New year, new Bears.
Now that the new league year is officially under way, and the Chicago Bears have announced the signings of five – count ’em – five unrestricted free agents.
Wide Receiver Allen Robinson:
Robinson is the splash signing Bears fans have been hoping for since GM Ryan Pace’s arrival. Their patience was rewarded in the form of a three-year deal worth $42 million that includes $25 million guaranteed, according to NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport.
Limited to just three offensive plays in 2017 because of an ACL injury, Robinson is just two years removed from an 80-catch, 1,400-yard, 14-touchdown season. And even in his “down” year in 2016, Robinson still came away with 73 receptions, 883 yards, and six touchdowns. Robinson arrives in Chicago as Mitch Trubisky’s No. 1 pass-catching target.
Here’s to the start of a wonderful friendship.
Tight End Trey Burton:
One year after committing a decent chunk of change to Dion Sims and investing a second-round pick in Adam Shaheen, Bears jumped right back into the tight end pool to sign Trey Burton. Best known for his Super Bowl touchdown pass, Burton projects to be Trubisky’s main target among the team’s tight ends. Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune reports Burton’s deal will be worth $32 million over four years that includes $11.3 million up front and $18 million fully guaranteed.
Burton figures to get a significant uptick in action after appearing on just 26.5 percent of the Eagles’ offensive snaps in 2017. And yet, despite limited playing time behind Zach Ertz and Brent Celek, Burton still found a way to score five touchdowns.
Burton’s signing reminds me of when the Bears signed Martellus Bennett in 2013. Before Bennett was a thing, he was an understudy behind Jason Witten while playing for the Cowboys from 2008-11, saw an increase in playing time with the Giants in 2012, and signed a multi-year deal with the Bears in 2013.
Wide Receiver Taylor Gabriel:
Gabriel isn’t your run-of-the-mill slot receiver. In fact, he’s not shy about letting you know he’s actually an outside receiver. No matter where he lines up, Gabriel has speed to burn and the versatility to create a mismatch anywhere on the field. let you know he’s an outside receiver.
— Taylor Gabriel (@TGdadon1) March 14, 2018
Rapoport tweets that Gabriel’s deal is a four-year pact that maxes out at $28 million with incentives. He’ll earn $14 million in guarantees. All things considered, that’s a sweet deal for a player whose ability to take the top off a defense and make big plays travels with him to Chicago.
Quarterback Chase Daniel:
Daniel made his deal Twitter official at exactly 3 p.m. central time. Being punctual is a good way to make a strong first impression. Daniel’s deal is worth $10 million over two years and has an opt-out that voids Year 2 if he turns in a Nick Foles type performance in 2018. Here’s hoping it never comes to that.
Kicker Cody Parkey:
Here’s hoping our long national kicking nightmare is over with the addition of Parkey, who crossed paths with Chris Tabor when the two were together with the Cleveland Browns. Parkey made 91.3 percent of his kicks for the Miami Dolphins in 2017, which is exactly the kind of production the Bears are looking for from him moving forward.
Robbie Gould signed a two-year deal worth $4 million with San Francisco last offseason, and it turns out Chicago is going to pay a pretty penny for a kicker who is hopefully as successful as Gould was. According to Aaron Wilson, Parkey’s four-year deal is worth as much as $15 million and has $9 million guaranteed. It’s a contract that puts Parkey among the top-10 in average salary for kickers and in the top-5 in guaranteed cash. And here I am holding out hope there is fun a story behind that $100 annual Pro Bowl incentive.