The WR Market Goes Boom, Bush Goes OPE, Poles’ Patience Play, and Other Bears Bullets

We had an internet outage at Casa de Luis that began around lunch time yesterday and lasted into the evening. But for as much as that stunk, it did give me the opportunity to bake a cake. I mean, what else are you supposed to do when everything grinds to a halt?

•   The Bears are on the cusp of signing restricted free agent offensive lineman Ryan Bates to an offer sheet. And that’s a good thing, or at least it could be if it goes through. It doesn’t quell the concerns I have about how new GM Ryan Poles has gone about operating this offseason. But targeting Bates, hosting him for a visit, and making a good enough impression to get him to sign an offer sheet has the makings of a solid move. Of course, now Chicago plays the waiting game as Buffalo debates matching the offer sheet. However, for the time being, it feels like a step in the right direction.

•   Chris Emma (670 The Score) opines that Poles’ slow-playing the offseason is exactly what the Bears need right now. Emma makes some strong points to back this up. At the top of mind is the highlighting of low-risk signings that could pay off. Byron Pringle, Equanimeous St. Brown, Al-Quadin Muhammad, and Justin Jones are nice players in their own right. And more signings like this figure to be coming since this roster badly needs some bodies. Emma even points out that Poles has the big picture in mind with his backing out of Larry Ogunjobi’s deal. That kind of perspective is important to have, especially after seeing Ryan Pace go hog wild trying to make fetch happen with a roster that was fading. Change is good. But as we’ve said before, it’s going to take some time getting used to moving forward.

•   Although, I can’t – in good faith – give full credit for Poles on his Ogunjobi flip. It was no secret that Ogunjobi had foot surgery two months ago, meaning that the risk of failing a physical was always there. And yet, he was a priority target who was given a deal that was agreed upon. Nevertheless, not trying to force a square peg into a round hole by hoping that signing a player who is injured now with the hope he’ll get healthier later was the right call. In the end, partial credit > no credit.

•   While the Bears seem to be moving in slow motion, the rest of the league continues an offseason that has been bananas on so many different levels. The latest team turning things on their ear is the Dolphins, who some might argue are doing what the Bears should have been doing all along. And, frankly, I can understand why that sentiment is going around. What a list:

https://twitter.com/AdamSchefter/status/1506677357955928072

•   After dismissing a defensive-leaning head coach, the Dolphins brought in an offensive-minded head coach, bolstered the offensive line in free agency with Terron Armstead and Connor Williams, and upgraded the receivers room with Cedrick Wilson Jr. and Tyreek Hill. No, I’m still not sure the Dolphins are all-in on Tua Tagovailoa. But they’re giving him a fighter’s chance to prove that he has it. I sure wish the Bears would give Justin Fields that much.

•   Then again, I see what the Dolphins are doing and find myself wishing the Bears would’ve done this in a previous year. Maybe this isn’t the year to do that. And perhaps Poles and his front office are in the right to hold off on major expenditures until next year. Or even the year after that. However, hindsight being what it is, I can’t escape the thought that this is the kind of offseason Chicago needed to have after 2018. Instead, we (myself included) got way too caught up in the kicking aspect to push for that kind of an offseason. That the Bears never truly capitalized or built on that 2018 season is one reason we’re here at this moment in time with a new regime in the first place.

•   The Athletic’s Kevin Fishbain comes through with some much-appreciated perspective on the offseason that is happening right now:

•   Firstly, Fishbain is right to point out how much roster work the Bears have to do. And that it is OK to sign backups. The NFL allows for rosters to reach 90 players during the offseason. Only 53 will make the cut for Week 1, while there are 16 who will land on the practice squad. In other words, the Bears need bodies. Hence, we’re going to see a bunch of new faces roll in to town. And because of how Ryan Pace left things, Ryan Poles and friends have a ton of heavy lifting ahead of them in the free agent market. That roster churn is gonna be a doozy folks. Expect a ton of veteran minimum contracts to be signed this spring ahead of OTAs.

•   Of course, free agency isn’t the only way to bring in some fresh legs. And I’m all for creativity:

•   DeVante Parker put up 72 catches, 1,202 receiving yards, and 9 touchdowns in a breakout 2019 season. But that was the only year in which he has played a full 16-game slate of games. And in a world where availability is the best ability, that is certainly reason to have concerns about targeting him in a trade. But a relatively low-cost acquisition with upside and relevant starting experience would be a good snag by a progressive front office. Surely, there are others who fit the Parker description.

•   Just know that the price of doing business to get a top-flight receiver is only going up. So while Tyreek Hill celebrates his big-money deal, these receivers are waiting in the wings:

•   Deon Bush had an OPE moment upon signing with the Chiefs on Wednesday:

 

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•   There was a time when I would’ve never been able to envision Jonathan Toews wearing another sweater. And yet, he is already thinking about it:

•   Didn’t see this coming:

•   Seiya Suzuki is coming:

written by

Luis C. Medina, who you can find on Twitter at lcm1986, has been covering the Chicago Bears at Bleacher Nation since 2017. Since then, he has written about 3 head coaches, 5 play-callers, and 11 starting quarterbacks. Previously, Luis wrote about the Cubs and MLB at BN (2015-16) and worked in the Chicago Tribune sports department (2011-16). He also co-hosted a Cubs postgame show, Outside the Ivy, in 2019.

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