The Chicago Bears’ pursuit of the 2018 NFL Draft’s top talent will be shaped by how a handful of teams address the quarterback position … and it all started with Alex Smith’s trade to Washington.
Tuesday night’s blockbuster (which can’t be officially consummated until the new league year starts on March 14) is the first of several moves that could impact what’s left on the board for the Bears when they’re on the clock with the eighth pick in the draft. Chicago should want as many teams as possible picking a signal caller ahead of them, because it would leave the team in a prime position to select one of the draft’s best non-quarterback prospects.
Cousins signing with the Browns, Broncos, Giants, or Jets would take one team out of the hunt for a quarterback and make them likely to pick one of the high-end position players the Bears covet. Needless to say, that would stink. But only one team can sign Cousins, and if it is one of those four aforementioned teams, it would mean a QB who catches the eye of a team drafting behind the Bears (think Cardinals, Dolphins, Bills) could be dangled in a trade-back situation.
Hopefully, the Bears can come out of this with either the best player available or a trade partner that gives the team more draft capital as it embarks on a mission to fill out its roster. Either way, stay tuned to see how many moves will subtly impact the Bears this offseason.
- Chris Bocker of Da Bears Brothers states the case for the Bears offense cracking the top-10 in 2018. That he does so without the Bears dipping into the most expensive end of the free agent pool and without drafting a first-round receiver is most impressive. And to be totally honest, it’s not completely out of the realm of possibility. Reasonable additions such as free agent Albert Wilson (Chiefs), potential second-round receiver D.J. Moore (Maryland), a healthy (and productive!) return of Cameron Meredith, an up-tick in production/usage for Adam Shaheen (yes, please!) and Tarik Cohen (seriously, though), and a return to Pro Bowl form for Jordan Howard could improve the Bears’ offense by 28 percent. Bocker points out that the Rams’ 37 percent increase in offensive output as a point of comparison. I’m not saying it’s going to happen, but I can see it.
- With that in mind, ESPN Chicago’s Jeff Dickerson lines up some of the potential offseason receiver targets for the Bears. Based on our give-and-take at our Facebook page, I feel as if many of you will appreciate some of the under-the-radar choices who could be on the Bears’ radar. From a free agent perspective, Paul Richardson (Seahawks) had the makings of a breakout year with 44 catches and 703 receiving yards and could grow into a No. 2 receiver type with added exposure to an offense where he’s a higher priority. Penn State’s DaeSean Hamilton opened eyes as one of the country’s best route runners, something he proved again during Senior Bowl Week. He could be the kind of mid-round pick who becomes a steal for a team in the right situation.
- Putting together a top-10 offense sure would be easier with Alshon Jeffery in the mix. Alas, Jeffery is just days away from playing in the Super Bowl and making his dream prediction into a reality. Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune catches up with Jeffery, who reflected on his time with the Bears while basking in the Super Bowl glow. Biggs observed Jeffery seemed happier than he ever been, and who wouldn’t be with his team one win from Super Bowl glory. Simply looking at pictures of Jeffery shows how pleased he is with the decision he made last offseason. Good for him. May we all find that kind of happiness in our lives.
- “Alshon Jeffery’s path to Super Bowl aided by Chicago physical therapist” is a headline I didn’t expect to read in 2018, via the Chicago Tribune. Jeffery’s health issues are well-documented, so that he was productive in his healthiest year since 2014 (when he last played a full 16-game slate) should come as a surprise. All the more reason for the Bears to tweak whatever health/medical situation they were in the last three years.
- As a reminder, the Bears have already parted ways with their head trainer and their strength and conditioning coach.
- Tom Brady is arguably the greatest quarterback of all time, but he wasn’t always The G.O.A.T. John Mullin of NBC Sports Chicago highlights some of Brady’s early-career issues, as well as his road to success and applies it to the quarterback the Bears believe will bring them to Super Bowl glory. But in the end, it’s all about the player making the leaps of improvement. The front office can put players around him and give him a coach who can extract the most from a given player, but if the player doesn’t take the steps, the rest is all for nothing.
- While we nervously wonder whether Brian Urlacher will make it to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on his first try, the Bears legend isn’t worried about a thing. In a one-on-one interview via NBC Sports Chicago with Lance Briggs — a stud linebacker in his own right — Urlacher offers up what’s on his mind heading into the final days before potentially getting the call. “I try not to think about it because I don’t want to be disappointed,” Urlacher explained to Briggs. “There’s both ends of the spectrum. I’d love to get in, I think it’d be amazing, it’s a big accomplishment. But it doesn’t change what I did on the football field.” Now, that’s having perspective.
- It’s OK that Urlacher isn’t thinking about his Hall of Fame status because his ex-teammates have his back. Larry Mayer of the Bears’ official website gets input from cornerback Charles Tillman and defensive end Alex Brown on why Urlacher should be a lock to get in.