Lions on the Rise, Bears Bracketology, Old Foes Leaving NFC North, and Other Bears Bullets

Social Navigation

Lions on the Rise, Bears Bracketology, Old Foes Leaving NFC North, and Other Bears Bullets

Chicago Bears

There was a bevy of reasons behind this year being the first in which I didn’t fill out a bracket for the NCAA Tournament. And yet, I feel good about it after one weekend of play. Perhaps it has something to do with not having to crumple up a busted bracket into a ball to throw in a waste basket. But maybe it had more to do with being able to enjoy the game without being emotionally (or financially) invested in the result. Basketball purity.

  • Another day, another free agent signing elsewhere who I thought might’ve fit for the Bears. This time it’s Chauncey Gardner-Johnson inking with the Lions. It’s a double whammy, as the Lions continue to sign good, useful players instead of the destructive, sub-par performers who sink their team when it matters the most.
  • Nope, I don’t like this trend one bit:
  • In reading ESPN’s reporting of the transaction, it looks as if CJGJ and his reps misjudged the market and it ultimately led to the player signing a one-year “prove it” deal worth up to $8 million. At that price, it is a steal for Detroit.
  • You can call it coping or a consolation prize, but I like the Bears secondary even without Gardner-Johnson. The quartet of Eddie Jackson, Jaquan Brisker, Kyler Gordon, and Jaylon Johnson is quality. That group could use another cornerback to round out the room. Hence, my interest in signing Gardner-Johsnon. But there are still free agent options available. And we can’t forget about the ninth pick as an opportunity to pick up a starting-caliber corner. Sure, the Bears have positional needs to address elsewhere. But as long as Justin Jefferson and Amon-Ra St. Brown are lining up twice a year against Chicago’s defense, I’m always going to push for more secondary help.
  • For instance, I’d kick the tires on bringing in Rock Ya-Sin. His play has been solid in this system and the contract projection isn’t one that looks like it would be problematic:

  • The cornerback market hasn’t been fluctuating. For instance, the Eagles giving Darius Slay a two-year extension worth up to $42 million seems large. But Philly also gave James Bradberry was given $38 million over three years to stick around. That comes out to a $12.67M AAV. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay brought back Jamel Dean to a 4-year deal worth $52 million. Putting those numbers in a calculator and it spits out a $13M AAV. Suddenly, I’m wondering if has set parameters for a Jaylon Johnson extension in Chicago.
  • We’re still waiting on one of those to come through for Johnson … or wide receiver Darnell Mooney … and even tight end Cole Kmet. More on that later as those thoughts deserve to be fleshed out and not constrained to Bullets.
  • In other NFC North adjacent news, Adam Thielen is leaving the Vikings to sign a three-year deal with the Panthers. Carolina looks to be trying to put together a collection of NFL talent around a quarterback-to-be-named-later. NFL Media’s Christian Gonzales has it down as a three-year deal worth up to $25 million, which includes $10 million in Year 1. It is wild to me that Thielen is getting a multi-year deal starting in his age 33 season. However, I find what Carolina is doing to be admirable. It might not work out well for them. In fact, I’m rooting for it to bottom out harder than you can possibly imagine. But I admire the gumption.
  • This had me howling:

  • Adam Thielen, Miles Sanders, and Hayden Hurst are NFL players whose names we know and are familiar with — but are these players helping elevate a rookie quarterback? It is the football version of asking “are you attracted to them or are they just available in a moment in which you find yourself lonely?”
  • All of this to say: “Let’s not lose sight of the Bears’ activity that came before this.” Think about all they’ve done this offseason. GM Ryan Poles signed T.J. Edwards and Tremaine Edmunds, who could become the next great Bears linebacker tandem. He brought in depth to the backfield by adding D’Onta Foreman and Travis Homer. More defensive line depth is on the way with the arrivals of Andrew Billings and DeMarcus Walker. That group was certainly needing it after what we saw last year. Robert Tonyan joining Kmet in two tight end sets is an upgrade, too. Even if the Bears already had a right guard in place, I’d also consider Nate Davis’ signing a solid one.
  • And to think, we still have the NFL Draft in 38 days.
  • ‘Tis the season for Bears brackets:

  • Individually, I have work to do to build up from a 10 seed (going up against SAS Burner). But I’m just honored to be in the mix. A potential second-round matchup against No. 2 seed Mark Grote (who is one of my favorite on-air personalities on the Bears beat) would be fun. As for the BN Bears entity, we’ve got against Windy City Gridiron’s Ken Mitchell. We have fun banter with Ken online and we could be primed for one of those 13-4 upsets. No matter how the cookie crumbles, these are always fun to follow.
  • Nelson Velázquez hit a three-run walk-off dinger to end Sunday’s spring training game against the Padres, but it wasn’t all good news at Cubs camp. (BN Cubs)
  • The Frozen Four brackets are set — and seven Blackhawks prospects are in on the action. Maybe this is the time for us to get into college hockey. (BN Blackhawks)

Author: Luis Medina

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