A sincere round of “thank yous” to all of you who sent me well wishes yesterday on my 34th birthday. It felt good. Onward with the rest of July’s adventures!
• The cash considerations regarding Cam Newton’s Patriots contract have been shared by NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport, and it’s quite the bargain:
In the 1-year deal for #Patriots QB Cam Newton, the team guaranteed him just $550K — on a $1.05M total base. The definition of low-risk. The reward comes in $700k in per-game rosters bonuses and another $5.75M in incentives. The max is $7.5M in all.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 2, 2020
• I can’t look at those numbers and not think about how the Bears missed out on the opportunity to grab a potential tremendous value buy. What’s worse is that it was predictable. It’s a trap GM Ryan Pace has fallen into a few times since arriving in Chicago. Pace gets his eyes set on someone, falls in football love, and does everything to get his guy. Don’t get me wrong, I love a GM who acts with conviction. Fortune favors the bold. But it feels as if there isn’t an ideal balance between Pace’s boldness and measured nuance.
• Think about Pace’s draft history and the players he selected after falling head over heels for them. You’ll obviously think about Mitchell Trubisky and Adam Shaheen in 2017. But remember how he talked about selecting David Montgomery and Cole Kmet? Now extend it out to free agents, too. Think about the Jimmy Graham signing this offseason. OK, maybe you’d rather not do that. There is a distinct pattern of Pace putting laser focus on a target and not stopping until he lands him. Nick Foles is the most recent example of it. And it’s possible that it might turn out well for the Bears, there lies a possibility that we look back on that decision and think about Pace’s non-consideration of other options as something that kept the 2020 Bears from reaching their full potential.
• Over at NBC Sports Chicago, Eric Strobel takes us through Chris Simms’ explanation as to why the Bears should lead on the other side of the ball in 2020. It’s pretty logical, too. Leaning on your team’s best unit is going to give your squad the best chance to win. The problem is that Bears fans of any age know that a one-side dominant team isn’t going to go anywhere special. It might win some games. Perhaps even enough to make it to the playoffs. But the ceiling is limited.
• The most encouraging words from Simms might be this:
“Let’s not forget, three years ago we had Blake Bortles, Case Keenum, and Nick Foles in the final four of football competing against Tom Brady. You know why they were there? Not because they’re good or better than Tom Brady or franchise quarterbacks, but their team was really good around them.”
• Hey! At least Pace got the team-building aspect right … right? There are reasons for optimism, but you’ll probably need to give the team a clean slate for this season before you allow yourself to see them.
• An enlightening read from Johnathan Wood (Da Bears Blog) on missed tackles and where the Bears check in on an advanced stat that shouldn’t be overlooked in the grand scheme of things. I would encourage you to give it some time to allow for the data to sink in. But one thing I can’t get past is how poorly some of Chicago’s defensive banks ranked here. Yikes! Eddie Jackson, Kyle Fuller, Tashaun Gipson, and Buster Skrine all ranked in the bottom 40% in the category last year. For Jackson and Skrine, we’re looking at players who have checked in among the bottom 20 percent each of the last two seasons. That’s just not going to cut it.
• ICYMI: The 2020 NFL preseason has reportedly been cut to two games. Which means the Bears have two fewer games to evaluate the competition between Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles.
• Fanatics has a site-wide huge sale going on today only (up to 65% off), so make sure you do some perusing.
• For your listening pleasure:
— Matthias (@MatthiasWRNL) July 2, 2020
• I want to believe Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker when he says: “There are a ton of kickers” who have the leg to make a 65-yard field goal. And I want to believe one of those kickers is employed by the Bears. It’s just that I really don’t want a game to come down to Eddy Piñeiro needing to make a 65-yarder to win a ballgame. If that’s what it takes, then that’s what it takes. But if that’s what it comes down to, I’ll probably spend a whole mess of time thinking about opportunities that were missed that could have helped the Bears avoid that situation in the first place.
• Over at Sports Illustrated, Rick Gosselin writes about the Pittsburgh Steelers’ commitment to the 3-4 defense. The Steelers and the 3-4 “D” are a marriage that has been in place since 1974, and it’s been a match made in football heaven. For years, there was a subset of Bears fans that were against rolling with a three-man front. What can I say, traditionalists don’t become that by changing their tune. But there’s no arguing with the results that have come since Vic Fangio came through, turned over the defense, and added talent along the way to give Chuck Pagano the right group.
• I am just not hearing this:
Don’t Tell Me the Bulls Will Keep Boylen Because They “Don’t Want to Pay Two Coaches”https://t.co/vY3lhAgp5Y
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) July 1, 2020