This video teaser shared by the Chicago Bears’ Twitter page has me excited about what’s to come in 2018:
We got better today.
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) March 16, 2018
- Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk has some contract details regarding Kyle Fuller’s offer sheet from the Green Bay Packers, which was quickly matched by the Bears. It includes an $18 million signing bonus and stands to pay out $29 million in the first two years and $42 million through three. Florio notes the deal is structured similarly to what Green Bay does with every player not named Aaron Rodgers in that there is no guaranteed money beyond the signing bonus. We don’t want to give the Packers too much credit for anything, but I suppose that’s smart business. *tips cap*
- In the end, everyone is happy. Vic Fangio gets to keep a player whose career he re-energized in Fuller, the player gets to stay with a defense he is comfortable and familiar with, and the Bears didn’t have to enter messy negotiations with the Packers doing all the dirty work. Ultimately, the transition tag worked perfectly. Because while I’m no big city mathematician, paying out $18 million in guarantees as part of a four-year contract is more valuable than paying $15 million for one year.
- In the mean time, the Packers missed out on a another free agent cornerback they were rumored to be interested in. Rashaad Melvin, who played his college ball at Northern Illinois University, signed a one-year deal with the Oakland Raiders. If Melvin can re-create what he did in 2017 while with the Colts, he could emerge as the top free agent cornerback prospect in next year’s class.
- So in a matter of hours, the Packers lost out on two of their top cornerback targets. (Plays tiniest violin ever known to man…)
- ESPN’s Field Yates tweets that the Bears have met with linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis, who spent last season with the Kansas City Chiefs. Pierre-Louis has been mostly a special teams contributor, but played 22.8 percent of the team’s defensive snaps. The Bears’ busy offseason should continue with the signing of players like Pierre-Louis, who have special teams experience but could also see an increase in playing time on defense. Chicago is in talent acquisition mode and should continue to tack on depth and players with upside. The Bears have just 59 players signed to their roster, only six teams have fewer – and more available cap space than the Bears’ $50,696,002.
- Carson Wentz is really going to miss Trey Burton:
- Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times believes the Bears see upside and untapped potential in Burton, and it goes beyond his ability to pull a rabbit out of his hat and re-create the Philly special. Burton’s game reminds me a bit of Zach Miller as a tight end who can line up in the slot and present a mismatch as a pass-catcher when going against certain linebackers, corners, and safeties. The signing itself takes me back to when Phil Emery signed Martellus Bennett, who was an unproven talent but had athleticism and upside you could dream on. In Chicago, Bennett developed into one of Jay Cutler’s most trusted targets, earned a Pro Bowl spot, and eventually became a Super Bowl champion with the New England Patriots.
- It’s hard to go wrong trying to follow a blueprint laid out by the defending Super Bowl champs. That’s what NFL.com writer Marc Sessler sees in the Bears’ free agent moves that were clearly aimed toward making Mitch Trubisky a better quarterback in 2018 and beyond. While it’s easy to fall into a trap of dreaming on free agents reaching new heights on a new team, you have to believe the floor is pretty high for some of the new faces in Chicago. Even though he is coming off a knee injury, Allen Robinson is a proven commodity with a 1,400-yard receiving season under his belt. And we are only a year removed from Taylor Gabriel’s breakout with the Atlanta Falcons when Kyle Shanahan was running the show for the Super Bowl LI runner-ups. Other than Burton, the Bears’ free agent signings fit into roles with their new teams that were similar to what they were asked to do with their previous ones. Seems like a smart way of going about doing business in free agency.
- Defensive end/outside linebacker/edge defender Aaron Lynch represents an example of an upside signing, though his deal is of the one-year “prove it” variety. Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune writes about Lynch, who hopes his reunion with Vic Fangio will spark brighter days. Lynch had 12.5 sacks in his first two seasons with the San Francisco 49ers, but struggled to stay on the field in the two years that followed. Fangio was Lynch’s defensive coordinator during his rookie season in San Francisco, where he picked up six sacks while playing just 44.7 percent of the team’s defensive snaps.
- Mike Garafolo of NFL Network has some salary figures for punter Pat O’Donnell, who re-signed on Thursday. Garafolo tweets the one-year deal is for $1.5 million. Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune adds that O’Donnell’s contract also includes $500,000 in incentives for punting average. That’s a relatively small commitment after the team made Cody Parkey one of the league’s 10 highest-paid kickers on a four-year deal. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Bears bring in some punting competition to training camp this summer.
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