The Chicago Bears have been moving around money to create salary cap space in recent weeks and I wouldn’t have flinched had you presumed their targets to be safety Adrian Amos and slot cornerback Bryce Callahan. After all, the Bears have a thing for rewarding their own, and locking in key members of the NFL’s top-ranked scoring defense seems like an ideal way to spend some money.
HOWEVER, their eyes could be on a bigger prize:
— Matt Verderame (@MattVerderame) March 11, 2019
Fansided’s Matt Verderame reports the Bears have “significant interest” in signing free agent running back Le’Veon Bell. The Bears appear to be hanging on the periphery with the Jets being the projected front-runners in the sweepstakes. But that Chicago is a team to monitor in the situation – at all – is certainly noteworthy.
Of course, this also isn’t the first time Bell has been connected to the Bears. Chicago was pegged as a “team to watch” in the race to get Bell back in February, and that was before he even hit the free-agent marketplace. At the time, we bought it as a possibility, but conceded that it would be complicated (at best) to pull off. But now that the Bears have around $19 million in cap space, the window to fit in a deal for Bell is incrementally larger than it was in early February
And, hey: Bell remains an ideal fit as a rusher and receiver out of the backfield for the Bears offense and GM Ryan Pace has been known to make a splash move for a player he really loves.
And why wouldn’t he love a guy with two All-Pro seasons, three Pro Bowl years, and three NFL campaigns in which he has racked up at least 1,200 rushing yards (plus four years in which he picked up at least 45 catches)? The Bears window of contention is open *right now* and they will need to target high-ceiling players, like Bell, whenever they’re available.
Reminder: Bell sat out last year holding out for a new contract and there is some concern that he packed on some pounds during his year off. But if he’s healthy, fit, and able, you can see where he would fit into the offense better than Jordan Howard (who is still apparently on the trading block). Stay tuned. An offseason that wasn’t expected to provide a big-money expenditure could turn at any moment.
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