The Bears’ 2018 season was equal parts successful and fun, though it’s finally time to move on. But before we get right to 2019, let’s take a position-by-position look at the roster – as presently constructed – to find out what’s in store for the offseason and upcoming year.
Today: Defensive backs
WHO’S UNDER CONTRACT?
All-Pro studs Eddie Jackson and Kyle Fuller join fellow PFF top-101 member Prince Amukamara in what might be the most loaded position group of returning players on the Bears. That trio was all over the field making plays for Chicago last season, combining for 16 interceptions, five tackles-for-loss, four forced fumbles, and three touchdowns. Yo.
In addition to stars at the top, the Bears have a certain amount of depth coming back. Returning players you’re most likely familiar with include Sherrick McManis, Kevin Toliver II, and Deon Bush. When discussing this collection of players, its worth noting that McManis and Bush played important snaps down the stretch after being thrust into playing time when Jackson and Bryce Callahan went down with injuries. Toliver also made a start early in the year when Prince Amukamara missed a game with a hamstring injury.
Game experience for reserves in the secondary should not be overlooked. Perhaps next season, players such as Michael Joseph, Jonathon Mincy, and John Franklin III will take the step from being on the roster via a reserve/future contract into a spot as a role player.
EXITING FREE AGENTS
It’s a good thing the Bears are loaded in the defensive backfield because they are at risk of losing a pair of starters.
Adrian Amos has been the Bears’ starting strong safety for the better part of the last four seasons and is on the cusp of landing a pretty significant pay raise. Amos has said he wants to be back and that the Bears want to bring him back, so perhaps there’s a deal to be struck between the two sides. Otherwise, a team like the Broncos could be lurking and waiting to land his services.
Bryce Callahan’s future is up in the air as well. Nickel cornerbacks are starting to get their due after the Ravens locked in Tavon Young to the biggest deal a slot corner has ever received. It’s a deal that’s reportedly worth $8.6 million annually, which sets the market at a high price. But because nickel corners are essentially starters because of how often teams play in three-receiver sets, it might be a price worth paying when it comes to a player whose skills you already know fit the scheme.
Special teams ace DeAndre Houston-Carson is a restricted free agent.
WHO COULD BE CUT BEFORE THE LEAGUE NEW YEAR BEGINS?
There aren’t big savings to be had here.
HOW CAN THE BEARS ADDRESS/UPGRADE THE POSITION?
It would take some fancy maneuvering of the cap, but the Bears could keep the secondary a strength by retaining both Amos and Callahan. But the odds are they can only keep one. If that’s the case, then good luck having to pick between Amos’ steady play at safety and Callahan’s big-play ability at a position of increasing importance.
Mock drafts that don’t have the Bears plucking a running back in the middle rounds will likely have the team taking defensive backs. We have previously discussed the likes of Miami’s Sheldrick Redwine and Maryland’s Darnell Savage Jr. as possible Bears fits who will be available in the upcoming draft. As for free agency, the idea of adding Tyrann Mathieu – a player versatile enough to slide into the safety and cornerback positions – happens to pique our interest.
Stay tuned. This area could be one where sweeping changes occur if the status quo isn’t maintained.