Before we get to Bullets, bits, nuggets, and tidbits with a side of lunch, Brendan Sugrue throws down a list of follows you should be aware of as Bears camp gets underway:
It’s an honor to make the cut. See y’all at camp on Thursday!
- ICYMI: Roquan Smith and Robert Quinn have reported for camp. But will they practice? The era of traditional holdouts is over. I’m guessing they ended with the new CBA … or when Terrell Owens was doing sit-ups in his driveway. Whichever is more relevant for our conversation. Smith and Quinn showing up to camp could mean nothing, as a hold-in (where a player shows up for camp but doesn’t participate in team activities) could still be in play. But the optics of having players at Halas Hall is better than the alternative of them not being there at all. And for what it’s worth, Smith says he’ll be there “when the smoke clears” — whatever that means.
- To me, it means that the Bears are lining things up to have both Quinn and Smith on board as the summer starts. And I’m OK with it if they’re both Bears when the regular season starts. Having good players to watch and root for weekly is fun. Even still … both of these situations feel so fluid. Quinn is a veteran who doesn’t necessarily fit the timeline of a rebuilding team. I mean, if they were willing to trade Khalil Mack, why wouldn’t they be willing to trade Quinn? That teams were sniffing around a deal earlier in the offseason suggests he has a market. In other words, if a team knocks the Bears’ socks off with a trade offer they can’t turn down, then perhaps Quinn gets dealt at some point. But as of now, we might be kicking the can down the road to the trade deadline.
- As for Roquan, my gut tells me he and the Bears will hash out a deal. We need to take into consideration the challenge of ironing out a deal when a player represents himself (as Smith is doing right now). Negotiations can get contentious (with no fault to any party) when player and team talk money. When agents are there to serve as a buffer, it can help smooth things out. But when they aren’t, it can be problematic. For example, I imagine it can be tough for a player to hear directly from their employer that they don’t believe the player is worth what the player thinks. That is an easy way for feelings to get hurt if one side or the other takes the reaction to that conversation too personally. I’m not saying that is what is happening with Smith and the Bears. But you don’t need to squint to see that as a possible hangup. So maybe this takes longer than we’d otherwise like. But the Bears were reportedly prioritizing a Roquan extension this offseason, which gives us enough reason to hold out hope it can eventually get done. Even if it drags on longer than we’d prefer.
- Even though I’d consider Smith’s situation to be fluid, it is tough to see him in another uniform this year. And yet, Hub Arkush’s hypothetical made me stop and think:
- LET ME BE CLEAR: I am not advocating for a Roquan Smith trade. The Bears defense has potential to be darn good with Smith playing a Darius Leonard type of role in the Matt Eberflus/Alan Williams scheme. But a trade offer that includes two first-round picks and a second-rounder is the stuff general managers dream of during the rebuilding process. And in a NFL universe where players like Davante Adams, Russell Wilson, and Tyreek Hill can be traded, I can’t see anyone as untouchable.
- What’s wild about any speculative hypothetical that reminds folks of the Bears-Raiders swap in 2018 is that we tend to look at that trade as a wash. The Bears were able to get what they were looking for in Mack, a game-changing pass-rusher this front office had been looking to acquire (and failed to find) for years. As for the Raiders, they got out from having to pay a hefty extension for Mack while simultaneously landing some pristine draft capital. Unfortunately (for the Raiders), Oakland/Vegas didn’t truly cash in on the opportunity — which keeps that side of the deal from claiming to be triumphant. But what if the Raiders took LSU WR Justin Jefferson with the 19th pick instead of CB Damon Arnette? Would that change how we view things? Could the possibility of adding multiple impact talents change the conversation? Again, I’m not looking to push Smith out the door. But that doesn’t mean this front office wouldn’t entertain a deal that made the team better in the long run.
- Enough of that, let’s move onto players officially joining the mix. Firstly, a player whose signing with the Bears was only a matter of time:
- I let out a sigh of relief this morning when seeing that Jaquan Brisker was signing his rookie deal. So what that he didn’t show up on time to be with the rest of the rookies? What matters most is that he reports in time to be a full participant throughout the entirety of training camp. Tomorrow’s first practice won’t be open to the public, but it will feature Brisker in some capacity. And that is better than the alternative of having your second-round safety not around for the start of things.
- The quartet of Brisker, Eddie Jackson, Jaylon Johnson, and Kyler Gordon could make for a formidable foursome in the secondary. There’s ample risk, to be sure. Johnson has flashed here and there, but has yet to put together a full, well-rounded season. Jackson is looking for a bounce-back year of his own. And while the rookies possess tremendous upside and potential, we need to keep in mind that they’re still rookies. There will be some bumps along the way. Just keep that in mind as we plow through the summer and get into games of consequence.
- And secondly, a player whose arrival is a pleasant surprise:
- Do I wish the Bears had addressed needs along the offensive line before late July? Yes. But am I glad they eventually got around to it? Absolutely. Moreover, I better understand the process of how we got here (even if I don’t love it). The Bears gave their rookies and young players the opportunity to practice well enough for the front office to say one way or another that they needed veteran help or that they were willing to ride with their youngsters. By signing Riley Reiff and Michael Schofield on back-to-back days, the Bears told us how they felt about the state of their line. Perhaps we’ll see Braxton Jones and Zachary Thomas anyway. After all, injuries are bound to happen. But to start things off, the Bears found themselves turning to vets instead of rolling the dice on rookies from the outset.
- For more on the *OTHER* offensive lineman the Bears were able to scoop up ahead of the start of camp, the Sun-Times, Tribune, and NBC Sports Chicago have deets on the new guy.
- The Browns trolled the Bears over their new helmet color. But all things considered, the Browns should probably keep to themselves for a bit.
- Speaking of professional trolls, here’s what it looked like when Aaron Rodgers showed up for Packers camp:
- It is ANNOYING that a Nic Cage cosplayer “owns” the Chicago Bears. Frankly, I’d show this clip on loop to my defense and say “are you going to let THIS GUY boss you around?” in my attempt to rally the troops ahead of Week 2.
- One player not showing up for any camps this summer is Danny Amendola. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports the fidgety receiver is calling it a career:
- The Bulls’ preseason schedule is OUT:
- Over at BN Blackhawks, Tab writes about how the 2020 NHL Draft class will play a major role in the Blackhawks’ rebuild.
- Last call for Willson Contreras at Wrigley?
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