Around The League: Soldier Field Tweaks, Steelers WRs, Seahawks Future Sale, Remembering James Caan, More

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Around The League: Soldier Field Tweaks, Steelers WRs, Seahawks Future Sale, Remembering James Caan, More

Chicago Bears

The entertainment community lost a legend today with the passing of James Caan:

Caan had so many iconic roles over the years. But Bears fans probably remember him most as the main character in “Brian’s Song” where he played Brian Piccolo.

He even tweeted an image of himself as Piccolo in June:

If you’ll recall, the Bears honored Piccolo by having every player at minicamp practice wear his uniform number on what would’ve been his birthday. It was a nice gesture, to be sure. And it’s one that hits home now after Caan’s passing. May he rest in peace.

Soldier Field Renderings

The idea of putting a dome on Soldier Field gave me a good chuckle. However, the big-picture pitch for a revamped lakefront is no laughing matter. In fact, I think there are some good ideas here:

Even if the Bears leave for the suburbs, it sure would be nice to modernize Soldier Field and upgrade the area around it. Making it a year-round gathering spot would soften the blow of losing Chicago’s football team to the suburbs. Some might believe a quality round of renovations could lure an expansion NFL team when the league decides to go that route. But we’ve got a while before we get to that bridge, let alone cross it.

The Steelers Could Lose Stud Receivers in Consecutive Offseasons

We spent some time earlier in the week discussing Diontae Johnson as a possible future free agent target for the Bears should he hit the open market. Turns out, Johnson isn’t the only Steelers receiver who might make it to free agency after their rookie contract expires. Mike Florio (Pro Football Talk) wonders if Pittsburgh is destined to lose Johnson and Chase Claypool in consecutive offseasons? Johnson gets plenty of love (as he should!) based on his body of work. But we shouldn’t overlook Claypool, even if he is a year away from being one season from hitting free agency.

Claypool, who is celebrating his 24th birthday today, has put together two nice years catching passes in Pittsburgh. A draft darling who went six picks after the Baers chose Claypool’s Notre Dame teammate Cole Kmet with the 43rd pick, Claypool put together a breakout rookie campaign. It was a season highlighted by 9 touchdowns to go along with his 62 catches and 873 receiving yards. Claypool following that with an 59-catch, 860-yard showing gets looked over because of the low touchdown total (2), but it shouldn’t. Unfortunately (particularly, for those waiting for him to hit the market), Claypool still has two years left on his rookie deal. Even still … history suggests that the Steelers won’t retain both stud receivers. And because they do so well in drafting and development, they won’t be hurting if they do so.

Perhaps this is a place the Bears should observe from afar as they put together their offense in the future. Something has to give here … right?

The Seahawks Aren’t For Sale (Yet)

Eventually, the Seattle Seahawks will go up for sale. However, Jody Allen – the team’s de facto owner – let it be known that time will come. There is no timeline or sense of urgency to rush through a sale of the Seahawks (or the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers), but there is a sense of inevitability that will be reached down the line:

It’ll be worth monitoring this situation, if only because it would represent the latest data point for the going rate for NFL teams. The Broncos sale was a whopper of a deal. And while the Bears aren’t expected to go up for sale any time soon, that report in May 2021 about the internal family debates about a sale still rattle around in my head.

Seriously, how much could the McCaskey family get if they put a for sale sign on the Bears tomorrow?

Extra Points

  • Check out the Raiders making some history:
  • The presidential opening came as a surprise. And it’s not like it didn’t come without controversy. But kudos on the hire, Vegas.
  • I can’t help but wonder if the Steelers would have an interest in Robert Quinn. Mark Kaboly (The Athletic) believes Pittsburgh will address this particular need when possible fits hit the market after preseason cuts. But perhaps this is a team that might be a sneaky match. Let’s keep eyes on this.
  • Also worth noting: There are multiple cut-down dates this summer, with August 15 being the cutdown to 85 players and August 23 being the date to trim rosters to 80. By August 30, teams have to have rosters down to 53. That is a significant change from recent years when rosters were shrunk from 90 to 53 in one fell swoop.
  • Elsewhere in the AFC North (and also via The Athletic), the Ravens are reportedly in the hunt for receiver help. Ravens GM Eric DeCosta has reportedly been kicking the tires when it comes to acquiring a receiver, but nothing has come to fruition just yet. I wouldn’t normally have eyes on what Baltimore is doing. But seeing how receiver-starved the Bears are, keeping tabs on other teams in the market to add at the position and which players could become available is something we should have eyes on until Chicago adequately addresses its own issues.
  • Closer to home, Packers TE Robert Tonyan’s availability for Week 1 is up in the air. PFT’s Charean Williams considers the possibility that Tonyan could begin the season on the physically unable to perform list. It’s not as if Green Bay would open the season with a totally empty cupboard. After all, A.J. Dillon and Aaron Jones can carry the load out of the backfield. And Christian Watson has gobs of potential. But not having Tonyan available after losing Davante Adams (trade) and Marquez Valdes-Scantling (free agency), the Pack are working worth a short deck.
  • Check out the Punky QB hitting the links:
  • I’m not sure if Field Yates wrote “Ryan Pace has a clear influence on the roster in his front office role in Atlanta” in a joking manner. But I wouldn’t be laughing if I was a Falcons fan. (Twitter)
  • Who knew a former punter would thrive in a role like this?


Author: Luis Medina

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