Next year is technically here, but by the NFL’s standards, the 2018 league year won’t begin for another 37 days. And yet, there has already been one trade consummated … and it has wide-ranging impact on a number of NFL teams including the Bears. Go figure.
If you’re curious about the most important dates coming up on the NFL calendar, we’ve got you covered here with your offseason roadmap.
- Odds are you were watching the Super Bowl on Sunday. NBC announced the game earned a 47.4 overnight rating, which is the lowest number since 2010, but only down 3 percent from last year’s game. And it’s not as if people weren’t interested. John Ourand of the Sports Business Journal tweets the game averaged 103.4 million viewers. That’s a lot of eyes on football in a year where some fans decided to turn away from the game for one reason or another.
- Alshon Jeffery did his part to back up his Super Bowl guarantee by catching three passes for 73 yards and a touchdown. And I’m sure that go-up-and-get-it grab (which was the first touchdown of the Super Bowl, mind you) looked all-too-familiar to Bears fans. But with the Super Bowl officially in our rear-view mirror, let’s use the moment to move on. It was very clear he didn’t want to return to Chicago. And in fairness, it’s impossible to blame him. The Bears couldn’t offer him anything he wanted, outside of money. Their quarterback situation wasn’t settled and their chances of realistically putting together a winner quickly were slim. Jeffery prioritized both of those things when signing with the Eagles, a team with the arrow pointing up behind an offensive-minded head coach and an up-and-coming quarterback in Carson Wentz, who posted a 97.5 passer rating when throwing to Jeffery in 2017.
- Still, the biggest mistake GM Ryan Pace made wasn’t letting Jeffery go. It was the fact that his role was not properly filled in the offseason. The Bears went into camp with Cameron Meredith, who had just one serviceable year under his belt, and Kevin White, young, inexperience, and oft-injured as the team’s top two receiving targets. Even if they were healthy, the Bears were betting on a ton of upside. It turned out to be one of those high-risk, high-reward ventures that bottomed out very quickly.
- So while the Bears lick their wounds and prepare for free agency, Jeffery is on cloud nine where his troll game is on a whole other level:
- Less than 24 hours after Jeffery and the Eagles put 41 points on the vaunted Patriots defense, the Detroit Lions announced they were hiring New England Defensive Coordinator Matt Patricia as the team’s next head coach. That might be a tough sell to Lions fans who watched last night’s game.
- Surely Mitch Trubisky is licking his chops awaiting another shot at the Lions defense. The Bears were expected to hire another quarterback guru on Monday with Brad Childress coming out of retirement to work with the team as an offensive consultant. That puts four quarterback whisperers in the room with Trubisky. So while Childress, Nagy, and Dave Ragone will have their input, Bob LeGere writes new OC Mark Helfrich will be a very important person in Trubisky’s long-term development.
- Getting Trubisky some playmakers would be nice, too. But according to someone familiar with Nagy’s offense, the Bears have someone who looks like an ideal fit. Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill paid Bears running back Tarik Cohen major props, telling Chris Emma of WSCR-AM 670 the team has a player of his ilk in Cohen. Cohen and Hill aren’t perfect for comparison because of the positions they play, but how they are used and can impact a game can be similar under the right game plan. For what it’s worth, Hill thinks Nagy’s presence will provide a positive impact to the offense and told Emma he believes the unit will thrive with their new head coach. “They got a tremendous leader,” Hill said.
- Because defense matters, too, NFL insider Adam Caplan reports the Bears are expected to add Bill Shuey as a defensive assistant on Vic Fangio’s staff. Shuey was the Eagles’ Linbeackers Coach from 2008-10, where he crossed paths with Nagy.and a defensive coordinator at the Division III level.