The Chicago Bears won on Sunday night, but suffered a tough loss in the process:
#Bears nickel CB Bryce Callahan suffered a broken bone in his foot in Sunday's win over the #Rams, sources say. Fifth metatarsal. His timeline is TBD but he'll likely be out a while. He was balling, so a tough one for Chicago.
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) December 11, 2018
NFL Network insider Mike Garafolo tweets Bears slot cornerback Bryce Callahan suffered a broken foot in the win against the Los Angeles Rams. It’s an injury Garafolo says could keep him “out a while” though that might be putting it conservatively. It’s possible a broken foot will keep Callahan out for the remainder of the season, but that remains to be seen.
Callahan was scheduled to participate in an autograph signing, but the event was canceled because – well – they had the news regarding the broken foot before league insiders did. Here are their original social media posts:
****IMPORTANT SIGNING UPDATE****
Bryce Callahan broke his foot last game and will be unable to attend tonight’s signing. We are working hard to get a rescheduled date for Bryce.
We will be issuing a $20 cash… https://t.co/L2HEuBmfkT
— Elite Icons (@EliteIcons) December 11, 2018
****IMPORTANT SIGNING UPDATE****Bryce Callahan broke his foot last game and will be unable to attend tonight’s…
Losing Callahan is a total bummer for the soon-to-be-clinching Chicago Bears. The NFL is a pass-friendly league that features more 3-4 wide receiver sets now than at any other point in the league’s history, which has led to an increased importance of nickel/slot cornerbacks. But because running the ball is still valuable too, those corners need to be able to defend the ground game, tackle soundly, and even get in a blitz or two from time to time. Callahan has been doing just that since his rookie season with the Bears and was doing it at an elite level in 2018.
After 14 weeks of games, Callahan found himself ranked as Pro Football Focus’ 11th-highest-graded cornerback with an 80.8 overall grade. The only cornerbacks with a higher grade who have spent at least 90 percent of their snaps in the slot are Desmond King II (PFF’s No. 1 overall CB with a 90.7 grade) and Nickell Robey-Coleman (No. 6, 84.3). That’s it. Few players have made an impact out of the slot like Callahan and the Bears will certainly miss him.
The Bears have one heck of a task ahead of them in replacing Callahan. In-house options are led by veteran Sherrick McManis and undrafted free agent rookie Kevin Toliver II. Practice squad options include Jonathan Mincy (who looked pretty good at the end of preseason), as well as undrafted free agent rookies John Franklin III and Michael Joseph.
As for options outside of the walls of Halas Hall, let’s just say now isn’t the best time to find a replacement slot corner on the free agent market. Learning a new defense at this time of the year with so much at stake seems risky and could open a door to disaster. But because Defensive Coordinator Vic Fangio has done more with less before, there is hope he can do it again with a defense that won’t have its most underrated player. Unfortunately, hope can only take you so far.
UPDATE (Michael): Before I clicked publish, David Chao had some early-opinions to give, and they’re not particularly optimistic, even if one would give him a chance to return in the playoffs:
If Jones fracture, likely surgery and season over. If base of 5th metatarsal fracture, a chance to come back late season/playoffs. https://t.co/5LhKYvaJMY
— David J. Chao, MD (@ProFootballDoc) December 11, 2018