I am typing this post knowing that, at any given moment, I could pivot to write about a transaction that fortifies the Chicago Bears’ roster. Because GM Ryan Pace has to step in and do just that at some point … right?
It’s weird that one of the most active general managers in football has gone silent. And of all times, why now? His 5-2 team needs help to round out a roster led by a Super Bowl caliber defense, or risk wasting another year in a so-called competitive window.
I suppose money could be an issue. OverTheCap.com estimates the Bears have an estimated $8.240 million in available cap space, so there’s room to make a move if one comes around. But doing so would cut into what they could roll over into 2021, when expectations are the cap will take a significant dip. Moreover, it would eat into what Chicago could offer Allen Robinson (or say, Dak Prescott?) in free agency. Don’t under-estimate how a few million dollars here and there could go a long way.
And then there are my concerns about how much cash-in-hand the Bears actually have. Chicago’s football team is a family business. And while the NFL’s lucrative media rights deals are plentiful, I’m not convinced the McCaskey family maximizes its potential revenue streams to the fullest extent. So while they’ll make a bunch of money from the NFL, it’s the family’s lone money-maker in a fan-less world. That’s not nothing. Again, let me be clear: NFL franchises are going to rake in a ton of dough. However, it won’t be as much as it would’ve been had we not been living in a pandemic. Just something to remember.
Maybe the long-shot answer is the true one here. Perhaps Pace doesn’t feel his team is a move away from being what they want it to be.
It would be a strange decision considering Pace is a known wild-card with a “shooter’s shoot” mentality. Pace has been active and aggressive in making moves in free agency, via offseason trades, and on draft weekend. And to be completely fair, he has done a lot to get this team to this position in the first place. OTC has these Bears ranking 10th in active cap spending in 2020, with $189,937,762. They are also 12th in both active ($211,730,158) and total ($216,832,141) cash spending. So it’s not as if the Bears are holding back resources. It’s just that there’s more to accomplish. And to this point, Pace hasn’t anything to address the team’s concerns despite the obviousness of the situation.
What’s most frustrating is how obvious the Bears’ needs are, particularly along the offensive line. They’ve needed it since March when we tried to re-imagine the group as a strength in 2020 with the help of potential free agent acquisitions. We even went as far as to highlight potential fits for a team that had reasons to address the position on draft weekend. Instead, Chicago addressed its weakness by signing Germain Ifedi to a one-year “prove it” deal. They also added Packers cast-off Jason Spriggs for depth purposes, but haven’t used him to this point. The team also drafted two developmental project, neither of whom is in a position to help the 2020 Bears win right now.
The good news is that there’s still time to get help.
Chicago could still explore the free agent market. Justin Britt, Josh Kline, and Michael Person are among those with experience. Kevin Zeitler (Giants), Alex Mack (Falcons), or James Carpenter (Falcons) are possible trade options. There’s still time for Pace to pull a rabbit out of his hat. And if he doesn’t, he’ll need more than magic to escape this trap.