Good morning. If you’re brackets aren’t completely busted by now, just give it a few hours.
- Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times explores the winners and losers from the NFL’s first wave of free agency … and the Bears have done a whole bunch of winning. Mitch Trubisky is sitting pretty as the biggest winner after the addition of so many fun toys to play with in the year to come. But let’s not overlook someone like Chase Daniel, who could ultimately collect $10 million as a backup, mostly because he knows an offensive system and has good connections.
- Unfortunately, where there are winners, there are bound to be losers. The scary thing might be that the losers seem to be leaning on the defensive side of the ball. Playing defense in the NFC North became that much harder with the Packers signing tight end Jimmy Graham, the Lions adding running back LeGarrette Blount, and the Vikings picking up quarterback Kirk Cousins. Adding Aaron Lynch is a good look for the Bears, but Leonard Floyd is going to have his work cut out for him if the team doesn’t add a pass rusher on the other side who can strike fear in opposing offenses.
- When it’s all said and done, one of the low-key winners of the offseason could be wide receiver Taylor Gabriel. Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune writes about Gabriel and what he can bring to the Bears offense, and it’s an encouraging read. Gabriel should have an expanded role in Chicago, a role that could mirror what Tyreek Hill has done for Kansas City. But for that to happen, he’ll need to increase his snap load. Hill was on the field for 75.6 percent of the Chiefs’ offensive plays last season, while Gabriel played on just 52.7 percent of Atlanta’s offensive snaps. Then again, Gabriel was behind Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu on the pecking order, so his promotion to WR2 in Chicago should serve him well in that respect
- Tight end Trey Burton is in a similar situation to Gabriel in that he’ll be seeing an increase in playing time in Chicago compared to what he was getting at his last stop. ESPN Chicago’s Jeff Dickerson believes Burton represents a new era of Bears tight ends, which should be a welcome sight after last year’s group struggled to find consistency in playing time and production. The hope is that the situation is stabilized now with Burton as the flex tight end who is out running patterns, catching passes, and making plays while stretching the field. Then there’s Adam Shaheen, a traditional, in-line tight end with pass-catching ability and red zone presence. Together, those two should make for a solid combo.
- The combination of Allen Robinson’s skills and Matt Nagy’s scheme could lead to some big things for the Bears’ offense in 2018:
— Matt Harmon (@MattHarmon_BYB) March 22, 2018
- Even after the early free agency spending spree, the NFLPA notes the Bears’ salary cap situation is still healthy.
- Perhaps there is more offensive firepower to come. Johnathan Wood of Da Bears Blog digs through the NFL Draft’s crop of receiver prospects and unearths the best wide receiver fits for Chicago’s new offense based on the athletic profile that seems to line up with what the Kansas City Chiefs were looking for in wideouts. Wood’s analysis highlights four players who could be fits available in Day 3, while also bringing up LSU’s DJ Chark – who has been one of our favorite prospects since showing off at the Senior Bowl.
- It was once expected that Chiefs receiver Albert Wilson would follow Matt Nagy to Chicago and resume slot receiver responsibilities. As it turns out, a former Bears receiver could fill his slot in Kansas City. NFL insider Adam Caplan tweets that Kendall Wright was expected to visit the Chiefs on Thursday. Wright was the Bears’ leading receiver with 614 receiving yards. After signing Sammy Watkins to team with Tyreek Hill on the outside, Kansas City could sign Wright to chew up yards over the middle.
- A different Bears receiver found a new hom on Thursday with Deonte Thompson signing a deal with the Dallas Cowboys. Thompson started the year with the Bears before being let go after five games and ultimately finding a home in Buffalo. He will be competing for looks from Dak Prescott with receivers Dez Bryant, Cole Beasley, and Terrance Williams, as well as tight end Jason Witten.
- The Minnesota Vikings announced they have signed a different former Bear in offensive lineman Tom Compton, a native of Rosemount – a Minneapolis suburb. He played 11 games and picked up five starts along the way. Compton played all over the line in 2017 and will likely move into a reserve role for his hometown team.