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The Bear's Den: Friday, April 15, 2016

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In recognition of the HUGE trade that puts the Rams on the clock and fills Tennessee's draft pick coffers to the brim, we look back on the biggest trade in recent Bears history... Chicago sending two first round picks (18th overall in 2009, 11th overall in 2010) plus Kyle Orton to Denver for Jay Cutler and a 5th (that ended up being an excellent player, Johnny Knox, whose career ended too soon from injury). It was a controversial trade to this day, and many fans have found the long, strange road the Bears equally controversial and taxing (pun in honor of the impending Tax Day we see every year in April around the 15th)

Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

BEAR DOWN!!!!

2016 SCHEDULE RELEASED (Various takes on the story)

Mullin: Busy Thursdays for Bears in 2016 preseason - CSN Chicago - The Bears won their only Thursday game last season, so for John Fox’s efforts to reshape the culture, the 2016 preseason might be to his liking.

Mayer: Chicago Bears 2016 schedule announced - ChicagoBears.com - The Bears will open the 2016 season on the road for the first time in seven years and play four of their first eight games in prime time.

Mayer: 5 facts about Bears' 2016 schedule - ChicagoBears.com - Check out five interesting facts about the Bears' 2016 schedule, beginning with them playing a night game in Green Bay for the sixth straight season.

Perez: 2016 NFL Schedule: Bears to play 4 games in prime time - Bears Wire - The Chicago Bears will play four games in prime time in 2016, highlighted by back-to-back divisional games in Weeks 7 & 8

Findley: Bears' schedule features 4 prime time games - Chicago Sun-Times - The Bears’ schedule was set Thursday, with a "Thursday Night Football" game at Lambeau Field among the four prime-time highlights.

Campbell: Bears regular season schedule released - Chicago Tribune - The Chicago Bears' 2016 regular season schedule is out. It includes four primetime games, including ones against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field...

Wiltfong: Chicago Bears 2016 preseason schedule and regular season opponents - Windy City Gridiron - The NFL has announced their 2016 preseason schedule and here are the four Chicago Bears' games.

Mayer: Capsules of Bears' 2016 opponents - ChicagoBears.com - With the NFL schedule being released Thursday evening, we take a capsule look at all 13 of the Bears' 2016 opponents.

Hub Arkush: Winning record attainable in favorable schedule for Chicago Bears - Chicago Football - One of the silliest things an NFL fan can do is take the schedule of his or her favorite club when it’s released in April and predict their club’s record for the year. (Ken's note: So... Hub does it anyway)

Mayer: 2016 Schedule By the Numbers - ChicagoBears.com - Take a look at the Bears' 2016 schedule by the numbers, including the number of teams that reached last year's divisional playoffs that they'll play this season.

ESPN BEAT REPORTERS NFC NORTH WINS-LOSES PREDICTIONS

Dickerson: 2016 Chicago Bears game-by-game predictions - ESPN - The Bears won't capitalize on a friendly start to the season and will end the year hoping nine wins are enough to earn a playoff spot.

Goessling: 2016 Minnesota Vikings game-by-game predictions - ESPN - With the Vikings opening their first season at U.S. Bank Stadium, there should be plenty of electricity for some of their key games.

Demovsky: 2016 Green Bay Packers game-by-game predictions - ESPN - The results from last season say the Green Bay Packers have the easiest schedule in the NFL. Their opponents have the lowest combined winning percentage (.457). Yes, the schedule seems disjointed and imbalanced, but at least they don't have to travel far. They won't go West of Minnesota this year.

Rothstein: 2016 Detroit Lions game-by-game predictions - ESPN - The Lions will play all 16 games of the 2016 season inside the continental U.S. for the first time since 2013 - and they should break even.

DRAFT / FREE AGENCY

Bellamy signs ERFA, now under contract with Chicago - Bears WR Josh Bellamy announced via his Instagram account Thursday that he's signed his exclusive rights tender and his returning to Chicago for the 2016 season.

Fishbain: How the Rams' trade up to No. 1 could affect the Chicago Bears - Chicago Football - More options for Ryan Pace and the Bears to move up, or down in the NFL Draft.

Dullea: Bears prioritizing draft over Jeffery contract - Cover32 - The Bears' Jeffery has been one of the most productive receivers in the NFL over this four year career. What kind of contract will he command.

Ottochain: Players the Bears should target in the middle rounds of the 2016 NFL Draft - Bears Wire - A detailed look at some of the players that can be found after round 2 in the NFL draft that the Bears should target.

Fishbain: Pro Football Weekly's 2016 NFL Draft Prospect Preview of CB Vernon Hargreaves - Chicago Football - Draft's No. 2 cover man has a very good skill set for the NFL.

Cox: Local "superback" hoping to impress Bears, earn draft selection - Bears Wire - Northwestern's Dan Vitale is attending the Chicago Bears local pro day, trying to impress his favorite team, growing up in the Chicago area.

SportsTalk Live(video): Alex Brown on Bears next season - CSN Chicago - Former Bears defensive end Alex Brown joins SportsTalk Live to talk about whether the Bears will contend next season.

Biggs Mailbag: Did Ryan Pace miss the free agency boat on defense? - Chicago Tribune - Although I've been generally impressed with Ryan Pace's moves in free agency, the one area where I think he missed some significant opportunities was in the...

Biggs Mailbag: Would the Bears go for Jaylon Smith even if he's out for the year? - Chicago Tribune - Is it best player available or best player available who is ready to play Week 1 for the Bears? If they can't get DeForest Buckner, why not Jaylon Smith...

Biggs Mailbag: Could Bears take Connor Cook with their second-round pick? - Chicago Tribune - Will the Bears take Connor Cook if he is on the board with their second-round pick?

Biggs Mailbag: Would it be worth for Bears to trade back to Nos. 15 or 20? - Chicago Tribune - Assuming both Carson Wentz and Jared Goff are picked early, I would assume the Bears are in prime position to trade back with either the Rams or Jets so...

Biggs Mailbag: Given Josh Gordon news, could Bears trade up in draft by trading Alshon Jeffery? - Chicago Tribune
Given Josh Gordon news, could the Bears trade up to No. 2 trading Alshon Jeffery to Cleveland and swapping draft picks with the Browns? Worth it?

Biggs Mailbag: Could a potential Muhammad Wilkerson deal happen at the draft? - Chicago Tribune - In regards to a potential trade with the Jets for Muhammad Wilkerson, is it possible New York would wait until the Bears are on the clock at No. 11 to pull the trigger on a deal, assuming the player or players they want are on the board?

Perez: Is Laremy Tunsil within Bears’ reach after the Rams-Titans trade? - Bears Wire - The Rams and Titans completed a blockbuster trade for the 1st pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, giving the Bears some hope for Laremy Tunsil

Snyder's Draft Bytes: Sleepers Week Part Deux! Defense Edition - Windy City Gridiron - Take your inner draft-nerd to a whole new level.

BEARRRSSSS

Emma: Kyle Fuller On Playing With Bolstered Bears Roster: ‘Looking Forward To It’ - CBS Chicago - Fuller will be a key piece to the revamped Bears defense.

Wiltfong; Chicago Bears' GM Ryan Pace is an "on the rise executive" - Windy City Gridiron - Where would you rank Chicago Bears' general manager Ryan Pace among his peers? Rotoworld recently revealed their annual list and Pace was in the bottom half.

SportsTalk Live(video): Alex Brown on Bears next season - CSN Chicago - Former Bears defensive end Alex Brown joins SportsTalk Live to talk about whether the Bears will contend next season.

Biggs Mailbag: What's your prediction for the Bears' NFC North record in 2016? - Chicago Tribune - The Bears went 1-5 in the NFC North last season. What do you expect the Bears record to be in the North this season?

Biggs Mailbag: Will Tayo Fabuluje step up and win a job this summer? - Chicago Tribune - Competition seems to be intense at guard with the acquisition of Ted Larsen and Manny Ramirez. But not so much at tackle where Charles Leno and Bobby Massie...

Biggs Mailbag: Where do the Bears' 3 guards fit? - Chicago Tribune - Where do the three guards fit? Are we sure Kyle Long is moving back inside?

BEARRRSSSS FOR LIFE

Chicago Bears in the Hall - Jim Finks - The 45-year career of Jim Finks found him at one time or another doing almost everything imaginable in professional football. While Finks was associated briefly with professional baseball, his working career centered around the National Football League, first as a player with Pittsburgh Steelers and later as a highly-regarded executive for the Minnesota Vikings, Chicago Bears and New Orleans Saints.

POLISH SAUSAGE

Kaberon: Creating NFL schedule complex process - ChicagoBears.com - The NFL schedule will be released Thursday evening. Take a peek behind the curtain to find out how the league plans out its games, and what role the Bears play in the schedule's creation.

Campbell & Wiederer (audio): Bear Download - Chicago Tribune-Welcome to the weekly Bear Download podcast with Rich Campbell and Dan Wiederer. Episode 3: Rich and Dan discuss Dan's recent trip to the Masters (1:40), NFL draft options and non-prediction predictions (6:35), NFL marketing and lobster in New England (15:06), what the signing of Ted Larsen means for Matt Slauson (18:45) and 2015 first-round pick Kevin White (23:15).

Findley: Titans trade No. 1 overall draft pick to Rams - Chicago Sun-Times - The Rams, notorious for collecting a treasure trove for a 2012 draft pick that became the Redskins' Robert Griffin III, just did the opposite...

AP Press: Jared Allen signs 1-day contract to retire with Vikings - Pro32: Head to Head - The Minnesota Vikings have signed defensive end Jared Allen to a ceremonial one-day contract to allow the four-time All-Pro to formally retire as a member of the team.

KNOW THY ENEMY

Silva: NFL Draft Needs, Packers Draft Analysis - Rotoworld.com - Evan Silva and Josh Norris walk through the Packers' top three needs and offer options for each of their draft picks.

Demovsky: John Kuhn, Mike Neal still on the street with Packers' offseason work to start - ESPN - A look at six long-time Green Bay Packers who are still unsigned and their chances of returning to the team.

Goessling: Minnesota Vikings have $10.16 million in cap space left for 2016 - ESPN - Even after signing their draft picks, the Vikings have some flexibility to make roster moves with an eye on 2017 and beyond.

Pasche: Three things to know about relationship between Jim Bob Cooter and Jim Caldwell - Dailytribune.com - While Jim Bob Cooter has been with the Lions for two seasons, the difference for 2016 is he will be the offensive coordinator throughout the offseason into training camp and then the season.

Twentyman: Opinions vary for Lions at 16 - DetroitLions.com - Tim Twentyman takes a look at who the experts have the Lions picking with the 16th overall pick.

DRAFT PROSPECTS OF INTEREST TO BEARS FANS

NFL Draft Profile: Duke DB Jeremy Cash | CSN Chicago

NFL Draft Profile: Oklahoma WR Sterling Shepard | CSN Chicago

NFL Draft: Ohio State LB Darron Lee | CSN Chicago

NFL Draft: Penn State QB Christian Hackenberg | CSN Chicago

NFL Draft Profile: Ohio State LB Darron Lee | CSN Chicago

NFL Draft: Illinois DL Jihad Ward | CSN Chicago

NFL Draft: Oklahoma WR Sterling Shepard | CSN Chicago