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Ten Thoughts on the NFL and the Chicago Bears

Give these Ten Thoughts a gander, and make sure to leave a few thoughts of your own in the comment section

Chicago Bears v Detroit Lions Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

1) The Chicago Bears vs. Green Bay Packers season opener is still looking like a lock to kickoff the NFL’s 100th season from Soldier Field on Thursday, September 5, but now another high profile Bears game is rumored to be on the table.

John Ourand of Sports Business Daily is reporting that the 2019 Thanksgiving games will feature the Bears and the Detroit Lions again, with the Miami Dolphins traveling to play the Dallas Cowboys in the other traditional afternoon game.

Ourand also reports that all the network executives (CBS, ESPN, Fox, NBC) met during Super Bowl week to discuss the types of games they want from the NFL and here are a couple interesting nuggets.

The NFC slate of games are expected to be better this year, so CBS could get some ratings-grabbing NFC games cross-flexed to them.

Some of the network requests are the same every year. Every network wants reliable ratings performers like the Cowboys, Patriots, Packers and Steelers on its schedule. For this upcoming season, the networks also showed a lot of interest in the Chiefs, Bears and Rams.

The Bears have always done good ratings thanks to the Chicago market — even during the bad years — but now coming off a 12-4 record with a likable head coach and players, I’d expect the Bears to be all over prime time.

2) One more thing about that expected Bears vs. Lions matchup. After Aaron Leming tweeted his quick thought on the game, Chicago’s Taylor Gabriel responded with an “Easy W don’t worry.”

Gabriel has since deleted the tweet, but you you know the Lions are grasping for any extra motivation after getting swept in 2018.

3) One more on the Lions, their general manager Bob Quinn, on a recent Q&A with season ticket holders, didn’t rule out drafting a quarterback in the first round.

“We’re in a position now with the eighth overall pick that the whole draft board is really wide open to us. We’re not going to really eliminate any prospects.”

“There’s a few more players that are going to be available and if there’s a quarterback out there that we deem could help us this year or in the future, we’ll never close the door on that.”

If they do draft a QB, that would likely signal an end to the Matthew Stafford era. Not immediately, as cutting him this year would be $49 million in dead money, but dumping him before the 2020 season would save them $11.5 million and that could be an option for the rebuilding Lions.

4) It seems like 30-year old Antonio Brown has zero intention to go back to the Pittsburgh Steelers after Tweeting out his goodbye.

Technically, he’s still employed by the Steelers as his contract runs through the 2021 season, but realistically there’s no way they don’t trade him as soon as possible. I can’t see Pittsburgh moving him in the AFC, so my guess is he ends up with the San Francisco 49ers, but don’t rule out a desperate Green Bay Packers to make a splashy move to fit Brown in under their cap.

5) The Cleveland Browns are taking a chance on running back Kareem Hunt by signing him to a one year deal.

There’s likely a suspension looming, but once he’s able to play, he’ll definitely help the team. The Browns have second year back Nick Chubb coming off a fantastic rookie season, and they also have pass catching Duke Johnson in the mix. From a football standpoint, this three-headed tailback monster is going to be a terror on opposing defenses.

6) Speaking of a three-headed tailback monster, I think the Bears could go that route in 2019 by keeping Jordan Howard, drafting (or signing) a rookie that is more of a system fit, and letting Tarik Cohen keep lining up all over the offense.

The Bears’ running backs ran the ball 23 times a game last year, with Cohen only getting 6 carries per game. If Howard stays (and I still think the Bears would move him in the price was right), his role may be reduced with his free agency coming after 2019. The Bears could get a rookie in place to take over the Cunningham/Mizell role while learning the ropes and playing when need be.

7) And speaking of Hunt, we ran this poll on our Twitter account.

Those results were surprising considering how many voted that they wanted the Bears to take a chance and sign him. Last month we asked our Twitter, Facebook and WCG audience if they wanted the Bears to sign Hunt and the results all came back yes, with 62%, 63%, and 72% respectively.

8) Quarterback Kyler Murray, who won the Heisman Trophy after his stellar 2018 season with the Oklahoma Sooners, has finally decided to pass up the chance to play major league baseball with the Oakland A’s, leading some to speculate that he has a good idea that he’s going in the first round of the NFL Draft.

One rumor as the Arizona Cardinals as a possible suitor with the first overall pick, which would likely lead them to trade last year’s first round quarterback, Josh Rosen. This wouldn’t so much as the Cards giving up on Rosen after averaging an interception a game as a rookie, but more that new Arizona head coach Kliff Kingsbury views Murray as a better fit for his offense.

I can’t see him going first overall, nor do I think he’ll be the first QB picked, but he’s a electrifying prospect.

Some internet scouts are already knocking Murray’s 5’10” frame, but we’ve seen plenty of shorter quarterbacks find success if given a chance. Plus, with the way QBs are protected it’s even more likely a smallish player can thrive in today’s NFL.

9) I think Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins is going to be the first quarterback off the board, and any mention of Haskins requires pointing out what a dumbass Stephen A. Smith is.

10) SB Nation recently released their NFL Future Power Rankings, with the following question in mind.

Which team is the best set up to win not just in 2019, but 2020 and beyond?

And here’s how they have their top five.

  1. Indianapolis Colts
  2. Kansas City Chiefs
  3. Los Angeles Rams
  4. Chicago Bears
  5. Houston Texans

The Colts are led by veteran, but still only 29-year old, Andrew Luck at quarterback, and the other four teams have QBs that are either 23 or 24.

Here’s their specifics on the Bears.

The Bears’ roster probably isn’t going to change much this offseason. The team doesn’t have much cap space and doesn’t have a draft pick until the end of the third round. On the plus side, the roster is already damn good. Chicago went 12-4 with arguably the best defense in the NFL and an offense that finished No. 9 in points scored. That earned Matt Nagy the Coach of the Year Award in his first season as a head coach. It’ll be on Mitchell Trubisky to take the Bears over the hump in 2019 after he finished his second season 20th in the league in passing yards, 14th in passing touchdowns, and 16th in passer rating.

Sports Illustrated recently gave their picks for the Super Bowl winners for the next five years, and the Bears garnered a couple mentions from the ten writers they polled. The Bears were the only NFC North team mentioned.