The Chicago Bears posted their last winning season in 2012 and their most recent postseason victory in 2011, but they’re still one of the most valuable franchises in sports.
Forbes recently released its list of most valuable sports teams on Tuesday, which features 29 NFL teams in its top 50, including the Bears at 16th. Shame on the Bengals, Bills, and Lions for being the only NFL teams to miss the cut.
As for the Bears, their ranking makes them the eighth most valuable NFL team at $2.7 billion – a 10 percent increase from last year. The Cowboys ($4.2 billion) are the most valuable team in sports, and are one of seven NFL teams ranking among the 13 most valuable franchises. They are joined by the Patriots, Giants, 49ers, Redskins, Rams, and Jets. It’s safe to say the NFL is doing well as a business venture.
On a local front, the Bears are still the most valuable franchise within Chicago’s city limits. The Cubs are a close second (18th overall, $2.68 billion) and the Bulls (22nd overall, $2.5 billion) round out Chicago’s representation on the list.
All things considered, nothing symbolizes the Bears’ placement on the list despite their recent team struggles like Forbes using a picture of Josh Bellamy – whose 50 percent catch rate was the worst among the team’s receivers last season.
- The Bears could have a bit of an old-school look to its offense in 2017. Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune writes about fullback Michael Burton, whose presence in the lineup could give Dowell Loggains’ offense a different look. Fullbacks are being phased out in the NFL, and are generally underused in college. For Burton – or undrafted free agent Freddie Stevenson – to make the team and carve a niche as a blocking back, they will need to contribute on special teams or even as a tight end. Some running backs don’t need a fullback to lead the way as a blocker, but Biggs points out that kind of addition in the backfield could help Jordan Howard, who has the patience and vision to properly utilize the help.
- When we’re not watching Mike Glennon and Mitch Trubisky, all eyes will be on Howard and the running game. Pro Football Weekly breaks down the Bears running backs room in the site’s latest installment previewing each position prior to training camp. Howard will be the focal point of the group, but the battle behind him on the depth chart has its own sense of intrigue. Jeremy Langford and Ka’Deem Carey are members returning from the 2016 backfield who will be joined by fourth-round draft pick Tarik Cohen and free agent Benny Cunningham. Running back is another position where being able to provide a boost on special teams could be a deciding factor in who gets a roster spot.
- Out wide, CBS Chicago’s Chris Emma shares some anecdotes from a motivated Kendall Wright, the former Tennessee Titans receiver who is reunited with Loggains, the offensive coordinator who drew up the plays when he hauled in 94 catches and gained more than 1,000 receiving yards. Wright, who signed a one-year deal in March, has a lot to prove and should be given ample opportunity to make plays if he can stand out among a group of receivers that has more questions than answers.
- Which leads us to another game-inside-the-game training camp matchup, as the Bears’ new-look receiving corps will line up against a revamped secondary. Over at CSN Chicago, JJ Stankevitz unearths three burning questions about the Bears’ cornerbacks heading into training camp. The Bears added a mix of veteran newcomers with Prince Amukamara and Marcus Cooper to go along with young slot corners Cre’von LeBlanc and Bryce Callahan, as well Kyle Fuller, who is looking to rebound after his 2016 was lost due to injury. Even still, it is without question that we will wonder if the Bears will regret not choosing a cornerback from what was believed to be a deep draft pool.
- We might question it a little less if the group of assembled corners plays well, and safety Quintin Demps brings his 2016 form to Chicago:
The Bears free agent safety addition adds some ball hawking to that secondary pic.twitter.com/nQ89ZL9DO9
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) July 12, 2017