Sitton's Contract Status, Potential Free Agent Busts, "No Assurances" for McDaniels, and Other Bullets

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Sitton’s Contract Status, Potential Free Agent Busts, “No Assurances” for McDaniels, and Other Bullets

Chicago Bears

Raise your hand if you channeled your inner Mitch Trubisky and made snow angels at some point during your snow day.

What, just me?

  • Safety Adrian Amos and defensive end Akiem Hicks made Pro Football Focus’ list of 101 best players in 2017, providing a silver lining for a 5-11 season that didn’t accomplish all that much. PFF followed up with a list of 10 players who could be on 2018’s Top 101 list, which doesn’t feature any Bears. Bummer. So while Trubisky didn’t make the cut, a pair of quarterbacks who were connected to the team last offseason made the site’s 2018 watch list. San Francisco’s Jimmy Garoppolo (obviou$ly) and Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes represent a pair of quarterbacks who could be on the rise in the season to come. The Bears had a shot at both, but didn’t want to pay the first-round premium New England originally was asking for, and evidently liked Trubisky more than Mahomes during the draft process. Hopefully, the Bears don’t end up regretting their decisions.
  • If Trubisky cracks PFF’s top-101 in 2018, it won’t be because he did it all on his own. For Trubisky to take off in 2018, the Bears’ offensive line will need to be a strength. Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune writes Friday was the first day for the Bears to pick up the team option for Year 3 of guard Josh Sitton’s contract. If the Bears decline the option, Sitton will become an unrestricted free agent and will open up a need along the offensive line. The team could pick up the option, which comes with a base salary of $7.4 million. And if he is released, Sitton’s departure will carry a salary cap hit of $666,667 in 2018 – which would be a relatively small price to pay in the grand scheme of things. The Bears have until March 9 to make a decision.
  • Even if the Bears were to exercise the option and keep Sitton, the team would still have a significant amount of potential cap flexibility. That means plenty of money to sign a much-needed receiver. Jarvis Landry is a name that has popped up often and figures to do so until he officially comes off the market. But don’t put former Bears scouting director Greg Gabriel among those who sees Landry as a potential Bears fit:

  • As an alternative to free agency, the Bears could dip into the draft and pick a top-tier receiver. Even though Calvin Ridley is often connected to the Bears, Chris Trapasso of CBS Sports would go in a different direction if he was calling the shots:

  • This free agent class poses a different set of risks, including a few players the Bears could have their eyes on when free agency opens in March. Bleacher Report’s Gary Davenport assesses the biggest potential free agent busts in this class, which includes Landry and Allen Robinson – a pair of receivers viewed as great fits for the Bears, who figure to be in on the bidding if/when they hit the market. Free agency is a high-risk endeavor, and while GM Ryan Pace whiffed with the Mike Glennon signing, none of the team’s free agency moves made since Pace’s arrival have hurt the team in the big picture.
  • Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler also appears on Davenport’s list, which comes as no surprise especially after his unexplained absence in the Super Bowl. Despite Butler’s benching in The Big Game, some players aren’t shying away from recruiting the one-time Super Bowl hero and Pro Bowl corner. Texans wideout DeAndre Hopkins made his pitch via Twitter and with a special photoshop on Instagram. San Francisco’s Pierre Garcon wasn’t going to be left out, noting the team’s salary cap situation and a newly paid quarterback Butler is already familiar with.
  • Don’t rule out the Bears from the teams who could be in the Butler sweepstakes. The team has a need at corner and while Pace has yet to successfully lure a big-money cornerback with a long-term contract, history suggests the Bears will throw their hat in the ring and make their pitch at some point.
  • The latest twist in the Josh McDaniels coaching saga comes from ESPN’s Mike Reiss, who reports the Patriots’ offensive coordinator has been given no assurances that he would be Bill Belichick’s successor and the team’s next head coach. McDaniels’ return to New England isn’t without its perks. Reiss reports Belichick will give McDaniels’ voice additional credence when it comes to roster construction and salary cap decisions, so he’ll get a taste of some of what goes on behind the scenes. Still, it’s hard to come away from all this and not think the idea of getting a head-coaching gig elsewhere is going to be a hard sell for a team/fan base that isn’t the Patriots.
  • Considering the organization’s need for stability after going through three coaches in six years, the Bears totally dodged a bullet there.

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Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.