Roquan Makes Top-25 Under 25 List, New Stadium Challenges, Can the O Have Pleasant Surprises? And Other Bears Notes

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Roquan Makes Top-25 Under 25 List, New Stadium Challenges, Can the O Have Pleasant Surprises? And Other Bears Notes

Chicago Bears

Re-watching the Season 1 finale of Obi-Wan Kenobi on Disney+ after watching a weekend-long Star Wars marathon on TNT really puts into perspective the glow-up the Star Wars universe has gone through in terms of choreographing its battles with laser swords over the years. If anyone needs me, I’ll be watching again.

  • ICYMI: Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and a mayoral committee are reportedly exploring the idea of putting a dome on Soldier Field. The idea behind this maneuver would be that it would make the lakefront property more attractive to future tenants, and perhaps … maybe … possibly be enticing enough to keep the Bears at their long-time home. A dome at Soldier Field would be just one of the many modernizations the city would need for the building in order to spruce it up. And while I’d encourage the decision, this feels like a “too little, too late” situation when it comes to keeping a Bears franchise that seemingly has one foot already in Arlington Heights.
  • I’ve long maintained my desire to keep the Bears in city limits with a new stadium, but it is growing more apparent with each passing day that the Chicago’s football team will soon reside in the suburbs. Guess I won’t get what I’ve long believed to be a reasonable request for the Bears to get out of Soldier Field, which I’ve felt hasn’t been a great place to watch games and into a modern stadium in the city with modern amenities and ample access via public transportation. Whatevs. We can’t all get what we want, right? Well, except suburban municipalities. But that’s not why you’re here, so I digress.
  • One minor request when it comes to the Bears’ new stadium: Don’t foot taxpayers with the bill. For far too long, pro sports franchises have made the promise of taxpayer funding being beneficial to the people footing the bill but have come up short in fulfilling their word. The Bears are a billion dollar entity that is part of one of the cash cow that is the NFL. If the McCaskey family wants to leave a renting situation to own its own stadium, I totally understand. Leaving the rental for home ownership is a perfectly normal thing. But don’t make your guests do the heavy financial lifting. James Dator (SB Nation) wrote an informative piece in 2021 about how publicly funding stadiums for billionaires is a scam. I feel it is recommended reading in the wake of last night’s news.
  • As for the players setting foot on the stadium turf, it is notable seeing Roquan Smith make The 33rd Team’s top-25 players who are 25 and younger. For those who are unfamiliar, The 33rd Team is essentially a football think-tank featuring insight from a bevy of former NFL head coaches, general managers, executives, and others of that ilk. In other words, if they’re shelling out the praise, we’re listening. Especially when it comes to a Bears player whose excellence has flown under the radar in some instances.
  • Smith, who will play the 2022 campaign in his age 25 season, has been a stellar performer since the Bears chose him with a first-round pick in 2018. He has racked up at least 101 tackles in each of his first four seasons, earned second-team All-Pro honors in each of the last two years, and will be the first Ryan Pace pick to play out the fifth-year option on his rookie deal with the team. But Smith enters the 2022 season at a new-ish position with a new head coach, defensive coordinator, and position coach (his third different one in three years). Not to mention an entirely new scheme. But there is little doubt Smith will get the job done, as he has proven himself as a sturdy and capable defender from the get-go.
  • I’ve not gotten tot he obsessive stage of tracking future free agent receivers just yet. But I’m definitely smitten with the idea of following Diontae Johnson’s situation in Pittsburgh, as the Steelers don’t seem willing to give their top receiver the type of $20 million per year deal he figures to be seeking in the offseason. Perhaps this will play out like it did in the early 2010s, where Mike Wallace not getting the big pay day from Pittsburgh led to him getting one from the Dolphins, which led to Antonio Brown getting his first extension with the Steelers. Pittsburgh traditionally does well in drafting and developing receivers, so losing Johnson might not be as big of a deal to them. Nevertheless, the situation is worth monitoring so long as the Bears have needs at the position.
  • Then again, maybe we’ll look back on this list and laugh because of the unexpected contributions from any number of offensive players. NBC Sports Chicago’s Josh Shrock lists receiver Equanimeous St. Brown and running back Khalil Herbert among the under-the-radar Bears who could help this team beat its expectations. Admittedly, it is a low bar to clear. But if Herbert can build on his rookie contributions and take his game to another level, it could bolster some things. And if St. Brown can stay healthy long enough to realize his athletic potential, maybe the passing game can get a lift, too. I wouldn’t go into 2022 expecting the world from this offense. But it isn’t like it doesn’t have potential.
  • Whether you root for Northside baseball or the Southsiders, I think we can all agree on robo umps:
  • I’m glad Eli found the answer to this question, as it would be nice to get contributions from Mark Simonovic sooner or later:
  • Some positive buzz surrounding the Blackhawks’ new head coach:

Author: Luis Medina

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