The Chicago Bears have been dwelling in mediocrity for the past five seasons. This offseason, they have the opportunity to finally escape that football purgatory.
They already have a handful of talented, young players on the roster. Their defense is one of the better units in the league, and their offense has a few building blocks in piece, including their franchise quarterback. Now, it’s up to their front office to surround those building blocks with more talented players.
However, there are a few things that the Bears will have to avoid doing to reach that goal. These are some examples of what they shouldn’t do this offseason.
Overpay for Jarvis Landry
Jarvis Landry is the best wide receiver in this year’s free agency class. The Bears need some wide receivers, and they have a lot of money to spend.
But they shouldn’t spend it on him.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Landry would be a huge upgrade to a weak Bears wide receiver group. He would provide Trubisky with a high-end weapon that he certainly lacked this year. However, his price tag is far too steep for Chicago to sign him.
The Bears have a lot of other needs that they need to have fixed this offseason. Kyle Fuller will likely end up earning more than $10 million annually on his next contract. They’ll need to find another cornerback, too, as Prince Amukamara is a free agent. Even if they bring him back, it will cost them a decent amount of money. The Bears will also likely look for some depth to their edge rusher group, and they could spend money on another tight end or offensive lineman, as well. Signing Landry would greatly hinder those plans.
Plus, the Bears need more than one new wide receiver. They will likely need to sign more than one free agent to help give Trubisky a wide variety of weapons. If they add Landry, they’ll have one weapon, but they won’t be able to afford to sign another solid depth player.
They can afford to sign Landry, but they can’t afford to sign him, if that makes sense.
General manager Ryan Pace has been fairly reluctant to spend big money on free agents since he joined the Bears. Don’t expect that to change this season.
Ignore the backup quarterback position
As has been made especially evident this season, having a good backup quarterback can be the difference between a deep playoff run and a terrible season. Tom Savage failed to retain the momentum that the Houston Texans had before Deshaun Watson got injured, while Nick Foles led the Philadelphia Eagles to a Super Bowl victory in place of Carson Wentz. Case Keenum also stepped in for Sam Bradford and took the Minnesota Vikings to the NFC Championship.
That said, it’s crucial that the Bears look for a good backup quarterback for Mitchell Trubisky this offseason. Their current second-stringer is Mike Glennon, who will certainly be released come March. Mark Sanchez could be re-signed, but he’s not necessarily someone you want to enter the game if your starter were to go down with an injury.
There are quite a bit of intriguing options that the Bears can choose from. They could sign a high-end veteran, or they could draft a rookie late on Day 3. Either way, they need to prepared in case of an emergency, because, if they aren’t, they could risk losing an entire season.
Reach for a specific need in Round 1
Last year, the Bears arguably reached in the draft. Although Trubisky was viewed by many - myself included - as the top quarterback in the 2017 class, he wasn’t the second-best prospect in the class by any means.
This year, Chicago could possibly find themselves in a similar situation. They need a wide receiver and an edge rusher, neither of which would be value picks at No. 8.
Here’s the difference between these two scenarios, though: last year, the Bears needed a quarterback. This year, they don’t.
Quarterback is the most important position on the football field. When you’re able to draft one with a high pick, you will do so nine times out of 10. It’s really the only position you can afford to reach on.
Calvin Ridley is a very good wide receiver, and he will likely have a very good career ahead of him. He’s athletic, he’s a great route runner, and he has reliable hands. However, he’s not a true No. 1 receiver type of player. He’s not great on jump balls, and he has a fairly skinny frame. Plus, he’s going to be 24 years old in December of 2018. That means that, if a team were to pick up his fifth-year option, he would be 28 years old by the time his rookie contract expires. If the Bears decide to trade back, then Ridley would be a good pick. He’s not the best option at No. 8, though.
Bradley Chubb is the best edge rusher in this year’s class, but he’ll be long gone by the time the Bears pick. Besides him, there aren’t any pass rushers worth picking that high. Marcus Davenport has a high ceiling and is very athletic, but he’s not polished enough to warrant getting picked that high. Arden Key is a big fat nope, considering his weight fluctuation issues, off-the-field concerns and inconsistent play. Harold Landry would be a good fit for the Bears, but he’d be a better option for them in a hypothetical trade down situation.
Tremaine Edmunds is a fantastic player. At 6’5” and 250 pounds and only 19 years of age, he is incredibly young and has a pro-ready frame already. He’s a great athlete who can drop back in coverage, defend the run and rush the passer. Here’s the issue, though: he’s an off-ball linebacker.
Sure, you could put Edmunds on the edge and he would likely do fairly well. However, that’s not his strong suit. He’s much better when he has space to work with than when he’s lining up directly against an offensive lineman. He doesn’t have the pass rushing moves to shine as a full-time pass rusher. It simply wouldn’t be the best use of his abilities. He would be a good pick for the Bears at No. 8, but forcing him to play as an edge rusher just because they need help at the position would be like trying to fit a round peg into a square hole.
What do you think the Bears should avoid doing this offseason? Let me know in the comments below.