Only seven more Sunday until Chicago Bears football gets underway and just three until the team shows up for training camp:
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) July 23, 2017
It’s almost here, friends.
- In search of optimism after a dreadful 3-13 season? Say no more, friend. Over at Bleacher Report, Brad Gagnon has reasons for optimism for each of the NFL’s 32 teams – including our beloved Bears. And it comes as a pleasant surprise that Gagnon sees the team’s quarterback situation is a cause for optimism. Clearly in rebuild mode, the Bears have two options with upside if you allow yourself to see the situation as a glass-half-full situation. Mike Glennon wasn’t a world-beater in Tampa Bay, but was a respectable starter as a rookie who didn’t turn the ball over at a high rate. While Glennon is the player with the higher floor right now, Mitch Trubisky is the quarterback with the higher ceiling. Trubisky made the most out of his one year as a starter, but is still just starting to attack the learning curve of how to play the position at the NFL level. If you want something to dream on as 2017 progresses, look no further than what’s happening at quarterback.
- By now, you’re probably aware of some of the details surrounding Trubisky’s rookie deal. Albert Breer of SI.com’s The MMQB has additional details surrounding the four-year pact that comes with a fifth-year option. Breer tweets that Trubisky’s contract contains partial offsets that are similar to what Marcus Mariota had in his deal with the Tennessee Titans. This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, considering Trubisky and Mariota share representation. Offset language (best explained by Luke Adams of Pro Football Rumors) has to do with what happens with salary guarantees for a player if he’s cut in the first four years of his contract. A vast majority of Mariota’s guaranteed money is protected, and I expect Trubisky is in a similar boat.
- On the field, Jeff Smith of FanRag Sports writes the Bears’ 2017 record will be important to Trubisky’s future. Smith explores the possibility of head coach John Fox and GM Ryan Pace being booted from town and what kind of impact it would have on Trubisky moving forward. Fox has been hovering near the hot seat since the start of the NFL calendar year, and his situation could effect how he handles Trubisky’s rookie season. But there hasn’t been a hint of Pace joining Fox on the hot seat, especially since he signed a five-year deal in 2015 and Fox’s contract was for only four years. If things don’t go well in 2017, it’s easy to envision a scenario where Pace gets to hire a second head coach, one who might be better suited to develop a quarterback than Fox, who has worked with veteran signal callers for a majority of his career.
- No matter who’s under center in 2017, Jordan Howard is The Man on the Bears’ offense:
The 2016 draft class was loaded with RBs pic.twitter.com/PMnYST8k05
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) July 23, 2017
- The NCAA recently released the Walter Camp Award watch list, which features 15 quarterbacks – including top prospects Josh Allen (Wyoming), Lamar Jackson (Louisville), Sam Darnold (USC), Josh Rosen (UCLA), and Trent McSorely (Penn State). After doing what they did to acquire Trubisky, the Bears obviously won’t be searching for a quarterback in next year’s draft. However, the list of candidates also features nine defensive standouts which includes top-flight defensive backs Darwin James (Florida State) and Minkah Fitzpatrick (Alabama), as well as linebacker Arden Key (LSU).
- Carson Palmer ditched his traditional offseason throwing program, opting not to throw at all for several months. Still, the Arizona Cardinals’ three-time Pro Bowl quarterback feels strong as he is set to embark on his 15th NFL season. Arizona took a trip to the NFC title game in 2015, but stumbled often last season and finished with a 7-8-1 record. The Bears will travel to Arizona during Week 2 of the preseason.
- Cam Newton is another quarterback the Bears will get an up close look at in 2017, albeit during in a regular season game that has just a touch more value than the second preseason contest. Some good news (as far as Newton’s health is concerned) as head coach Ron Rivera told team reporter Max Henson that Newton has been throwing with teammates in Baltimore, and added his shoulder “must be fine.” Rivera expanded on his quarterback’s health to Albert Breer of SI’s MMQB, and it appears as if Newton will be throwing with his teammates in camp, but will be limited as he recovers from offseason shoulder surgery.
- Barry Sanders is returning to the Detroit Lions is a phrase that would have struck fear in the heart of Bears fans a number of years ago after the star running back abruptly retired following a 10-year career that ended after the 1998 season. But the days of worrying about Sanders cutting through the Bears defense are behind us. Instead, the 49-year-old Pro Football Hall of Famer will officially serve as a brand ambassador for the team.