Here Comes Minicamp, RB2 Battle, Stashing Cap Space for 2023, and Other Bears Bullets

I’m hoping all is well with folks in the region after storms raged through the Chicagoland area yesterday evening. It had been a while since I’ve heard tornado sirens in the city. You’ve got to take those seriously.

  • Mandatory Bears minicamp kicks off TODAY. And I’ll be curious to see if everyone shows up as scheduled. Notable absentees during minicamp included defensive ends Robert Quinn and Al-Quadin Muhammad. I can vibe with Quinn skipping out on voluntary team activities. After all, Quinn did things similarly last year β€”Β and we all know how that went! On the other hand, I wish Muhammad would’ve been in on at least some of the voluntary offseason workouts. To be clear, it doesn’t upset me that he didn’t show up. Remember, they’re *VOLUNTARY* for a reason. But having a new player who has a long-standing relationship with the new coaching staff probably could’ve had its perks. All of that is water under the bridge now, as mandatory full-squad minicamp runs from June 14-16.
  • I didn’t sleep well last night, but have no one to blame but myself. Broken by my own brain:
  • There is spirited conversation in the replies for that one, to be sure. The consensus seems to be that it would be the Bears have the best shot at being good next. And as if being a Bears quarterback isn’t enough pressure, that fans are citing Justin Fields’ presence as the reason they believe Chicago’s football team has the best chance to be competitive before the city’s hockey team and North Side baseball squad. It makes sense, though. Your favorite NFL team will go only as far as its quarterback can take it. And if Fields can live up to his draft status, then him being as good as we think he can be is exactly how the Bears will win a hypothetical race to being good again. If only it was as cut-and-dry in baseball and hockey.
  • But if Fields can’t live up to those lofty expectations, well, uh, let’s not go down that road right now. OK?
  • The Bears made a roster swap last night, dumping pass-rushing outside linebacker turned defensive end Jeremiah Attaochu and signing defensive tackle Mike Pennel. If Pennel’s name sounds familiar, it might be because you remember GM Ryan Pace brought him in when nose tackle Eddie Goldman’s playing status for 2021 was uncertain. A year later, Pace is gone and Ryan Poles signs Pennel to bolster depth along the interior of the defensive line. Part of me is curious see if Pennel pushes 2021 seventh-round nose tackle Khyiris Tonga for a roster spot. However, even I struggle to hype myself up for a battle of down-the-depth-chart nose tackles. Full disclosure: I’m far more interested in what the Bears will do with the $2.45 million in cap space Attaochu’s cut clears.
  • Some much-needed clarity on the Attaochu cut: Because it came down *AFTER* June 1, the Bears parting ways with him brings the cap savings to $2.45 million (up from $1.45 million had it been a pre-June 1 cut) and slices the dead money hit to $650,000. That might not seem like much, but those numbers aren’t inconsequential. That post June 1 cut brings the Bears to having $24,660,674 in available cap space, per OverTheCap’s calculations. Anyone have preferences with what the Bears should do with this newfound cap space?
  • And because cap space is on your mind, the Bears are oh, so close to being $100 million UNDER the 2023 cap projection. Using OTC’s numbers as our guide, Poles has brought the team to $99,655,469 under the cap. No other team currently projects to be more than $69 million under the cap next year. In other words, I fully expect to be discussing some fresh faces with nifty new contracts this time next year. Not that I want the Bears to spend recklessly with their gobs of cap space. But smart spending attacking some notable deficient areas would make for a good start.
  • Death, taxes, and the Bears running backs room being full of intrigue:
  • Look, we know what David Montgomery can do as a work-horse back. And Khalil Herbert was flashing here and there in a pinch while Montgomery was out with his injury. But waiver-wire addition Darrynton Evans is an unknown who has a unique prospect pedigree of his own. Day 3 NFL Draft pick Trestan Ebner is an interesting prospect, too. Don’t get me wrong. There was plenty to like from Herbert last year. And seeing how the Packers were operating with both A.J. Dillon and Aaron Jones should fill us with optimism that Luke Getsy can deploy the Bears backs in a similar fashion. But I think that RB2 spot might be more up for grabs than we might otherwise think.
  • And yet, Pro Football Focus isn’t totally digging what’s going on in the Bears’ backfield. PFF ranks Bears backs 16th overall and in its “Gets The Job Done” pile. Ben Linsley writes of Chicago’s backs: “This is the strength of Chicago’s offensive roster, which doesn’t speak super well to the talent put in place around Justin Fields.”
  • Please, please, please:
  • Over at BN Blackhawks, Tab lays out what we’re looking for from the next Blackhawks head coach:
  • You never know what you’ll see at the old ball park:
  • 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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