Dodging rain drops on the first Friday of Chicago summer festival season is one way to do it,.
• Oof. That Jason La Canfora report has really shaken up Bears Twitter. So … let’s peel back the curtain and give it some further discussion.
• ICYMI: The CBS Sports insider was reporting that Pro Bowl Bears pass-rusher Robert Quinn wants out. From there, we shared the rumor in a post hashing out how we could’ve gotten here in the first place. It felt necessary to share the report — not so much because of that specific rumor of Quinn wanting a trade — but instead because the Quinn trade buzz has been hovering out there for some time. And from other reporters, too. So, it’s not as if the Quinn trade rumor chatter was coming solely from La Canfora. In the end, the conversation we were having was a valid one (regardless of the source that sparked said conversation).
• Don’t get me wrong … I get it. La Canfora’s history reporting on the Bears has been spotty. And it gives me pause when re-sharing his sourced reporting. After all, we’re only months removed from Trace Armstrong utilizing his rarely-used Twitter account to rebuff rumors from JLC that the former Bear was discussing a management position with the Bears. But given the context of Quinn’s situation (a veteran who signed a free agent deal with a team in its competitive window but is now in a rebuilding stage) and where the Bears are as a franchise on the competitive spectrum (and a general manager who isn’t afraid of stock-piling picks), it felt fine to use JLC as a vehicle to discuss how we got to this point in the Quinn story arc. It’s not that we believe the rumors, it’s just that they have a place in the larger conversation about the Bears moving forward.
• Also, keep in mind that the Bears have made it clear on their end that they want to keep Quinn (and the player himself has said he wants to stick around). And yet, there is an inevitability there that Quinn will be dealt. I don’t think the Quinn rumors will go away any time soon. In the meantime…
• Palate cleanser:
Justin Fields is gearing up for an ELITE sophomore season 🐻 pic.twitter.com/DTCCxotty6
— PFF College (@PFF_College) May 20, 2022
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) May 20, 2022
• QB1 has way too much sauce to let the Bears be as bad as ESPN’s predictive model suggests.
• If Justin Fields has a breakout campaign on deck, it means someone is catching passes from him. And while Darnell Mooney made a statement with his play and his first 1,000-yard receiving season, there is possibly another level for him to reach. Mooney’s 2021 season felt like a breakthrough after what he did as a rookie. But a breakout in which he eclipses last year’s numbers is totally plausible.
• It’s not too late to vote here:
Curious to know what you think.
Who is the most likely to have a breakout year in 2022?
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) May 21, 2022
• For what it’s worth, I think we can say Roquan Smith has already had breakout seasons. However, it would be nice for him to have a season that gets him the accolades he richly deserves. It’s one thing to break out and have a monster season. Getting that recognition as a Pro Bowler and/or first-team All-Pro would truly cement Smith’s status as a star linebacker. Bears fans know it to be true. And so do Bears opponents. Roquan is a menace, a darn good ballplayer, and someone this franchise wants to build around as a defensive centerpiece.
• Other than Fields, the player I most want to have an unexpected breakout is receiver Velus Jones Jr., who was at the NFLPA’s Rookie Premiere in Los Angeles. Can you spot him?
The 2022 draft class at the @NFLPA Rookie Premiere in Los Angeles.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) May 21, 2022
• The NFL Rookie Premiere is such a unique experience for every draft class, as it allows 40+ rookies to learn about the business of football and make some connections. Welcome to the show, young fellas. This will be the first of what will hopefully be many business and marketing opportunities for future standout ballplayers.
• I don’t want to put any numbers on it right now. It’s way too early to roll out those types of predictions. But it shouldn’t stop us from dreaming on what a successful season looks like for the third-round rookie. So, I’ll keep it at this: If Jones can contribute on special teams as a gunner and return ace, chip in on offense as a gadget receiver, come through to take end around and jet sweeps to create chunk plays, then I think he’d be in a good place as a piece to the offensive puzzle.
• This probably merits a deeper dive: Is a 2017 Tarik Cohen type of role plausible? Cohen appeared in all 16 games as a rookie and made four starts in the lineup. He came through with 140 touches and 723 scrimmage yards, while also adding 29 punt returns and 26 kick returns. It all came out to 1,578 all-purpose yards for a player who was in on 36 percent of the team’s offensive snaps and 29 percent of special teams plays.
• The Bears got a recent visit from a Hall of Fame sack artist:
A familiar face at Halas Hall.
Thanks for stopping by, Richard Dent! 🙌 pic.twitter.com/NvyJBLyiae
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) May 20, 2022
• It’s a shame the Bears couldn’t coax a draft pick out of the Colts, but it sure sounds like Nick Foles has his eyes set on Indianapolis as NFL Network reporter Mike Garafolo hears the two sides are working a deal.
• Yesterday was one for rumors about high-profile Chicago athletes wanting to skip town:
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) May 20, 2022
• The Blackhawks should probably be in on hiring Barry Trotz:
— Bleacher Nation Blackhawks (@BN_Blackhawks) May 21, 2022
• If you’re going to watch the Cubs try to break a three-game losing streak, this is what they’re lineup looks like:
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) May 21, 2022