Bears Ring in the New League Year with Official Announcements: Nick Foles, Jimmy Graham, and Robert Quinn

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Bears Ring in the New League Year with Official Announcements: Nick Foles, Jimmy Graham, and Robert Quinn

Chicago Bears

The ball has dropped and business can officially begin to pick up.

A new league year was ushered in at 3 p.m. CT today, which means free agent signings and trades can be announced and executed. Although, the NFL is having its teams announce transactions awkwardly (for reasons unbeknownst to anyone). Seriously, the social media rules and restrictions limiting what teams can say about their new players are not particularly sensible – not while NFL Network personalities can yak about ’em until the cows come home. But I digress.

It’s a new league year, so let’s meet some of the newest members of the Chicago Bears as the NFL’s 101st season is officially underway.

Tight End Jimmy Graham:

A five-time Pro Bowler (three times in New Orleans and twice in Seattle), Jimmy Graham’s resume is as good as they come for a free agent tight end. At the peak of his powers, Graham was the prototypical tight end that every team wanted. The combination of size, speed, and athleticism made him a unicorn at the position.

Unfortunately, that Jimmy Graham isn’t walking through the Halas Hall doors in 2020 – not as he enters his age 34 season. And certainly not after two down seasons in Green Bay that pushed him out the door just two years into a three-year free agent deal signed in 2018. But even with diminished skills, Graham is a better player than what the Bears currently had in their tight ends room — which says as much about the group assembled by GM Ryan Pace as it does Graham. Nevertheless, the Bears added an able-bodied athlete who knows how to play the position. How well Graham can play it at this stage of his career will be determined when he gets on the field.

Pass-Rusher Robert Quinn:

With Leonard Floyd’s sack numbers decreasing in each year since his rookie season, there were growing concerns about who was lining up across from Khalil Mack. After all, someone had to be in a position to take advantage of the constant double teams and extra attention Mack was receiving on the other side of the formation. This is where Robert Quinn comes into play.

Quinn is an upgrade from Floyd as far as being a pass-rusher is concern. No, Quinn isn’t going to be as versatile as a defender as Floyd. We can essentially eliminate the idea of him becoming a capable cover guy as an edge defender. But he hits pressures, hits, and sacks the quarterback. That’s what the Bears needed out of Floyd, but weren’t getting. Now they’ll pay him at a $14M AAV to to team up with Mack and make life difficult on opposing quarterbacks.

Quarterback Nick Foles:

The acquisition of Foles is a message that Mitch Trubisky should heed, because it is coming across loud and clear to anyone willing to listen to it. Competition is here. And if Trubisky doesn’t clean it up, his future with the Bears won’t be as the franchise quarterback he was drafted to be in 2017. Trubisky still probably has the upper hand at the outset, but it is tough to imagine Chicago’s front office sending real compensation (the fourth-round draft pick they recently acquired as a compensatory pick for losing Adrian Amos last year) and paying him $21 million as part of a restructured deal, to have him in a role where he is solely QB2.

Foles has proven to be an ideal backup quarterback because of his ability to soak up the offense and process things quickly when thrown into action, often doing so in a pinch off the bench. When given time to operate in a quarterback-friendly system, Foles proved he can guide teams to victory with how he performed in 2013 and 2017. But his time away from Philadelphia doesn’t offer up much to write home about. In any case, the great quarterback battle of 2020 is on the horizon in Chicago.

Author: Luis Medina

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