The two teams aren’t schedule to play each other for a while, but odds are high that Derek Carr will be quarterbacking the Raiders (whether they’re in Oakland or Las Vegas is still to be determined) next time they face the Bears.
Now it's done 😂! From the jump I've wanted to be a Raider 4 life. One step closer to that! Blessed!!! Business done! Let's just play now!!!
— Derek Carr (@derekcarrqb) June 22, 2017
Ian Rapoport was the first to report that Carr and the raiders agreed to a long-term extension, one that would be worth as much as $125 million over five years and make Carr the highest paid player in the NFL. Carr, 26, is a two-time Pro Bowler, and would have been a top-tier MVP candidate had he not suffered a broken leg toward the end of the 2016 season. He was a second-round draft pick in 2014 who started every game as a rookie and has shown significant improvement in each season that followed.
If the Bears’ organization is looking for a blueprint to aid in its rebuild, look no further than Carr and the Raiders. Before the team drafted Carr, the Raiders were in the midst of an 11-year run in which they lost 11 games or more nine times. But starting in 2014, the Raiders started hitting on their draft picks. Pass rushing ace Khalil Mack, Carr, guard Gabe Jackson, and receiver Amari Cooper were drafted in the first two seasons and laid the foundation for the 2016 team that went 12-4.
The Bears hope that Mitch Trubisky can one day be the quarterback who, like Carr, leads an organizational rebirth. But he is only one piece to the puzzle, and the Bears need to draft well if they are going to follow a Raiders-like blueprint.
Meanwhile, Carr represent an example of why teams do seemingly strange things to acquire quarterbacks in the draft. Quality quarterbacks don’t hit free agency, and they rarely get traded. It’s almost as if the best way to get a quarterback is through the NFL Draft. But your team has to choose wisely. No pressure.
- One way the Bears could emulate a Raiders-like rebuild would be if Leonard Floyd has a breakout season, which Pro Football Weekly sees as a possibility for 2017. After choosing center Cody Whitehair as the Bears’ breakout player on offense – a move that could spring several other breakout seasons – PFW tabbed Floyd to be that guy on the defensive side of the ball. Staying healthy will be a key for the Bears as a whole, but also specifically for Floyd, who had seven sacks in 12 games. If he can play a full 16-game schedule, there is a ton of potential in Floyd’s 6-foot-6, 240-pound frame.
- In the defensive secondary, it appears as if rookie safety Eddie Jackson “gets it.” Jackson was the only defensive player chosen by the Bears in the 2017 draft, which is still surprising after the team came off a season in which it ranked 24th in scoring defense. Still, Mark Inabinett writes that Jackson has showed some positive traits despite not being able to go all out during the team’s offseason training program. Jackson will likely start the season slotted behind Quintin Demps at free safety, but is expected to be a contributor as a punt returner, which would be a boost to a special teams unit that has been anything but special in recent years.
- Part of the Bears’ offseason plan was to turnover the roster, and they did so by filling holes with players on one-year “prove it” deals. Over at ESPN, Field Yates ranks the best of the bunch and includes the Bears’ addition of cornerback Prince Amukamara. In a year where 19 defensive backs were drafted in the first two rounds and players like Stephon Gilmore and A.J. Bouye signed major free agent contracts, Yates notes the Bears signed a projected starter in Amukamara for a below-market deal for his age 28 season.
- Over at the Chicago Tribune, Brad Biggs’ mailbag is a multi-topic treat. On the field, Biggs attempts to sort out a potential tight end battle between free agent addition Dion Sims, who projects to receive significant playing time because of the deal he signed in the offseason, and rookie Adam Shaheen, who could earn some burn if he can show he knows the offense and can deliver as a blocker, too. But since the two are different types of players, they could see time on the field together.
- Biggs also weighs in on whether or not John Fox and Ryan Pace are on the hot seat. Biggs believes Fox and Pace won’t be evaluated together, but after a 9-23 start, the Bears will have to show improvement under Fox and his staff. It’ll be hard to put a win total on what improvement looks like, but I feel as if we’ll know it when we see it.
- If you’re reading this, you’re already probably rooting for the Chicago Bears. But if you needed more reasons (or if you’ve come here while searching for a team in the NFL to root for) then Adam Rank of NFL.com has lined up why you should be rooting for the Bears in 2017.
- Open practices at Bourbonnais will be here soon enough:
Bears release training camp schedule. First practice open to the public is July 27 at 11:15 a.m. First one in pads is July 29 at 11:15.
— Kevin Fishbain (@kfishbain) June 22, 2017