It’s been a while since we’ve had a Sunday without football, and we won’t have another for a while — but we can get through this together.
- Every team has tough decisions to make this offseason, but does anyone have one as difficult as what the Bears have to do with Alshon Jeffery? Bleacher Report’s Justis Mosqueda breaks down each team’s biggest contract situation. It’s not just the contract, though, because the Bears have the salary cap space to comfortably fit Jeffery and a major payday. It’s a complex situation between a player and team where neither has strong points of leverage. Jeffery loses negotiation leverage because of an injury-plagued past and a PED suspension that has kept him from out of a significant number of games. The Bears lose leverage because dumping Jeffery would leave them without a clear-cut No. 1 receiver — which would also complicate matters for whoever the Bears next quarterback happens to be.
- If you missed it, we wrote yesterday about the interest in Jeffery around the league if the Bears part ways.
- We could get some clarity on the situation (and others) on Wednesday, which happens to be the first day teams can hand out the franchise tag to players. I encourage you to read up on the different types of franchise tags and look at the other important calendar dates coming soon.
- From wide receiver to quarterback, Dan Graziano of ESPN dissected and ranked every quarterback situation in the NFL. Unsurprisingly, the Bears rank among the worst with fourth lowest ranking in the league. Let’s just say when “Matt Barkley showed some things” is the lead sentence in summation of your quarterbacking situation, it’s less than ideal. For what it’s worth, six teams Graziano deemed to have quarterback situations ranking in the top 10 made the playoffs, four of the top six played in the conference final, and two of the top four are in the NFC North.
- Jordan Howard finds himself listed among good company in this graphic:
Pictured or not, who is the best RB going into the 2017 season? ? pic.twitter.com/pa235H0JIR
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) February 11, 2017
- You already know about the contributions Howard, Ezekiel Elliott, and Dak Prescott made as rookies in 2016, but ESPN’s Matt Bowen has a list of 10 rookies who could break out in their second season. It’s an Insider story, so I won’t give you too much, but it’s worth noting that Bears linebacker Leonard Floyd didn’t quite make the cut. HOWEVER, Floyd is among the fringe five on the outside looking in. Bowen writes that even though Floyd has the speed to get to the quarterback, he needs to add upper-body weight to add power to his speed game. Floyd had seven sacks, a forced fumble and a touchdown in his first season with the Bears.
- The Raiders and head coach Jack Del Rio agreed to a well-deserved four-year extension. Oakland went from 3-13 the year before Del Rio became head coach, to 7-9 in his first season and 12-4 in 2016. The Raiders were one win from locking down the No. 2 seed, but a Week 16 season-ending injury to quarterback Derek Carr and Week 17 loss to the Denver Broncos derailed those dreams. Del Rio was an assistant for John Fox in Denver from 2012-14 and both signed head coaching deals in 2015.
- Valentine’s Day is Tuesday, so (1) don’t say we didn’t warn you and (2) get something nice for someone you love. But if you don’t have any plans yet, here’s an idea from Comcast Sports Net Chicago:
Don't have any plans this Valentine's Weekend?
— CSN Chicago (@CSNChicago) February 11, 2017