Pass-Catching Options Starting to Come Into Focus and Other Bullets

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Pass-Catching Options Starting to Come Into Focus and Other Bullets

Chicago Bears

I don’t feel like I’m disciplined enough to do yoga, but I’ve been wanting to try it out in recent years. Unfortunately, I haven’t brought myself to do it.

So more power to Kyle Long, here:

  • It looks like the trade between the Rams and Chiefs (which mind you, can’t be officially completed until the league’s new year begins) will have some wide-ranging implications. Mike Garafolo of NFL Network reports the Rams are leaning toward handing the franchise tag to safety Lamarcus Joyner. Yesterday, we discussed the possibility of how that could lead to wide receiver Sammy Watkins becoming a free agent. If he goes untagged, Watkins would easily become the best (and most accomplished) receiver on the unrestricted free agent market — and a probable Bears target.
  • In January, the expectation was that Watkins would be tagged by the Rams … and there wasn’t much of a doubt regarding why they would do so. Watkins didn’t have big numbers in the catch or yardage department, but he built a solid rapport with Jared Goff and still caught eight touchdowns. With that in his background, and the fact that he caught over 2,000 yards of passes in his first two seasons with the Bills, Watkins is an ideal target to start the rebuilding of the Bears’ receivers room.
  • It’s almost as if the Rams — a team whose success the Bears hope to mimic in 2018 — could conceivably hold the cards to a successful offseason in Chicago. Go figure.
  • One receiver who doesn’t appear to be available is Martavis Bryant. The Steelers’ talented wideout has had his off the field issues and has been at odds with the front office over an extension, but Jason La Canfora tweets Pittsburgh isn’t shopping Bryant at this time. As in, the team is not making or taking calls at this point of the offseason. Surely, the Steelers would like to keep the talented receiver who is still on his rookie deal. HOWEVER, in a video update, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports the Steelers will listen to offers on Bryant.
  • We won’t dive too deep into the Bryant market, but I want to note that this could be one of those “where there’s smoke, there’s fire” situations even though we have conflicting reports. We’ll continue to monitor this situation as it develops … and if it develops.
  • Maybe things will he different under Matt Nagy, but the John Fox era saw the Bears cut ties with Martellus Bennett and Brandon Marshall, talented players with polarizing personalities who could be best described (at times) as locker room distractions. It’s possible that Bryant wouldn’t be on the Bears’ radar because of perceived locker room issues that could otherwise derail the organization’s rebuilding plan. The Bears haven’t had many (if any) off-field distractions in recent years, so in a sense, it would be nice if it stayed that way.
  • Because of Jimmy Graham’s ties to Bears GM Ryan Pace that date back to when the two sides crossed paths in New Orleans and the team’s need to shore up their tight end issues, one could expect the Bears and Graham to be connected at some point this offseason. But Nick Petrusevski of The Loop Sports insists the Bears should stay away from the free agent tight end. Graham wasn’t as successful in Seattle as he was in New Orleans. And while Graham is still a powerful red zone target, he hasn’t provided the type of impact between the 20s as he once did. Having multiple red zone targets would be an improvement for a Bears team that didn’t have many options, but signing offensively limited players might not be the best usage of their ample cap space.
  • Elsewhere in the division, ESPN’s Michael Rothstein explores the idea of guard Josh Sitton joining the Detroit Lions. The Bears informed Sitton earlier in the week that the team would not be picking up the third-year option on the Pro Bowl guard. Through a short-term lens, Sitton makes sense for a Lions team hoping to bolster the line in front of Matthew Stafford. And perhaps teaming Sitton with former teammate TJ Lang will open up Detroit’s non-existent running game. Depending on the deal, tying up significant cap space in aging offensive linemen could come back and haunt the Lions somewhere down the road.
  • In other cap news, the Jaguars have released running back Chris Ivory. Ivory signed a five-year deal worth $32 million after picking up a 1,000-yard rushing season with the New York Jets in 2015. USA Today reports Jacksonville will clear $3.6 million in cap savings with the move, which will probably help them toward their goal of retaining wide receiver Allen Robinson. The Jaguars opened the offseason with about $18 million in salary cap room, and it would take a little more than $16.2 million to keep Robinson via the franchise tag.
  • The Green Bay Press Gazetter reports the Packers have started the process of replacing the turf at Lambeau Field. It will be ready when the Packers return to the gridiron in August for the preseason and hopefully look better at the end of the year than it did when winter rolled around.

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Author: Luis Medina

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