Tight End Clarity, Johnson as the X-Factor, Peanut’s Stickers, and Other Bears Bullets
I jammed a whole lotta fun into last week. Long-time friends and new ones. New stadiums and familiar stomping grounds. And so many adult beverages. I’m hoping the re-opening of things around the country is the start of something special and not a blip on the radar. Here’s to the upswing.
• The Bears cleared a roster spot and trimmed the tight ends room with one move on Sunday night, releasing tight end Darion Clark. Chicago originally signed on a reserve/future contract in January 2020 and was waived/injured in August, but was back on another deal that put him on the 90-man roster for this year. Clark was another basketball-to-football flier tryout, but yet another that didn’t pan out in Chicago. I say keep throwing darts at that board until one sticks. Best of luck to Clark on his future endeavors.
• With Clark’s release, the Bears are now down to Jimmy Graham, Cole Kmet, J.P. Holtz, Jesper Horsted, and Scooter Harrington. I expect the Bears to carry four tight ends. So with Graham and Kmet as the only virtual locks, the battle beneath them on the depth chart is one to watch.
• Then again, I suppose Graham could be on the cutting block if the other tight ends on the lower part of the depth chart perform really well. Remember, the Bears could clear $7 million in cap space if they cut Graham before the start of the season.
• Also worth mentioning that the roster spot is open and there for the taking. In other words, if the Bears wanted to get jiggy and sign free agent right tackle Morgan Moses, there’s an open roster spot just hanging out.
• On the other side of the ball, Brad Gagnon (B/R) views Jaylon Johnson as the Bears’ biggest X-factor for the 2021 season. Johnson taking a second-year leap could pay huge dividends for Chicago’s defense. This unit lost two starters in the secondary when releasing Kyle Fuller and Buster Skrine, so Johnson has to take his game to another level to mitigate the losses around him. That I am unsure what to expect out of Desmond Trufant puts even more on Johnson’s plate. I don’t want to put too much on the shoulders of a rising second-year player. But the Bears wouldn’t have chosen him in the 2020 NFL Draft if they didn’t believe he has CB1 potential. As far as I’m concerned, Johnson is just about there.
• Johnson didn’t have any interceptions last year, but here’s a reminder of what he can do:
• If the Bears’ pass-rush is on point this year, Johnson, Trufant, and others will have opportunities for interceptions. And with those interceptions, the Bears could turn turnovers into points with some better quarterbacking this year. Everything works when everyone works together.
• Some interesting perspective from Jason Lieser of the Sun-Times, who writes how Justin Fields can learn from Andy Dalton. It is interesting to think about how someone with Fields’ talent, upside, and potential can learn from someone like Dalton — who never had that raw talent, but has game and life experiences he can pass on. And for what it’s worth, Dalton seems to be embracing the mentor role.
• I see this as a sign that Darnell Mooney’s stock is to the moon:
Traded Darnell Mooney straight up for Henry Ruggs in a dynasty league this weekend and don’t feel great about it. Couldn’t imagine saying that one year ago.
— Ian Kenyon (@IanKenyonNFL) June 14, 2021
• Men’s watches, bedding stuff, women’s clothes, and more are your Deals of the Day at Amazon. #ad
• Proceeds from the Charles Tillman Peanut Punch Pack of stickers are going to support his Cornerstone Foundation:
Here’s the correct link for the stickers…my bad y’all. https://t.co/g8J6bqfV7l
— Charles Tillman (@peanuttillman) June 13, 2021
• Carolina found a cool way to announce it is bringing back an old friend for preseason games in the booth:
Guess who’s in the booth this preseason 👀 pic.twitter.com/b4AJrqy4Pb
— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) June 14, 2021
• The cup snake at Wrigley last night was impressive, but it didn’t hit me until I saw this:
That cup snake is like 100 feet. So let’s say 2 cups an inch. 2400 beers. At 12 bucks per, that’s a $30k snake!! #cubs
— Jim Mumford (@jkmumford) June 14, 2021
• I see Kirby Dach is living his best summer:
Oh…Hi, Kirby 🏄♂️#Blackhawks
(📸IG: kdach77) pic.twitter.com/rg1gpwGV9y
— Bleacher Nation Blackhawks (@BN_Blackhawks) June 13, 2021