Jenkins on the Rebound, the Big Ten’s B1G Bag, Receiver Roulette, and Other Bears Bullets

Good morning! The Chicago Bears play football today. Sure, it’s another preseason game. But once this one goes in the books, the Bears will (1) be down to just one more exhibition contest and (2) one day closer to opening the regular season. Giddy up!

  • The full slate of Preseason Week 2 games looks like this:
  • If you want to indulge on preseason football beyond Bears-Seahawks, Joe Lucia (Awful Announcing) has the rest of the NFL Preseason Week 2 TV schedule.
  • Justin Fields drew some rave reviews for his preseason performance. We’ll dive deeper into that later as we build toward tonight’s Preseason Week 2 bout against the Seattle Seahawks. In the meantime, I had this thought cross my mind: The sooner the Bears find out about Fields, the sooner they can fully take advantage of having a quarterback on their rookie deal the way the Chargers have. Just check out these numbers:
  • A refresher: The Ryan Pace-led Bears did something similar to bolster the room around Mitchell Trubisky. Pace threw gobs of cash at Allen Robinson, Trey Burton, Taylor Gabriel, Khalil Mack, and others. Save for that magical 2018 season, the results weren’t what anyone was hoping for when Pace was cutting those checks. And Chicago could’ve done better by targeting spending at different positions. But the overall process was sound. I’ll be curious to see how Poles operates if he gets to a place where he feels like the time to push the chips in on Fields comes to him and his front office.
  • Keep in mind that the Bears currently project to have $100,474,528 in salary cap space, per OverTheCap.com’s estimations. In other words, if any team is well-positioned to go hog-wild in building around a QB on a rookie-scale deal, it’s Poles’ Bears. And if Fields isn’t the guy, well, I imagine that will reflect in the team’s record. Should we get to that point, we could be looking at a situation where Poles could be drafting a QB after spending strategically to set him up for success. But let’s not get too far down this rabbit hole. It’s only August. And Fields has shown enough flashes to tantalize us into thinking he could be The Dude. Frankly, I’m looking forward to seeing him earn that distinction with a sophomore breakout season.
  • As for the game that is hours from kickoff, Alyssa Barbieri (BearsWire) highlights players from various position groups worth keeping an eye on tonight. In addition to the obvious ones, I’ll be curious to see how Dante Pettis and Kyler Gordon perform in Seattle. Gordon and Pettis both played collegiately at Washington. It’ll be a homecoming of sorts for each. But, perhaps, what’s more important for Gordon is that he’ll get to knock out those rookie jitters as he makes his NFL debut tonight. It won’t be a ton of snaps. But Gordon getting out there would feel like a dub after an offseason in which injuries have kept him from being a full go.
  • Kevin Fishbain (The Athletic), Chris Emma (670 The Score), Lester Wiltfong (Windy City Gridiron) also have things worth watching in tonight’s second preseason game. There might not be a ton of buzz surrounding the Bears going into this season. But there are a number of fascinating storylines worth following. Then again, that is what should be taking place at the start of a well-intentioned rebuild. Open competition across the board with waves of players trying to carve out a spot and earn their place to be part of the next great Bears team.
  • Josh Schrock (NBCS Chicago) has four things he wants to keep watch on tonight. Like Schrock, what happens with Teven Jenkins is at the top of my list. Jenkins was getting some run with the first-team while as a right guard this week, which is the most encouraging development on that front we’ve had in a while. Think about it. Jenkins went from starting left tackle to backup right tackle in the span of six months. Then there were moments where it felt like his time in Chicago was coming to a close. But now, Jenkins could solidify a roster spot and re-join the starting lineup by putting on a strong effort tonight. The second-year offensive lineman is getting a new lease on a football life in a situation that is reminding me of Kyle Fuller’s path (which we brought up as a possible path on a few occasions).
  • Doesn’t it seem like Jenkins is growing on this staff?
  • I suppose there *IS* an alternative that we can’t completely ignore. Because in the same piece in which PFF’s Brad Spielberger lists Bears LB Roquan Smith as a potential trade candidate (which we talked about at length yesterday), Teven Jenkins also pops as a possibility. The Falcons, Cardinals, Raiders, and Chargers show up as trade fits. As for the trade value, Spielberger believes the Bears could net a 2023 fourth-round pick. When Jenkins’ status was up-in-the-air, I might’ve considered cutting a deal (if only to give everyone the type of clean slate they seemingly were wanting). But Jenkins appears to be working his way into this new staff’s good graces. And while adding draft capital intrigues me, the idea of Jenkins as a darn good right guard on a rookie-scale deal for the next three years is far more alluring.
  • I was wondering if Bears GM Ryan Poles or Assistant GM Ian Cunningham would dig into their recent pasts for receiver help after seeing DeMarcus Robinson and Travis Fulgham land on the chopping block as teams trimmed rosters to 85 players. Robinson was one of the notable cuts out of Raiders camp, per ESPN’s Field Yates. And he was with the Chiefs, where he crossed paths with Poles. Meanwhile, Fulgham was among those let go by the Broncos. He had a history with the Eagles, where Cunningham was working last offseason. Robinson remains available, but the Packers (🙄🙄🙄) claimed Fulgham off waivers. Fulgham’s 539-yard season in 2020 was good enough to lead the Eagles in receiving. Maybe that’s kin to being the tallest Oompa Loompa, but it’s better than nothing. And it’s better than what the Packers had going for them at camp.
  • Another reminder that spending doesn’t necessarily lead to football success is seeing how the Giants have spent at the receiver position:
  • I mean, what is THIS!?
  • The Big Ten secured a B1G bag:
  • The Chicago Bulls’ full 2022-23 schedule is HERE! And one game I’ve got eyes on is a Sunday night affair against the Denver Nuggets on Nov. 13. That’s because, earlier in the day, the Bears will play the Lions. It’s a rare Bears-Bulls double-dip. Perhaps I can nudge Eli into some more crossover content.
  • A reminder that if you play stupid games, you’ll win stupid prizes — like being banned from the ballpark:
  • 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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