Pace's Drought-Breaking and Award-Winning Year, Growing Cap Space, Super Odds, and Other Bullets

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Pace’s Drought-Breaking and Award-Winning Year, Growing Cap Space, Super Odds, and Other Bullets

Chicago Bears

Had I used KenPom’s ranking to place my bets or put together an NCAA Tournament bracket, I’d be in pretty good shape because the top 14 teams in the ratings have moved on to the Sweet 16. As for the two “outliers” in the group, LSU checked in at No. 18 and Oregon No. 29. Hopefully, a chalk-heavy opening weekend provides some compelling basketball this weekend.

  • Look at those happy campers!
  • When your football year starts with hiring the guy who would go on to win the NFL’s Coach of the Year award, you’re probably setting yourself up for something special. Think about Pace’s 2018 this way: He hired the NFL’s Coach of the Year, traded for an All-Pro pass-rusher, re-signed one All-Pro cornerback and one who landed on Pro Football Focus’ top-101 players list, extended the contract of a nose tackle who also cracked PFF’s top-101, drafted starters in the first two rounds, while also selecting role players who took on a workload similar to that of a starter later. That’s a ton of heavy lifting and the accolades were well-deserved.
  • So you’re saying it’s been awhile:

  • That the award was voted on by NFL executives probably makes it that much sweeter for Pace, who has faced his share of criticism for the team’s short-comings in earlier years. And while it’s not the trophy Pace hoped to be holding after the 2018 season ended, there are reasons to be optimistic that it could be coming down the line.
  • Considering the tight squeeze that was the Bears’ cap situation earlier in the offseason, it’s a welcome sign that things aren’t all that bad right now:

  • When it comes to almost all leaderboards, sitting around the middle of the pack does no good for anyone. However, the Bears ranking 16th with $16,715,716 in available cap space is a healthy place to be. The team’s needs are minimal right now. A third edge rusher, depth in the secondary and at the line of scrimmage, and a veteran kicker top the list of needs as of right now. As things stand, there is probably enough room for the right kind of free agent signing, as well as an extension for a player already in the mix. More on that later.
  • The guys behind the scenes never get the love they deserve, so I’m definitely digging the latest from The Athletic’s Dan Pompei:

  • Updated Super Bowl odds:

  • I may or may not have picked up a ticket at 20/1 for the Browns to win it all as a nod to a good friend. So to see them at 12/1 here suggests I received tremendous value. It’s moments like this why I try to share Super Bowl odds as often as I can get around to doing so.
  • And for what it’s worth, I still see value in the Bears being at 14/1.
  • Here is a valuable lesson: If Bill Belichick and the Patriots want to trade up to your spot outside of the first round to draft someone, they’re probably taking someone good:

  • Gaines Adams. Wow. Now that’s a name that will take you back.
  • The Deals of the Day today at Amazon include Chromebooks and air fryers. Now, if only I had more space on my desktop and my kitchen …

Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.