My favorite news headlines to read are ones that suggest that we are evolving as a society.
And I feel as if the hiring of Maia Chaka, the first Black woman to be an on-field NFL official is one of those headlines:
We welcome Maia Chaka to the 2021 roster of game officials!
— NFL Officiating (@NFLOfficiating) March 5, 2021
Chaka has experience in the XFL, collegiately in the Pac-12 and elsewhere, and was most recently officiating in January’s Senior Bowl. Becoming a professional official is a grind. It’s a journey that (1) simply isn’t for everyone and (2) not available as a path to many. So here’s hoping Chaka’s hiring opens the door for many to follow in her footsteps.
• I’ve been trying to figure out a timetable for when a splashy Bears quarterback acquisition would go down. And for a few weeks now, I was coming close to settling on NFL Draft weekend being the time. My reasoning? Once the Draft opens, it’s the only time teams can trade four years worth of draft picks. And if I ran a team dangling a highly-sought-after signal caller, I’d insist on four years worth of first-round picks. But I suppose the wait doesn’t have to be that long. In fact, I’m now wondering if it’ll come sooner than expected.
• The evolution of chatter has my eyebrows raised. Specifically, yesterday’s reports from ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler have my attention. On the same day Fowler reported about Wilson liking Matt Nagy and the Bears’ offensive line (no, seriously), he also dropped word that Chicago is exploring contract restructures for Cody Whitehair and Eddie Jackson. The Bears need to clear cap space any way, so I don’t necessarily think it’s a direct connection. But if you’re looking for a hint that a splash is on the horizon, then I don’t think it’s too much of a leap to connect the Bears restructuring two sizable long-term extensions to their QB pursuits. Gotta clear the books somehow.
• That all of this comes as buzz surfaces suggesting the Seahawks are listening when teams are calling for Wilson is convenient, to say the least.
• Mark Potash (Sun-Times) wonders if standout defenders Akiem Hicks and Kyle Fuller can avoid being salary cap casualties. The Bears could cut Fuller (saving $11M) and Hicks ($10.5M savings), thus creating a hearty chunk of change to play with in the open market. HOWEVER, those two cuts would create two significant holes on the defense. Fuller is still one of the league’s best corners, even as he enters his age 29 season. And even though Hicks is 31, he still makes an impact at the point of attack. We’re only one season removed from seeing what this “D” looks without Hicks, and I’m frightened by the idea of re-visiting those days. Ideally, the Bears would want to keep those two around to give whichever QB comes to town a fighting chance with a baller defense.
• Speaking of cap savings, the Bears better cherish every cent that becomes available:
About $600K more carryover for Chicago than originally expected. Nothing major, but every penny counts! https://t.co/zkIaxTUf3I
— Brad Spielberger (@PFF_Brad) March 4, 2021
• I never really thought about how dueling quarterbacks could impact an offense’s intricacies until hearing Allen Robinson talk on it:
— PFF (@PFF) March 5, 2021
• The latest in The Athletic’s superb Bears QB series explores what it was like to be Jay Cutler’s backup, featuring the likes of Jason Campbell, Josh McCown, and Jimmy Clausen!
“As a person, he was hilarious. As a football player, he had that mentality: ‘I don’t care what anybody says. I’m gonna play the way I play.’”
“If you know Jay, Jay treats you unbelievably.”
Next up in our Bears QB series: Being Jay Cutler’s backup https://t.co/Y2RUeWldkV
— Kevin Fishbain (@kfishbain) March 4, 2021
• This is pretty neat:
Hear from 5️⃣ of the Bears’ leading business staff in a panel moderated by @lscreeden.
— WISE Chicago (@WISEChicago) March 4, 2021
• Stud defenseman Brent Seabrook is retiring after a superb 15-year career with he Blackhawks. Thanks for the memories, #7:
— Bleacher Nation Blackhawks (@BN_Blackhawks) March 5, 2021
• A new episode of the Talkin’ Toros podcast is OUT. Thoughts on the Bulls at the break, sandwich bets, and a look at the upcoming trade deadline.