After diving into what it will take for the Bears to clear up ample cap space to address their needs, I’m ready for the “legal tampering” period to begin and for the 2019 NFL calendar year to get here. Hurry up, let’s go!
- Patriots owner Robert Kraft being charged in a human trafficking/prostitution sting is not something I expected to write about today:
Breaking: Patriots owner Robert Kraft has been charged with solicitation of prostitution, police said. https://t.co/6ZKg1fxtMT
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) February 22, 2019
- Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk notes that team owners are subject to the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy, which means Kraft could be suspended if the league finds the Patriots owner’s conduct detrimental. It wouldn’t be unprecedented for an owner to be suspended. The league suspended Colts owner Jim Irsay for six games and fined him $500,000 for violating its Personal Conduct Policy after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor count of DWI in March 2014. And as Smith points out, that could mean Kraft could be unable to attend the celebration of the team’s most recent Super Bowl win.
- Elsewhere around the league …
- Hey! The Bears aren’t the only team in the NFC North with problems to solve in the kicking game. New Vikings Special Teams Coordinator Marwan Maalouf is open to anything that could point the group in the right direction. “All things are on the table,” Maalouf told TwinCities.com. “We are starting to look at (draft-eligible) kickers and free agent kickers. That’s something that I’ve had good luck with in the past. We have always had good kickers where I’ve been.” Maalouf has 14 years of NFL experience under his belt and has spent time with the Browns (2004-06), Ravens (2008-11), Colts (2012), and Dolphins (2013-18). So I guess Cody Parkey counts as one of those “good kickers” he’s had along the way during his career?
- Dan Bailey had a rough year with the Vikings last year. In fact he missed as many regular-season field goals (7) as Parkey did. Prior to 2017, Bailey was as reliable as they get. He made 89.5 percent of his field goals and didn’t miss an extra point in 96 games between 2011 and 2016. But in the last two seasons, Bailey has connected on just 75 percent of his field goal tries and has missed three PATs. Yikes.
- Up north in the land of cheese, Packers Defensive Coordinator Mike Pettine believes his unit is poised to take a second-year leap into bigger things in 2019. “In year one of a system, it’s really hard to get into the graduate-level details of the job,” Pettine explained to Ryan Wood of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “So kind of going through the end-of-year cutups, and you come to the realization we spent so much more time last year on coaching players on what to do and not enough time on how to do it, and that’s usually typical of a year one.” Pettine would go on to suggest that better things are on the horizon now that guys are experienced in the system. Fair enough.
- It’s fitting that the Bears are in the same boat when it comes to the offensive side of the ball. If both teams are at full strength next year, the 2019 Bears-Packers games should be explosive. I think we’re about to see a refueling of the rivalry, if we haven’t already seen the start of it already.
- In search of a pass-rusher? Fear not! Two-time Pro Bowler and three-time Super Bowl champ Willie McGinest offers up 10 pass-rushers worth pursuing in free agency and the draft. No Bears players make the list (because the best ones are under contract, duh!) but names NFC North fans are familiar with (Sheldon Richardson, Ndamukong Suh, Ezekiel Ansah) are among the cream of the crop in McGinest’s eyes.
- Besides, who needs a pass-rusher when you’ve got this guy on your squad:
- I suppose this provides a ballpark figure for Bryce Callahan to shoot for in a new deal, whether it be with the Bears or elsewhere:
Tavon Young’s new deal with the Ravens:
$10M signing bonus
2019: $1M base ($1M guaranteed)
2020: $5.5M base ($2M guaranteed)
2021: $5.5M base
2022: $5.845M base
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) February 22, 2019
- Zion Williamson’s exploding shoe made headlines on Wednesday night, especially after news surfaced that he suffered a knee sprain in the process. Shoe malfunctions are rare, but Lions rookie guard Frank Ragnow had a busted shoe that cost him a snap against the Vikings last season. Seriously. Matt Schoch of the Detroit News has the scoop.