It has been six days since teams could start wooing free agent players from other teams. And while the Bears have made some moves, they haven’t done anything that would “wow” you.
Maybe that changes in the coming days now that the winner of the Deshaun Watson derby has been decided. I still can’t believe it is the Browns, by the way. And I can’t believe the whopper of an extension he was given, too. Sheesh. That is quite the leap of faith for a player who still has 20+ civil suits to deal with.
The La’el Collins Market Taking Shape
La'el Collins left Cincinnati without a deal, but there is no visit planned with Dolphins at this time. Dolphins, while monitoring Collins situation, appear up to something else (Armstead? praying for development of the kids?) They've told one 3rd tier OT they might be in touch
— Barry Jackson (@flasportsbuzz) March 19, 2022
After visiting Cincinnati and reportedly leaving town without a contract, right tackle La’el Collins remains a free agent. And so long as that is the case, I will continue to kindly ask the Bears to consider signing him in free agency. Because, even after adding Lucas Patrick to the middle of the offensive line, Chicago still has questions at tackle.
Are Teven Jenkins and Larry Borom entrenched as starters? And if so, on what side of the line will they play? Before the 2021 NFL Draft, the consensus was that Jenkins would be a right tackle. But upon his drafting, the Bears were penciling him in as the left tackle responsible for protecting Justin Fields’ blindside. Does he move back to right tackle? Stick on the left side? Slide into a right guard spot? It feels like the possibilities are endless. Meanwhile, we still are unsure of Borom’s future. Draftniks were pegging Borom to play guard at the NFL level. But Bears coaches saw him as a possible left tackle option. Ushering in a new regime brings even more questions. However, I guess that is a small price to pay for necessary change.
All that to underscore how signing Collins and planting him in that right tackle spot could help alleviate concerns at that position (and elsewhere).
What is Next For Terron Armstead?
As Barry Jackson mentions above, the Dolphins have all sorts of feelers out. Not just for Collins, but for Terron Armstead, too.
Sigh. It’s never easy, is it?
Armstead, a 30-year-old left tackle, makes a whole bunch of sense as a Bears target. And there was a belief that a Deshaun Watson trade was holding up Armstead’s market. But with Watson joining the Browns, shouldn’t that logjam be clearing out by now? Or is Armstead now going to be the one putting a freeze on this particular free agent market. By that, I mean will Armstead be the one whose signing sets the value in the tackle market. Or will teams instead angle to get Collins before the price of the free agent right tackle rivals his left-side counterpart.
Of course, the Bears remain an option in all of this …
Bears were in on the Terron Armstead sweepstakes before the Deshaun Watson courtship by the Saints delayed Armstead’s decision.
Keep an eye on that.
— Brett Kollmann (@BrettKollmann) March 18, 2022
Firmly believe Bears are interested in Terron Armstead. But if Deshaun chooses Nola, it’ll be very surprising if Armstead doesn’t return.
— DaBearsBlog (@dabearsblog) March 15, 2022
… but patience is necessary.
Watch Out for the Packers in the MVS Sweepstakes
OverTheCap.com has the Packers at $20,444,282 under the cap. How they managed to make it under the cap (with spending space, to boot!) after being where they were is a testament to Russ Ball. The Packers executive is a cap magician. Frankly, considering the work he has done in recent years, this is someone teams should be interviewing to be a general manager. And not just to get him out of the division either. Someone clearly knows their stuff.
As for what the Packers will do with their newfound cap space, they could be targeting a reunion with Marquez Valdes-Scantling:
#Packers continue to talk with WR Marquez Valdez-Scantling in hopes of re-signing him, and a deal could come this weekend. MVS had other offers before GB jumped in, so he has options. There’s a starting position waiting for him in GB though.
— Tom Silverstein (@TomSilverstein) March 19, 2022
After seeing so much smoke connecting MVS and the Bears, seeing him run it back with the Packers might sting a little. Valdes-Scantling was a sensible Bears option at the outset of free agency. However, seeing that market go bonkers makes me wonder if it changed the player’s asking price and took it to a place where the team wouldn’t follow.
The market for MVS has vacillated throughout free agency. Earlier in the offseason, there was an expectation that Valdes-Scantling’s next contract could come with an $8 million per year price tag. Not a budget buster, to be sure. But a fair amount of cash. But things appeared to change after the NFL Scouting Combine. So much so, PFF updated its projections to a deal that paid MVS $10 million per season. But with Christian Kirk and the Jaguars wrecking the marketplace, MVS could conceivably ask for more than he was expecting. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Valdes-Scantling’s next deal be in the $12-15 million range. And that could take the Bears out of it should they be on the conservative side of spending on risk with the chance of upside.