The Den will be taking a look at one of the Chicago Bears' 2017 unrestricted free agents (UFA's), restricted free agents (RFA's) and Exclusive rights free agents (ERFA) each day until we have knocked out the list.
I will be talking about the player, whether I personally would sign the player and to what contract, and what my best guess the Bears will do with him.
Today we look at what may be the easiest, most non-controversial "should we re-sign" question of all, ERFA Connor Shaw. (Note, I originally mistakenly had Shaw as a RFA not an ERFA, thanks to Doshi for the correction heads-up!)
Rather than reinventing the wheel, here's the scoop on ERFA's from Wikipedia: "Exclusive-rights free agents are players with two or fewer seasons of service time and whose contracts have expired. If their team tenders a qualifying offer (a one-year contract usually at league-minimum salary) the player has no negotiating rights with other teams, and must either sign the tender with the team or sit out the season.
Connor Shaw was went undrafted out of the University of South Carolina in 2014.
Personal story, here. I got free tickets to #5 Missouri vs #21 South Carolina in 2013, so I went. I'm not a Mizzou fan, but I'm not turning down free tix to an SEC team's home game when it's a 2-hour drive from me. Connor Shaw (who I had frankly never heard of) was the regular SC starter at quarterback, but he was ill so they opened up with another guy back there. Mizzou jumped out to a 17 point lead early, and we were all sitting around chatting because the game was basically over. Then Connor Shaw happened. He came into the game and provided an instant spark against a VERY tough Mizzou defense (E.J. Gaines, Markus Golden, Kony Ealy, Michael Sam, Shane Ray, Kentrell Brothers... that was the year just after Sheldon Richardson graduated, dang that was a good D unit) and lit them up, eventually bring SC all the way back and winning it in double overtime. Here are a couple of highlights from that game:
Shaw was signed as a priority UDFA by the Cleveland Browns, and he went 8 for 9 for 123 in the preseason. Cleveland cut him in the cut down to their 53-man roster, but signed him to their practice squad once he cleared waivers.
During the 2014 season in Cleveland, Johnny Manziel happened. Manziel got injured/suspended/melted down/who really knows and Brian Hoyer (Cleveland's non-Johnny Football starter) got hurt, so Shaw was brought back up onto the 53 man. He started the final game of the season against Baltimore, where he went 14/28 for 177 with a long of 49 yards.
Shaw was in the mix in Cleveland in 2015. During a preseason game vs Washington, Shaw injured several ligaments in his throwing hand requiring surgery, so he spent the season on the Brown's IR.
Cleveland released Shaw before camp on June 30, 2016. Then, things got weird.
New Orleans sent in a claim notification for Shaw... or at least that's what they intended to do. Instead, whoever sent out the email accidentally sent it not to the league office in charge of claims, but rather all of the other teams in the league. The Bears, because of our higher waiver priority, jumped in line ahead of New Orleans and claimed Shaw.
By all accounts, Shaw looked very good in camp, and he also looked good in pre-season action. Shaw was 5 for 6 for 68 yards in pre-season against Kansas City, with one TD and a passer rating of 153.5. Then, something BAD happened, as Chiefs defensive lineman Rakeem Nunez-Roches folded Shaw's leg in a place it's not supposed to bend. Shaw spent the rest of 2016 on the Bears IR list.
Do I think Chicago should bring back Connor Shaw? As hard as it is to imagine wanting to bring back a quarterback who has spent most of his pro career on IR and who was cut by Cleveland, yes, not only do I think we should bring him back but I think it's a no-brainer. We have nothing but a big questionmark at all levels of the quarterbacking tree right now, and Connor Shaw has shown that he has a spark at the position. He's not our next franchise quarterback, but he is a guy we can have compete for a backup position who will cost very little money to the team.
Do I think the Bears will bring him back? Absolutely, for the reasons mentioned above and because we've heard them say many times that Shaw was in the mix at quarterback, that he was playing well enough to challenge for playing time up until his injury. Shaw has a much higher upside than a guy like David Fales, and perhaps more upside than any other quarterback that played for the Bears last year (after all, we pretty well know Jay Cutler and Brian Hoyer's ceilings, and Barkley didn't show better than Shaw).
BEAR DOWN, CHICAGO BEARS, BEAR DOWN!!!!
Zeglinski: What’s in the Bears’ plan? - The Rock River Times - It was two years ago this past Sunday, that the Bears had found their head executive to lead the franchise in a new promising direction.
Mayer: Jordan Howard's five fantastic feats - ChicagoBears.com - Pro Bowl running back Jordan Howard accomplished some pretty impressive feats during his tremendous rookie season in 2016. Check out five of our favorites.
Cox: Bears WR grades: Consistency hard to find in receiving corps in 2016 - Bears Wire - The offseason provides the perfect time for the Chicago Bears to look back over their team and their season to evaluate what went wrong and what went right across the board. Here at Bears Wire, we're doing the same thing, going position by position through the 2016 Bears and grading every player.
Campbell: Bears' Jordan Howard turned Week 1 disappointment into Pro Bowl berth - Chicago Tribune - It's almost unfathomable to consider, especially while the ink still is drying on Jordan Howard's name in the Bears record book.
Perez: Deshaun Watson still undecided about playing in Senior Bowl - Bears Wire - Clemson QB Deshaun Watson has not decided if he'll play in the 2017 Senior Bowl
Finley: Bears RB Jordan Howard's long road ends with Pro Bowl berth - Chicago Sun-Times - Bears running back Jordan Howard was named to the Pro Bowl on Wednesday.
Emma: Bears’ Leonard Floyd Proved His Place In Rookie Season - CBS Chicago - Floyd finished his rookie season with 7.0 sacks in 12 games.
Mullin: Bears' Jordan Howard is 'nowhere near what he’s going to be' - CSN Chicago - Jordan Howard was just named to the Pro Bowl in his rookie season and his former position coach with the Bears says he will only get better.
Cox: Bears offensive line ranked in middle of the pack by Pro Football Focus - Bears Wire - The Chicago Bears' offensive line ended up being a pretty consistent group, and Pro Football Focus ranked them 15th in the NFL this season.
Los Angeles just got its second football team and is already taking L's pic.twitter.com/zpUY7MTnfx— NFL Memes (@NFL_Memes) January 12, 2017
Cox: Bears TE grades: Lack of depth apparent after Zach Miller injury - Bears Wire - After Zach Miller went down, the Chicago Bears really didn't have much consistency at the tight end position in 2016.
Bears: Jordan Howard's first ever All-Star Game? The NFL Pro Bowl - CSN Chicago - Jordan Howard's career didn't begin how he expected it. But the fifth-round running back was stellar once he took over lead duties.
Imrem: At least Packers offer quality QB with the hot chocolate - Daily Herald - Could Green Bay Packers' hot chocolate help Chicago Bears fill Soldier Field?
Haugh: Brian Urlacher gets temporary custody of son after boy's stepfather is killed - Chicago Tribune - Concerned about the safety of his son after the shooting death of the stepfather in the family's Willow Springs home, Brian Urlacher filed an emergency motion in a Cook County courtroom this week and received temporary custody
Biggs: Will the Bears ever get a new home? - Chicago Tribune - Ken's note: This is from about a year ago, but it fits in with the Chargers move to LA. With the Rams move back to Los Angeles, the NFL will have yet another state of the art stadium built in a huge market. Does that give any motivation to the McCaskeys to look into building a new stadium in Chicago? I'm sure they realize that Soldier Field is at the bottom of the barrel.
Coppens: Chargers fans burn jerseys; hockey, minor league baseball teams roast logo - The Comback - The San Diego Chargers are no more, the team's new logo is getting roasted on Twitter, and fans are burning jerseys. ALL IS WELL!
Patra: Tom Coughlin 'overseeing all facets' of Jags' operation - NFL.com - The Jacksonville Jaguars and Tom Coughlin have reunited -- though the two-time Super Bowl champion won't be roaming the sidelines as their coach. Coughlin will oversee all facets of their operation.
Biggs: Dave Toub better prepared for head coaching opportunity if it comes - Chicago Tribune - Chiefs special teams coordinator Dave Toub interviewed for the Chargers job on Sunday, and it could be the best opportunity he has had.
Daday: Arlington Heights native Cleary ready for NFL playoff debut - Daily Herald - Emmett Cleary knows to be ready. The Dallas Cowboys offensive tackle, an Arlington Heights native, will make his NFL playoff debut Sunday, and could see playing time with the first-team offense.
Kurtenbach: The Chargers' pending move to L.A. exposes the NFL's truth when it comes to fans - FOX Sports - Two teams in Los Angeles isn't a problem for the NFL.
The Echo & Ken Show Episode 65: Promotion, bad weather and groceries, oh my! - Ken's Note: This is my weekly podcast for NEMONews.net & the NEMONews family of newspapers. It has absolutely NOTHING to do with the Chicago Bears, but I thought you might like to check out something entirely different. Echo & Ken talk about Echo's big promotion to Editor of the Edina Sentinel and a whole bunch more.
KNOW THY ENEMY
Meinke: Of course the Lions should re-sign Matthew Stafford - MLive.com - Apparently, there are still some who believe the Lions should move on from Stafford. This is utterly baffling.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT ON WINDY CITY GRIDIRON
Sunderbruch: The Bears in Context - Rushing Defense - Windy City Gridiron - The Bears missed too many open field tackles, and they allowed teams to run against them too well. However, there was improvement.
Wiltfong: Chicago Bears free agency wish list: Defensive Backs - Windy City Gridiron - In Lester’s latest T Formation Conversation podcast he goes over his top four defensive back free agent targets for the Chicago Bears, plus hits on a few other DB options that could be available.
Sunderbruch: Emery’s Failures 2012 Final Grades - Windy City Gridiron - Pace is responsible for the team he puts on the field, but it’s worth looking at how the Bears came to be in such a desperate state in the first place.
FanPosts - Recent - Windy City Gridiron - Here's a link to our FanPost section, where YOU have the opportunity to contribute to Windy City Gridiron. Take a few minutes and write a post about what you are thinking about regarding the Chicago Bears, and there'a chance it will be linked right here in the Den.
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