There are 169 days until Brian Urlacher’s enshrinement into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and we hope to see you on what will be such a nice occasion. In case you’re interested, you can still get tickets to the enshrinement ceremony and to the Hall of Fame game between the Bears and Ravens, if you so choose.
- Michael Moore of Pro Football Focus breaks down the winners and losers of each head coaching change, but with a fantasy football twist. The obvious winner in the Bears’ case is quarterback Mitch Trubisky. It doesn’t take much more than a quick look at Alex Smith’s time with Matt Nagy as his position coach/coordinator to see where Trubisky can grow. Though it remains to be seen if Trubisky can replicate Smith’s stretch run, in which he was fantasy football’s seventh-highest-scoring quarterback when Nagy was calling plays.
- Where there are winners, there are losers. Moore sees the Bears’ WR2 – whomever that might be – getting the short end of the stick. Moore notes the top receiver in the Chiefs offense averaged more than 100 targets per season, but the second option averaged just 62. Those trends didn’t change when Nagy was calling plays.
- PFF’s George Kritikos puts together an offseason wish list for the Bears, where fantasy implications could have real-life impact. Where Seahawks free agent receiver Paul Richardson lands on the pecking order remains to be seen, but Kritikos sees him as a possible deep threat option for Trubisky as the front office goes about rebuilding the wide receiver corps. The receiver options wouldn’t stop there, as Kritikos offers up Keke Coutee (Texas Tech), Michael Gallup (Colorado State), and Anthony Miller (Memphis) as possible Day 2 options.
- Free agency will have its risks, but the Bears are expected to be players in the open market. ESPN Chicago’s Jeff Dickerson breaks down GM Ryan Pace’s three-year run in which the team has spent $141 million … but has just 14 wins to show for it. The Bears have given out the fourth-most guaranteed money to free agents since Pace has taken over, but has little to show for it. It hasn’t been a total loss. Defensive end Akiem Hicks, linebacker Danny Trevathan, cornerback Prince Amukamara, and guard Josh Sitton have been productive since joining the Bears and can be considered beacons of hope. But the move to sign quarterback Mike Glennon is a black mark that stands out for all the wrong reasons.
- With free agency looming, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune notes that the Bears have some important decisions to make regarding some big-money purchases they have made in prior years. If there is any benefit to the way the contracts have been drawn up, it’s that Chicago can get out of them quickly without incurring much damage to the salary cap. We recently discussed how the Bears could save up to $60 million with some strategic cuts. But while that clears cap space, it also opens up starting positions. It’s quite the tight-rope the Bears will be walking this spring.
- Sometimes, it’s the free agent signings that aren’t made that can hurt. Unfortunately, that might be the case this offseason. Reports surfaced that cornerback Kyle Fuller isn’t expected to re-sign with the Bears next season, but the team wields a powerful asset in the franchise tag that could keep the 26-year-old breakout player in Chicago for at least another year.
- Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune breaks down the cornerback position, where Fuller and Amukamara provided some stability to a position that hasn’t had much of it in recent years. Losing Fuller, who played the second-highest percentage of defensive snaps in 2017, would sting. But we can’t overlook Amukamara’s importance in the secondary, especially after Marcus Cooper struggled in his brief stint as a starter.
- Not sure what I’m impressed with more here: Wisniewski’s triple block or that the Eagles rewarded the player in a creative way. Either way, it’s a win-win for all parties:
Eagles G Stefen Wisniewski narrowly missed a $250k playing time incentive this year so the Eagles said no problem, we appreciate guys who block three guys on one play in the playoffs and redid his deal this week to include a $250k signing bonus for 2018. pic.twitter.com/Ymt84Li7fu
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) February 17, 2018
- Changes are coming to Monday Night Football. We already knew there will be a new analyst in the booth with Jon Gruden returning to the sidelines, but play-by-play broadcaster Sean McDonough could be on his way out, too. Andrew Marchand of the New York post reports ESPN has considered replacing McDonough with an in-house candidate. Marchand lists Joe Tessitore, Steve Levy, and Dave Pasch as possible candidates, but only Pasch (the radio voice of the Arizona Cardinals) has experience calling an NFL game. With Gruden already off the broadcast, there might not be a better time than the present to re-work the booth. As enjoyable as McDonough was on college football, he doesn’t have the same “oomph” Mike Tirico had before him and it’s missed.