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Chicago Bears March Scouting Report
Richard Fung
3/22/2020

I hope that all of you stay safe in these strange and surreal times. To lighten the mood somewhat, let's talk some Bears...

 

Quarterback

Once the NFL's "legal tampering" period started last Monday, the quarterback rumors surrounding the Bears started flying. First there were reports that the Bears were talking to free agent Teddy Bridgewater, who eventually signed with the Panthers. When reports surfaced that Carolina would allow Cam Newton to seek a trade, Chicago was linked to him as well. Once Case Keenum and Marcus Mariota signed elsewhere, the Bears were basically left with three realistic options: trade for Newton, trade for Andy Dalton, or trade for QB Nick Foles. On Wednesday, the Bears picked door #3 and sent their fourth-round compensatory draft pick to the Jaguars for Foles.

 

Of all the realistic possibilities (no, Tom Brady was never one of them), I think that Foles was the best choice for the Bears. If Bears fans were looking for a long-term solution who would solve the team's seemingly perennial quarterback problem, that guy (in my opinion) was not out there. As much as he may want to, GM Ryan Pace can't hop into a DeLorean or a Tardis, go back in time and pick Patrick Mahomes or Deshaun Watson instead of QB Mitch Trubisky. Only Bridgewater could potentially have been a long-term solution, but he's been a full-time starter for only two seasons (his first two), he's never thrown more than 14 TD passes in a season, and he lost his lone playoff game. Newton would've been the most exciting addition as a former league MVP, but his health would've been a big question mark and his personality might not have been a good fit for this locker room. Dalton has had a respectable career, but he's 0-4 in the postseason with one TD and six INTs.

 

Yes, Foles has had quite the roller coaster career, but he came through on the world's biggest stage against the best head coach/quarterback combo of all-time when he won Super Bowl MVP honors after his Eagles beat the Patriots just two years ago. He also has experience with HC Matt Nagy, OC Bill Lazor, and quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo, so he should already have a pretty good idea of the Bears' offense, which could come in handy in an offseason full of uncertainty. In an ideal world, Pace still wants Trubisky to be the starter. By signing Foles, Pace gets a veteran who can legitimately push Mitch in training camp in what likely will be an open competition. If Mitch wins the job, Foles (by all accounts a good locker room guy) probably would play the good soldier (for one season at least) and not make much of a fuss. If Mitch falls on his face in camp or during the regular season, Foles can ride in and do what he seems to do best: save the day/season off the bench. Former backup QB Chase Daniel signed with the Lions.

 

Runningback

No moves here and none projected in free agency.

 

Wide receiver

No moves here, and with a very deep and talented draft class at this position (and not much cap room left), none projected in free agency.

 

Tight end

The Bears signed TE Jimmy Graham to a two-year, $16 million contract on Monday. Really. I'm not kidding (though I wish I was). They actually gave $9 million guaranteed to a guy who used to be one of the top tight ends in the league (key words: used to be) but is clearly past his prime and nowhere near the player he once was. Then again, signing over-the-hill former stars has been a long-time Chicago sports tradition (the Cubs, Blackhawks, etc. have been guilty of this many times in the past). The 33-year-old Graham has been durable, but Eric Ebron (who is four years younger and two years removed from a Pro Bowl season) got a two-year deal for $12 million from the Steelers on Friday. Signing Ebron or paying Austin Hooper top dollar would've made more sense. In a best-case scenario, Graham and TE Trey Burton stay healthy and give the Bears an adequate one-two punch. In a more likely scenario, that's a lot of wasted money on tight ends.

 

Offensive line

Former T Cornelius Lucas signed with the Redskins, so the Bears will be looking for a new swing tackle in addition to filling their right guard spot in free agency or the draft.

 

Defensive line

The Bears improved their pass rush quite a bit when they signed DE Robert Quinn to a five-year, $70 million contract ($30 million guaranteed) on Tuesday. Quinn replaces OLB Leonard Floyd, who was released on Tuesday and signed by the Rams the next day. Floyd simply wasn't worth what his fifth-year option would've paid him because he wasn't good at sacking the quarterback. The guy could do everything... except sack the quarterback. Quinn does know how to get the quarterback on the ground, and hopefully he'll be better than Floyd at taking advantage of the double teams that OLB Khalil Mack gets. The Bears gave DE Roy Robertson-Harris a second-round tender, making it unlikely that he'll be going anywhere. Former DL Nick Williams signed with the Lions.

 

Linebackers

Earlier this month, Chicago re-signed ILB Danny Trevathan to a three-year contract extension worth up to $24 million, bringing back one of the leaders and key performers of their defense. OLB Isaiah Irving will return on a one-year deal. Former ILB Nick Kwiatkoski signed with the Raiders, while former ILB Kevin Pierre-Louis signed with the Redskins.

 

Secondary

The Bears brought back S Deon Bush on a one-year, $1.4 million deal on Friday. Bush will be in the mix (along with a draft pick, perhaps) to replace S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, who signed with the Cowboys. The team signed CB Artie Burns to a one-year contract on Saturday. He'll be in the mix (along with CB Kevin Toliver, CB Tre Roberson and maybe a draft pick) to replace former CB Prince Amukamara, who was let go last month.

 

Special teams

The Bears are bringing back LS Patrick Scales on a one-year deal.

 

That's all until April!

 

End.

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