The Chicago Bears have just five days until the NFL’s trade deadline, and the best plan of attack remains unclear.
They are 3-3 with a challenging schedule ahead. And in order to make a second consecutive appearance in the postseason, Chicago will need improvements from the players already on the roster, a better schematic plan of attack, and some help on the health front before even thinking about piecing together a trade that could help move things along. But fresh blood on the roster certainly wouldn’t hurt. So let’s check in on the latest.
- In a piece offering up trade scenarios for each NFL Team, Jeremy Bergman suggests trading for Dolphins running back Kenyan Drake. Through his first three years in the league, Drake averaged 4.7 yards per rush, but that number has dipped to 3.7 as Miami’s tank job has worked a little too well. And since the Dolphins have been sellers since before the season started, this could be an easy opportunity for the Bears to buy. Bergman suggests a 2020 seventh-round pick and 2021 third-rounder is fair compensation from the Bears, but also thinks a 2020 fourth-rounder with incentives that could kick the pick into a third-rounder is what the Dolphins should seek.
- But here’s the thing — Drake isn’t going to solve the Bears’ rushing problem, either. Remember, the Bears’ issues aren’t because they don’t have talent at the position. Instead, it is player usage, scheme, and an unwillingness to commit to run plays that has made the offense a predictable and one-dimensional bunch. But hey, I like the gumption and effort.
- A more realistic trade target would be one who plays the tight end position. Over at The Athletic, Adam Jahns presented a handful of options for the Bears to target before the deadline passes.
- Trading wide receiver Mohamed Sanu to the Patriots for a second-round pick helped usher the Falcons into sell-mode, and Jahns notes speculation suggesting tight end Austin Hooper’s availability. However, trading for Hooper won’t be cheap. Even though he’s a free agent after the season, Hooper has 46 catches, 526 receiving yards, and four touchdowns. He’d certainly be an impact addition, but the cost of doing business might be too steep for a team that doesn’t have any first-round picks to deal until 2021 (and waining odds of reaching the postseason as is).
- O.J. Howard of the Buccaneers is another intriguing target. Despite playing on 81 percent of the offense’s snaps, Howard has been underutilized in Tampa. He’s on pace for just 35 catches and 469 yards, which isn’t all that nice considering his talent and prospect pedigree.
- That said, the Bears should know what Howard is all about, having met with him in the pre-draft process and taken a good look at him when their coaching staff was at the Senior Bowl. I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting on a Howard deal though, as the Patriots were reportedly turned away when they engaged with the Bucs. But still … it isn’t impossible to envision an agreement. The NFL.com trade piece we discussed earlier suggested that potential compensation in a Howard deal could be a 2020 sixth-round pick and a 2021 second-rounder. That might be enticing enough to get the Bucs to bite.
- A more difficult trade is one in which the Bears acquire a quarterback. We discussed Cam Newton and Nick Foles as possibilities earlier in the week, and Marcus Mariota the week prior. Let’s discuss what the compensation in a Mariota deal would look like, now that NFL.com’s Marc Sessler laid out the ground work.
- Sessler advises the Titans to sell on Mariota. It is painfully obvious that Mariota needs a clean slate, which is something the Bears could give him. It could help that the Bears’ offensive coordinator (Mark Helfrich) was calling the shots for Mariota when he won the Heisman Trophy at Oregon. Admittedly, this type of deal feels like a long shot (odds are considered low by Sessler). But who says no to a Day 3 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft as fair compensation for the roll-of-the-dice on Mariota?