If you forced me to answer a question regarding who was my favorite coach to cover as a young reporter, I’d tell you stories about Randy Smithpeters. Honest, endearing, entertaining, and knowledgeable, Smithpeters was everything you’d want from a coach as an up-and-coming reporter. And as a bonus, his teams were fun to watch. So, naturally, I beamed when I saw news that he collected his 500th win as a high school basketball coach. Here’s to many more.
• Mentally, I’m gearing up for tomorrow’s Franchise Tag deadline day. Unless, of course, it isn’t tomorrow:
A storyline to follow going forward: If the official salary cap number doesn’t come today and soon, NFL will have to move back the deadline to franchise tag players from Tuesday. It’s a situation several GMs are bracing for and would further stall business for a bit.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 8, 2021
• For what it’s worth, I don’t think this is a stall tactic. But if it works that way, so be it. Teams have an idea where the cap will land, but not knowing it gives teams unexpected bonus time to make tough decisions. If only we were all so lucky to be given additional time to work through everything in life. Here’s hoping NFL teams (and player agents) make the most of what might otherwise be seen as a sub-optimal situation.
• I feel as if one (small) reason the Bears and Allen Robinson struggled to come to a deal is because the uncertainty regarding the 2021 salary cap. I’m not saying it’s a major reason. Remember, the Bears came to an extension agreement with Tarik Cohen. But because Robinson’s number was going to be larger than Cohen’s, and thus, take up a significantly bigger percentage of the cap, knowing what number you’ll be working with would be helpful. Not just for the Bears, who would want this number for planning purposes. But also, possibly for Robinson’s side. Long story, short: Not having a cap set at this point is bugging my vibe on a Monday.
• Elsewhere in Tag Land, I think we should keep an eye on this:
— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) March 8, 2021
• Kenny Golladay collected consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons in 2018 and 2019. The 2020 campaign was an injury-shortened one. But the talented NIU product could flourish in a new setting with a clean slate. He’s just a year removed from snagging 65-catches, posting 1,190 receiving yards, and hauling in a league-leading 11 touchdown receptions in a Pro Bowl season. If the Bears were to let Robinson walk, Golladay makes sense as an ideal target. And that’s saying a lot in a loaded class of receivers who are hitting the market (in one way or another) this offseason.
• Let’s not under-estimate the value of a strong lead receiver. Not only does one make life easier on the quarterback, true WR1 types make it easier for other pass-catchers to do work. As Eric Eager (PFF) explains, it’s the game within the game stuff that comes into play.
• When I joke about the salary cap being a myth, this is the stuff I’m ha-ha’ing about:
If the Saints can dig out of a $65M cap hole, any team can clear a fair amount of space. Just kinda keep that in mind moving forward with the #Bears cap situation.
Teams can always kick the can down the road, they'll just eventually have to pay the toll.
— Aaron Leming (@AaronLemingNFL) March 8, 2021
• “There’s always money in the banana stand!” And don’t you forget it.
• Tom Pelissero (NFL Network) rattles off a list of players who could be in line for heftier paydays than one might otherwise expect. The assumption is that a cap that shrinks from $198 million to $180 is going to drive salaries down across the board. However, there are still opportunities for some to get an unexpected boost. Among the players who happen to play positions I’d consider “needs” for the Bears are: OT Trent Williams, WR Corey Davis, OG Joe Thuney, TE Jonnu Smith, CB Troy Hill, C Corey Linsley, TE Gerald Everett.
• Olin Kreutz lived one heckuva football life snapping to all those Bears QBs over the years:
Admittedly, going over the #Bears' QB history isn't easy.
But there is no former player better to talk it through with than @olin_kreutz
Why? Well, talking ball with him is always great … and he snapped to 20 (!!!) Bears QBs.
"It’s insane, right?”https://t.co/OE3unCVNzf
— Adam Jahns (@adamjahns) March 8, 2021
• I’m low-key miffed about Peter King suggesting the Bears sending Day 2 draft capital in a trade for Marcus Mariota because of one game in which he completed 60 percent of his passes for 226 yards, threw one TD (it was a dime, so I’ll give him that), and an interception. I understand there is a real chance the Bears don’t acquire Deshaun Watson or Russell Wilson. And I realize that trading up in the Draft to select a top tier prospect such as Justin Fields, Zach Wilson, or even Trey Lance will be costly as heck. But suggesting the Bears throw significant draft capital for a one-year reclamation project who could end up costing $15-20 million without posting the type of results you’d expect from that salary is something that should’ve been saved as in a draft.
• JJ Stankevitz and Cam Ellis did a tremendous job on the Under Center Podcast, which had grown into a go-to listen for me. Good luck to the new crew:
— Russ Talk (@NBCSBears) March 8, 2021
• Chase Daniel is a finesse gawd:
Lions have had trade discussions with other teams regarding their backup QB Chase Daniel, per sources. Daniel has been considered an ideal mentor for young QBs, something he learned from Drew Brees during their time together in New Orleans.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 8, 2021
• Virginia Halas McCaskey has pretty much seen it all:
Born in 1923, few people have seen as much NFL history as Virginia Halas McCaskey.
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) March 8, 2021