Superteams are the norm in basketball nowadays. With the Golden State Warriors seemingly filled to the brim with All-Stars and several other teams with stars aplenty, the overall parity in the league is essentially nonexistent. This isn’t the case in football, though, as a much larger roster typically prevents superstars from being able to take pay cuts and join up with other stars.
However, ESPN’s Bill Barnwell decided to build the “perfect 53-man roster” that still manages to fall under the salary cap. The annual article has been a fun exercise leading up to the regular season over the past few years. With players like Antonio Brown, Aaron Donald and Von Miller on this year’s team, there are no shortage of big names on the roster. Although the Chicago Bears don’t have any starters on the team, they did end up having two players make the cut.
Both running back Jordan Howard and free safety Eddie Jackson were named as depth players on the hypothetical dream team of a roster. With both of their individual contracts under $1 million, they have fantastic value and are great additions to a roster stacked to the brim with talent.
Here’s what Barnwell had to say about the perfect team’s group of running backs, which also includes David Johnson, Alvin Kamara, Chase Edmonds and Derek Watt:
Imagine being able to rotate a Johnson for a fresh Howard, or splitting out Johnson on one side and Kamara on the other and daring teams to try to play man coverage with their linebackers and safeties. These guys aren’t bad between the tackles, either, as Howard is just the 20th back since the merger to rack up 1,100 rushing yards or more in each of his first two seasons. Watt is not a bad receiver in his own right, although it’ll be tough for him to get touches with the weapons we have. Heck, it might be tough for Kamara to see the ball more than a few times per game, and he’s the reigning NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Jackson was also named as the team’s punt returner, as Barnwell mentioned when analyzing the safety group that also carries Reshad Jones, Landon Collins, Kevin Byard and Clayton Fejedelem:
We go four-deep with starters here. The Dolphins restructured Jones’ deal, turning an untenable $14 million cap figure into a far more palatable $4.9 million hold. Good for us. Collins, who will be an unrestricted free agent in March, slipped a bit last season and didn’t stuff the stat sheet as much as he did in 2016; but his athleticism and knack for finding the ball is still a bargain for less than $2 million. Byard’s eight interceptions last season overstated his impact, but he rounded into a fine center fielder and has the ball skills to catch whatever mistakes a quarterback’s going to offer up. And Jackson, Collins’ former teammate at Alabama, can sub in for Byard while serving as our punt returner.
Center Cody Whitehair was the only Bears player to make it onto last year’s team.
Both Jackson and Howard played at high levels in 2017, and it will be interesting to see if they are able to make the “perfect” team next year.
Jacob Infante is a Chicago Bears writer at SB Nation’s Windy City Gridiron. He is also an NFL Draft writer at USA Today SMG’s Draft Wire. He can be reached through Twitter @jacobinfante24 or emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.