Turn the sound on and keep the good vibes going into Week 2 of the new league year:
Spring is in the air and so is #Bears football. ☀️
🐻⬇️, Tony! pic.twitter.com/aZ8q5XECaE
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) March 18, 2018
- The aggressive nature in which the Bears attacked the first wave of free agency was something to behold. John “Moon” Mullin of NBC Sports Chicago writes that the moves signify an apparent attitude adjustment that was much needed over at Halas Hall. The Bears’ new pass-catching targets bring a little pizzazz to the room, and the word swag has been casually thrown out there often. I feel like that extra pep in your step is necessary when you’re a skill position player, and finding that in the Bears’ free agent additions is a great sign moving forward. Confidence is key.
- Where there is confidence, there should also be caution. Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Sun-Times re-visits recent Bears free agent history and pumps the brakes after the the team built a buzz with their splash signings. It’s not like the NFL’s history has a ton of free agent success stories. Often, the most successful teams on the open market are the ones that limit risks and plug small holes rather than use it to re-shape their entire roster. Then again, I’m a believer in the idea that past performance does not guarantee future results.
- In short, it’s good to be excited. It’s nice to feel things. Allow yourself to soak it all in. Are we celebrating competence in that the Bears’ front office used free agency to fill immediate needs with sensible players at reasonable contracts that won’t be constricting to future salary cap situations? Yes. Should we be? Well, based on recent history, also yes.
- Speaking of waiting on results before we throw parades for free agent signings, Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune writes about the wait we’ll undergo regarding Allen Robinson’s return. Robinson feels good about how things have progressed in his rehab, and that’s good, because I don’t think the Bears would have shelled out what they did if things weren’t moving in a positive direction the way they have this offseason. It will be up to Robinson to prove the juice was worth the squeeze. Hopefully, Robinson follows a recent history of rehabbed receivers who returned to greatness.
- Much like the year when the Bears introduced the free agent class of Julius Peppers, Chester Taylor, and Brandon Manumaneula, what happens with the big fish will dictate how we feel about the group of signings as a whole. Peppers was a stud in Chicago, making the Pro Bowl in each of his first three years, was an All-Pro in Year 1, and averaged nine sacks in his four-year stint. The Bears didn’t have a losing record in those four years and even made the playoffs once. If Robinson can be to the Bears offense what Peppers was to the defense, we’ll probably think fondly of this crop of additions.
- One thing the signing of Robinson (and Taylor Gabriel) has done is create a competition for spots further down the depth chart. Over at NBC Sports Chicago, John “Moon” Mullin points out the first wave of roster movement has created a situation for Kevin White to overcome. Taken with the seventh overall pick in 2015, White has been a non-factor in the first three years of his career. And with the Bears’ upgrades at receiver, he could conceivably be the odd-man out depending on what happens during offseason training activities, training camp, and the preseason. The Bears have a long way to go until they have to decide on White’s 2018 future, but this summer has the feel of a make-or-break situation.
- Don’t let the first wave of free agency distract you from the fact that this team still has holes to fill, which we tried to point out by sharing our first depth chart of the 2018 season. One player who won’t be filling a role on that chart is Kevin Pierre-Louis, who visited the team over the weekend but ultimately signed with the New York Jets. Primarily a special teams player, Pierre-Louis saw some additional looks as a linebacker – a position the Bears could use some help with some depth and upside.
- Another player who won’t be signing in Chicago is defensive back Tyrann Mathieu, who signed a one-year deal with the Houston Texans over the weekend. The Packers, Vikings, Chiefs, and Jets were among the many teams lining up to sign the versatile defensive back, but it’s Houston that adds him to their mix.
- NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport tweets that former Bears edge rusher Pernell McPhee’s first visit in free agency will be in Washington today. McPhee signed a five-year deal worth a little more than $38 million in 2015, but missing 12 games to injuries led the Bears to part ways with him back in February. Hopefully, McPhee finds better luck in the health department wherever his next stop takes him.
- Deonte Thompson looked better after leaving the Bears than he did with the team. Thompson caught 27 passes for 430 yards (15.9 yards per catch!) in 11 games (7 starts) in Buffalo after catching 11 passes for 125 yards in three games with the Bears. Mike Garafolo of NFL Network tweets about Thompson’s developing market, which includes interest from the Bills, Broncos, and Cowboys. Thompson didn’t get much of an opportunity at receiver in Chicago until things became desperate. That he turned in a quality year catching passes from Tyrod Taylor is good for him. Best of luck to the ex-Bear.