The NFL Draft is TWO weeks from tonight.
- The Athletic’s Dan Durkin expresses concern about the Bears’ future, starting with the 2017 season. In his most recent piece, Durkin assesses the team’s talent level by looking at its salary cap commitments. And judging by the looks of things, he is right to be concerned.
- The big-spending Bears racked up a league-high $53 million in 2017 cap dollars, the fourth most money spent in total value with $124.2 million, and the fifth most in total guarantees with $56.8 million. But as Durkin points out, the Bears’ spending sprees haven’t resulted in the addition of star power or difference makers. Further, they haven’t added either of those types of players in the draft (yet) either. GM Ryan Pace enters the third year of his contract needing to hit on multiple draft picks who can start right away, while also needing the players he invested in during free agency to stay healthy and produce on the field. It’s shaping up to be one hell of a make-or-break year at Halas Hall.
- Over at Bleacher Report, Chris Roling highlights five Bears who are candidates for breakout seasons in 2017. These are the kinds of players Pace needs to have big years in order to secure his job future, but also prove that the Bears’ rebuild process is actually making progress. The group features four offensive players and three of the Bears’ highest paid free agent signings. Quarterback Mike Glennon will really have his work cut out for him as he tries to gel with free agent tight end Dion Sims, as well as returning receivers with a lot to prove (Kevin White and Cameron Meredith).
- At this point, I’m not sure which breakout candidate is the most important. Glennon is an obvious choice because of the position he plays, but he can’t break out if he doesn’t get help from his pass catchers. And if those players don’t break out, Glennon probably won’t look like a quarterback who is long for the league.
- Brad Biggs’ mailbag in the Chicago Tribune is full of tidbits as we race toward the NFL Draft. Biggs touches on a variety of topics including an emphasis on the quarterback position, creativity in trading for draft position, positional needs, Kyle Fuller’s future, and more.
- Biggs’ offerings on the Bears’ future at quarterback are the most intriguing of the bunch because of the depth of analysis. Quarterback is still a need despite their signing of Glennon, that is a given. And despite their need at the position, the Bears can’t afford to reach because of 1) other needs and 2) the lack of certainty among the top prospects. HOWEVER, the Bears can’t afford to be passive in their search for a quarterback. Glennon could be a short-term answer, but that shouldn’t preclude the Bears from drafting a player to replace him in case he doesn’t pan out the way the Bears expect. And if that’s how it plays out, the team isn’t handcuffed because of how the contract was drawn up.
- Despite the offseason additions of Glennon and Mark Sanchez, Adam Schein believes the Bears are one of the most quarterback-needy teams in the NFL. Schein lists the Bears fifth on a list of nine teams, even though he admits he likes Glennon more than some … but also notes that there are no guarantees that Glennon succeeds with his new team. The Bears are in the unfortunate spot of having a high pick in a draft that lacks a elite quarterback prospect. However, that shouldn’t stop them from doing their due diligence in later rounds. Chicago could still look into the available prospects in the second, third, and fourth rounds.
- Since 2010, there have been 29 quarterbacks drafted in Rounds 2-4. Six have led their respective teams to a postseason berth as the team’s primary starter. This list features second-rounders Andy Dalton (2011) and Derek Carr (2014), third-rounders Russell Wilson (2012) and Nick Foles (2012), as well as fourth-rounders Kirk Cousins (2012) and Dak Prescott (2016).
- Jay Cutler, the last Bears quarterback to lead the team to a postseason appearance, is still considering retirement. ESPN’s Roman Modrowski writes the reason behind the lack of buzz surrounding Cutler in free agency could be because he might be ready to call it a career. Cutler was released by the Bears in March as the team neared a deal with Mike Glennon, but a market didn’t really develop for the Bears’ all-time leader in numerous passing categories. As we near the draft, there are still no public suitors for Cutler, even after the retirement of Tony Romo took him off the radar and conceivably moved Cutler up the list of available quarterbacks.
- I can’t get enough of this Walter Payton animated .gif:
— 80sSportsNStuff (@80sSportsNStuff) April 10, 2017
- And finally, BEAR. DOWN … and then like us on Facebook!!
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