Over the last few years I find I’ve developed a complicated relationship with the offseason. On one hand, offseasons are obviously bad because the Bears aren’t playing football anymore. On the other, the Bears have been so bad for so long that the offseason always meant “cutting all our bad players and signing new good ones”. Offseasons became a time for hope, a refuge from losing that allowed the Bears to win the Super Bowl in July without ever playing a game.
That is, until Pace blew everything up and made them good.
For the first time in a long time, the Bears have a team that’s worth keeping. Pretty much every player save a few (looking at you Mizzell) made positive contributions all season and is worth bringing back. That said, they can clearly improve at some positions and roster cuts are inevitable. But just who will those cuts be?
In this roundtable, your WCG staffers took a crack at two light offseason questions:
- Besides Cody Parkey, who’s the one current Bears player you will be surprised to see as a 2019 Chicago Bear?
- Who do you think will be the most surprising cut/trade?
Our answers are below — take a look and see what you think!
Besides Cody Parkey, who’s the one current Bears player you will be surprised to see as a 2019 Chicago Bear?
Jacob Infante: It would be incredibly baffling if Dion Sims stayed with the Bears in 2019. They would save $6 million by releasing him this offseason, and given his injury concerns and lackluster production, he’s as good as gone.
Robert Schmitz: Setting Parkey and Sims aside, I’ll be surprised if Sam Acho ends up a Bear. While some players (*cough* Sims) get cut for poor play, others get cut simply because they have the wrong contract at the wrong time. Unfortunately for Acho, the Bears’ had a phenomenal defensive season both before and after his injury. Since the Bears can save ~2 million when they cut the 30-year-old pass rusher, I expect Pace to let him go. As far as big-ticket FAs, I doubt Amos is back but that’s neither here nor there.
Erik Duerrwechter: With everything surrounding his future in recent months, I will be shocked if Dion Sims is still under contract with the Bears in 2019. He would cost over $6 million to keep next season, which is far too rich for a player who’s listed as the #3 TE in this offense, at best. He didn’t take advantage of the opportunities in the receiving game prior to his season ending concussion, nor did he really showcase the solid blocking skills that Sims was known for in Miami. He doesn’t fit this offense, and it won’t make any sense to keep him any further.
Sam Householder: Broken record answer is Dion Sims and Sam Acho. They are the most obvious cap casualties. The other name I’ll say is Taquan Mizzell. I have no idea what the coaching staff sees in him, but he has done next to nothing. His contract is really small so it’s an easy cut and I think that Ryan Pace and the scouts are going to be focused on revamping the RB room, whether it’s through a signing or the draft. For those reasons I see Mizzell gone (and I wouldn’t be shocked if Benny Cunningham were cut too).
Ken Mitchell: I can’t say that I would be surprised if Dion Sims was a Bear in 2019, because I would actually be fall-down knock-me-over shocked if he was still on the team. I would be in full-on “let’s grab the torches and pitchforks and go witch hunting at Halas Hall” kind of mad if he is brought back. Also, although I really like the guy, I would be surprised if Sam Acho is back. I wouln’t be mad about it, Sams a great guy and he can play... it would, however, surprise me.
WhiskeyRanger: Well, aside from the obvious names like Parkey and Sims, I’d probably say Michael Burton. He only appeared in 8 games (9 if you count the playoffs), and was only in on about 4.5% of offensive snaps. On top of that, he was used almost exclusively as a blocker, only receiving a single touch in 2018, a 6 yard reception all the way back in week 1. As an Unrestricted Free Agent in 2019, there is absolutely no way he’s a Chicago Bear next season. Honestly, I’m not quite sure why he was on the team THIS season. They just did not use the position.
Lester A. Wiltfong Jr.: Among the players currently under contract the most likely to be cut is Dion Sims, and I’d be shocked if he was a part of the offseason roster. I thought he’d add some value to the team since he survived a coaching change after his disappointing 2017, but he did nothing this year for Matt Nagy. I have a feeling he was just around to provide insurance in case Adam Shaheen’s development was slowed. When Shaheen was hurt in preseason the Bears had to roll with Sims and he only managed two receptions in 8 games. There’s no way the Bears are keeping him on the roster when releasing him will give them $6 million to play with.
Who do you think will be the most surprising cut/trade?
Jacob Infante: As boring as it is, I don’t see the Bears making any surprising cuts or trades this offseason. Jordan Howard would be the only notable player I realistically see them trading this offseason, but considering how long he has been the subject of trade rumors, it wouldn’t be incredibly surprising to see him gone.
Robert Schmitz: The Bears don’t have a whole lot of great options for cuts or trades. Anyone they’d want to trade is probably too valuable to move and anyone they can cut (besides Sims) is worth their current price point. The most surprising cut I could see actually happening is Long for purely money reasons. He’s pretty much the only surprise cut I can fathom right now -- I think Trevathan has played too well to get cut going into the last year of his deal.
As far as potential trades go, none of them would be all too surprising. That said, I did cook up a zany idea for y’all – if Anthony Miller comes on well in the offseason I could theoretically see a world where the Bears move Gabriel to make room for Wims. This would give us two taller possession WRs to pair with Miller and Cohen, much shiftier speed players. Obviously this trade would be pretty wacky, but it’s an idea.
Erik Duerrwaechter: I’ll be somewhat surprised if Jordan Howard is dealt in the off-season. As I said the last time this topic was approached, I can only see Howard being traded if Ryan Pace is offered a deal too good to refuse. Other than that, Matt Nagy has demonstrated his flexibility and abilities to adjust his game plans for the surrounding talent, provided that said talent is decent to begin with. I do envision the Bears bringing in a new featured back to take over on offense. I also expect Jordan Howard to at least be given a chance to compete for work in Chicago’s stable of backs.
Sam Householder: I would say though, the one that would surprise me most would be Kyle Long. I think that the team likes what he gives them when he’s healthy and that he’s enough of a locker room guy to be brought back, even with a restructure. A flat out cut would surprise me a little. The other guy that would surprise me would be Danny Trevathan. He’s still playing at a high level and I think that there is just enough of a drop off that it wouldn’t make sense to cut him.
Ken Mitchell: Bradley Sowell, largely because I just don’t see anybody else there that I do think will be cut that surprises me. Kyle Long could be cut, but I’m not thinking they well. There’s one big huge cap saving out there not named Dion Sims, and that’s Allen Robinson, but there’s no way that guy is cut because that would just be crazy and wrong and gut our offense... so... not happening. I don’t think many people really paid attention to how Ryan Pace built an out in Robinson’s contract and frontloaded the guarantees mostly in 2018... in case Robinson flamed out, not much harm done. Of course, he didn’t so it’s all good, but there’s very little dead money in that contract now “just in case things go badly”.
The only other guy I see there is Sherick McMannis if he loses a step this offseason, because he’s got some dead money and he’s going to be 32 next year... but I don’t expect that to happen either.
WhiskeyRanger: Again, aside from the obvious (Howard, which I actually don’t think will happen), I’m going with Danny Trevathan. He’s got 1 more year on his contract, and is due in the neighborhood of $7.6 million next year, so he represents a decent amount of savings for the team, and should return some fairly decent draft capital. With the emergence of Roquan Smith and a pair of young ILB also on the roster, the Bears could be tempted to trade Danny now, rather than potentially letting him walk in 2020 as an Unrestricted Free Agent (should they not extend or sign him to a new deal). Of course, this will depend on how comfortable they are depending on Nick Kwiatkoski and Joel Iyiegbuniewe, as well as the number and type of sub packages Chuck Pagano envisions calling in 2019. Danny’s played well here, so he’s probably the most surprising player I could legitimately see being traded this off-season.
Lester A. Wiltfong Jr.: I don’t think there will be any cuts or trades that surprise me. I think Long is staying and I think Howard will be traded if the return is valuable enough. This team is good, and with another year together they’ll be even better. There isn’t a glaring weakness (besides kicker) that they need money to address, so most everyone stays to try and keep Club Dub going.
Pretty much all of us agree that Sims and Acho are likely gone but aren’t particularly sure of anyone after that. The Bears don’t have more than a handful of players worth cutting, so any cuts or trades outside of Sims, Acho, or depth are likely going to come out of left field. Anything is possible with Ryan Pace, but it sure looks like the Bears’ roster won’t change much between 2018 and 2019.
Now it’s your turn. Who would you be surprised to see as a Bear in 2019? Who do you think might end up a surprising cut/trade?