
- Around the NFL, a former player has been chosen for Harvard’s prestigious neurosurgery residency. Myron Rolle, who was drafted by the Tennessee Titans in 2010 has taken his talents to the medical field. The former Florida State star announced his retirement from football in 2013 to return to the classroom, enrolling at FSU’s College of Medicine. Rolle was a Rhodes Scholar in 2008, and studied at Oxford University in 2009-10 academic year.
- Things could be lining up for old friend Josh McCown, who could be the next starting quarterback of the New York Jets. He was scheduled to visit with New York over the weekend.