How Poles Won the Combine, Not Seeing a Robbie Reunion, Old Friends Leaving LA? And Other Bears Bullets

I’m still in recovery mode after a weekend in St. Louis. Don’t get me wrong. Seeing friends and enjoying basketball (well, some of the basketball) was good for the soul. But my body, heart, and soul are still dealing with handling highs and lows. Sometimes, it feels like I’m re-learning what I once knew. Sure, I’m a work in progress — but aren’t we all?

  • A bunch of familiar faces are on the move around the NFL. Some of them are old friends. For instance, the Rams are planning to release Leonard Floyd (if they can’t trade him first). Meanwhile, Allen Robinson II has the OK to seek a trade — less than one year after leaving the Bears to sign with the Rams. Maybe Ryan Pace was right to not extend Robinson after all? I can’t say I saw that coming. Linebacker Eric Kendricks is set to leave Minnesota after eight years with the rival Vikings. Kendricks was a first-team All-Pro in 2019 and just put up 137 total tackles in 2022, so he’ll have a market. And Derek Carr, a Pace-era target (in 2020 and 2021) as a potential Bears QB fix, is heading to the Saints.
  • As for the Bears, GM Ryan Poles is preparing to take a big swing:
  • On the one hand, I think it is bold that Poles is going on the record sharing what he believes he can net in a trade for the first pick. But on the other hand, I see it as a shot across the bow of any and all teams who want to talk shop. Do you want to take the best QB this draft class has to offer? Of course you do, so come on down with your strongest offers. This game isn’t for the weak.
  • It’s hard to imagine a scenario in which Poles does not get his desired haul for the first overall pick. After all, teams are reportedly “scrambling” to move up. Run, don’t walk!
  • What a weekend it was for the Bears. They’ve got teams jockeying for trade positioning after seeing C.J. Stroud throw some balls, Bryce Young weighing in at north of the 195-pound mark, Anthony Richardson put on an athletic show, and Will Levis toss bombs. Is there anything else you could’ve been asking for from the Combine?
  • For good measure, the offensive linemen opened eyes for all the right reasons. Steve Avila (TCU), Broderick Jones (Georgia), Peter Skoronski (Northwestern), Matthew Bergeron (Syracuse), Dawand Jones (Ohio State), and Blake Freehand (BYU) were among those who stood out from the pack. The more, the merrier. Some of those aforementioned linemen are bound to go in Round 1. But if some slip to Round 2, I hope the Bears are ready to pounce. Because even though they should prioritize line needs in free agency, it would be nice to draft and develop some studs behind them on the depth chart.
  • Patrick Finley (Sun-Times) writes about Skoronski as a prospect who has the potential to be a “sure thing” — which is something the Bears aren’t familiar with when it comes to offensive line play. Even when the Bears have drafted solid OL prospects over the years, we know better than to expect it to pan out. Marc Colombo? Gabe Carimi? Chris Williams? Now that I’m thinking about it, some of the Bears’ best offensive line picks have come after the first round. James Daniels was a second-rounder in 2018. Cody Whitehair was another second-rounder who was part of the 2016 draft class. Charles Leno Jr. was a seventh-round selection in 2014. Olin Kreutz was a third-rounder back in 1998. Maybe there is a happy spot in Day 2 for the Bears to strike again.
  • Friend of the program Greg Braggs Jr. takes a look back at his time covering the Combine for CHGO.
  • I’ll try and get out in front of this one by saying that I see where fans might want a Robbie Gould reunion. Gould is going to test free agency (h/t BN NFL) and won’t be kicking for the Niners for the first time in six years. However, he also said this in February:
  • “I live here full time, but I don’t know if I want to kick in the cold anymore. I’d look to get a dome and some warm weather first. Forty years, 18 years of doing this, I deserve that I think.”

  • Maybe something changes in Robbie’s mind. It wouldn’t be the first time a player went on the record saying one thing before heaving a change of heart down the line. But at this stage of his career, Gould deserves to pick his own destination. And if he wants to kick in a dome or in a place where the weather is nice, then so be it. Should he land in a good kicking climate, I’ll keep it in mind when I draft fantasy kickers next fall. Hey, don’t give me that look! I’ve got two titles to defend!
  • Let the record show that Gould has hit 88.1 percent of his field goals in the 100 games he has played since leaving the Bears in 2016. That’s pretty good! Cairo Santos, Chicago’s current kicker, has made 90.6 percent of his field goals since joining the Bears in 2020. In that same time span, Gould has had an 84.6 percent success rate. Just sharing some numbers with friends here. Don’t mind me.
  • It’s wild to think about how many old friends are in the headlines today. Better yet. It blows my mind to think of the 2018 Bears headliners as being part of a who’s who of “where are they now?” dudes. Think about it. Coach of the Year Matt Nagy is the Chiefs’ offensive coordinator. Vic Fangio, who won the award for top assistant that year, is about to begin working for his second team (the Dolphins) after his stint as Broncos head coach was short-lived. Pro Bowl quarterback Mitchell Trubisky will be a QB2 yet again. This time with the Steelers behind Kenny Pickett. A-Rob reportedly wants out from Hollywood. Leonard Floyd might be nudged out of LA, too. Meanwhile, Ryan Pace is just hanging out as an executive in Atlanta. The NFL moves on fast.
  • Headphones, charging gear, docking stations and more are your Deals of the Day at Amazon. #ad
  • Tab is re-ranking the Blackhawks’ top prospects:
  • The Bulls are a mess after losing at home to the Pacers (sorry, Eli):
  • Maybe this Cubs spring training lineup featuring Hayden Wesneski on the bump, Christopher Morel in the middle of the line, and Brennen Davis playing in left field can provide us with something fun this afternoon:
  • 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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