Tag Time, HBD to the Mack Attack, Combine Bubble Bursts, and Other Bears Bullets

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Tag Time, HBD to the Mack Attack, Combine Bubble Bursts, and Other Bears Bullets

Chicago Bears

Happy Rick Ross Day!

•   In addition to it being 2-22-22 on a Tuesday, it is also the day in which teams can begin designating players with the Franchise or Transition Tag. In short, the tag is fully guaranteed one-year contract that keeps players who would otherwise be unrestricted free agents from hitting the open market. If you’d like a more detailed rundown of what the Tag deal is all about, I strongly encourage reading our primer from last year. Fittingly enough, that had a good amount of Allen Robinson II chatter. That feels timely, considering Robinson — who put up consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons in Chicago before turning in a clunker in 2021 — is reportedly “unlikely” to get the tag treatment.

•   Once upon a time, the tag was a used to buy teams and players time in coming up with an extension. A recent example of that usage is when the Bears deployed the Transition Tag on Kyle Fuller. The move allowed the Packers to make an offer sheet that set the price of doing business. And ultimately leaving the Bears the easy decision to sign the deal. But more recently, we’ve seen the Franchise Tag used to delay the inevitable that is a player’s departure. It happened with Alshon Jeffery, and appears to be happening with Robinson.

•   Jeff Kerr (CBS Sports) runs through players who could get snagged with a tag between now and March 8, which is the final day to give a Franchise or Transition Tag. Considering how the buzz is that Robinson won’t get a second tag in Chicago, Kerr sees no alternative in terms of Bears free-agents-to-be worthy of getting one. Judy Battista (NFL Media) has a 10 intriguing Tag-worthy candidates. It is hard to envision a flurry of movement right way, but we’ll be keeping tabs on these players. Any number of them could make for intriguing free agent options if they make it past Tag Watch.

•   Of course there is some crossover between Krisotpher Knox’s most intriguing free agents list at Bleacher Report and the Franchise/Transition Tag conversation.

•   Someone get this bear a uniform:

•   Nate Atkins (BearsWire) composes a list of seven Bears players with the most to prove this year. And, frankly, I don’t know how you can limit yourself to seven. Bringing in a new general manager and head coach means everyone has a lot to prove. The new guys don’t have to be on board with all of the old regime’s players. So everyone needs to be on their P’s and Q’s in 2022.

•   Today is Khalil Mack’s birthday, so let’s enjoy some tape of him wrecking stuff:

•   We’ve had four years of Mack in Chicago. And I think it is safe to say Mack is who we thought he’d be. Four years, 53 games, 36 sacks, 35 tackles-for-loss, 52 QB Hits, a safety, two interceptions (including a pick-six), 14 forced fumbles, and six fumble recoveries. Three Pro Bowls, a first-team All-Pro selection in 2018, a nod as the NFL’s third best player entering the 2019 season (and *DURING* the 2018 campaign), second-team All-Pro and top-20 player in football status in 2020, and recognition as the second-best defensive player in football before the 2021 season. Pretty good!

•   I can’t hold it against him that the QB Ryan Pace invested in didn’t live up to the expectations that come with being the No. 2  overall pick and first one at his position off the board. And it’s not Mack’s fault that the offensive-leaning head coach tasked with getting the most out of the quarterback failed to do so. If only all of Pace’s transactions were s successful as Mack has been.

•   The NFL’s attempt at putting together a “bubble” for the upcoming Scouting Combine has been popped:

•   As Patrick noted in his look Around the NFL, the league sent a memo notifying prospects they’d be in a “bubble” (think of what the NBA was doing for its playoffs in 2020) and that leaving the secure area would be grounds to be sent home. It felt like a little much to me, and I guess I wasn’t alone.

•   There were up to 155 players who were reportedly set to boycott the Combine — which begins a week from today! But the NFL pumping the brakes on a hard bubble will probably squash that boycott before it could get going. This is a bit of a mixed bag for me. Because, on the one hand, I suppose you could talk me into an angle where the NFL is simply trying to protect prospects. Not to mention themselves. Although, I’d a hard bubble felt to be a bit too overprotective. But that’s water under the bridge with the NFL loosening its restrictions. Hopefully, no one crosses any lines or gets into trouble with the league easing up.

•   ICYMI: The NFL Scouting Combine, which is taking place from March 1-7 in Indianapolis, invited 324 draft-eligible prospects. Among them are 58 offensive linemen, 40 wide receivers, and 61 defensive backs. Those are numbers worth underscoring when you consider the Bears’ needs at those positions. You can read more about the Combine here.

•   Speaking of prospects, I’ll be sure to share this podcast when it posts:

•   When it comes to baseball prospects, Bryan has you covered over at BN Cubs:

•   If you wanna be the best, you’re gonna have to beat the best:

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Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.