Admittedly, I'm not the world's biggest fan of the Pro Bowl, or all-star contests in general. But with the Bears having a combined five Pro-Bowlers (between starters and alternates), and with the Bears not participating in this year's Super Bowl for obvious reasons, we may as well take a look ahead and start projecting next year.
Brandon Marshall, Matt Forte, Alshon Jeffery, Tim Jennings and Kyle Long all will be participating in this year's Pro Bowl game, and all will be returning to the Bears in 2014, and while not all Pro Bowlers are guaranteed to return, there are cases for some to return already. Jeffery put himself on the map this year with his performance and development. Jennings now has two consecutive Pro Bowls to his name, although named this year as an alternate, same as Jeffery. And while I think many of us really appreciate Kyle Long's game, his naming as an alternate this year may have come a year or two too early.
The first name on most people's minds with the Bears is Jay Cutler, who hasn't been named to a Pro Bowl since 2008, the year before the Bears traded to acquire him. And were it not for his injuries this year, there's a good case Cutler could have made his second - not as a starter, but likely over Alex Smith. With a second year in Trestman's system, he could be in the conversation next year, although it feels like this is a conversation we have every year with him.
Jermon Bushrod's another guy that could be there next year. He made the Pro Bowl in 2011 and 2012 as Drew Brees' left tackle, but was left off this year behind Joe Thomas, Jordan Gross, Brendan Albert, Duane Brown and Trent Williams. Another year of a productive Bears' offense could see him back there.
Who are some of the guys on your mind for next year?