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Bears mailbag: Hope for Robbie Gould, drafting a running back and Aaron Rodgers’ rough week

The draft is getting closer and the draft visits are ramping up. Draft questions and more as the offseason continues to drag along.

Chicago Bears vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers - November 27, 2005 Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

The 2019 NFL Draft is just 15 days away and while the Chicago Bears may not be slated to pick on the first night, that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of draft questions. While the main focus is on running backs, the Bears still have five picks and will look to add more to their already deep roster.

On top of that, news surfaced on Tuesday that the 49ers could be having issues coming to a long-term pact with kicker Robbie Gould, possibly leaving a slim chance that he returns to Chicago.

We’ll address all of that and more in this week’s mailbag.

I’m glad you asked.

I actually put out a piece yesterday highlighting exactly who I think would be ideal and realistic fits for the Bears in this draft class. To keep it simple, here are my top five names.

  • Miles Sanders (Penn State)
  • Trayveon Williams (Texas A&M)
  • Damien Harris (Alabama)
  • Justice Hill (Oklahoma State)
  • David Montgomery (Iowa State)

In short, I feel like the Bears would have to trade up for Sanders or Montgomery. Sanders is the most ideal fit because of how well-rounded he is. Montgomery lacks explosion at the second level, but is also very well-rounded and is one of the more overlooked fits in this class.

Williams, Harris and Hill are all likely to be around when the Bears pick and all make a lot of sense as well.

It’s worth noting that the Bears have met multiple times with Sanders and Williams. Those meetings include top 30 visits and they’ve also worked out Sanders. All in all, the team has spent eight of their top 30 visits on running backs and met with 15 overall. It’s pretty clear they plan to not only draft one, but likely draft one somewhat early.

Earlier Tuesday, it was reported by NBC Sports Bay Area that the 49ers were interested in kicker Stephen Gostkowski. Since that point, the Patriots re-signed him to a two-year, $8.5 million deal.

Normally, I’d say that probably kills any chance at Gould being dealt, but I’m not sure that’s quite the case yet. Here’s what we know:

  • Gould was not happy with the tag because he wanted a long-term deal, so he could move his family wherever he landed.
  • Gould has been very vocal about his love for the Bears and the city of Chicago.
  • General manager John Lynch said at the scouting combine that the team & the kicker’s camp were far apart and talks had all but died.

With all of that in mind, I’d say that it’s no guarantee that Gould will actually sign his tag or do it any time soon. My guess is that for the right price (no clue what that would be), Lynch would be open to dealing him. I would assume that would need to be before or during the draft, so he could find a suitable replacement.

I’m not sure that Bears general manager Ryan Pace is going to abandon his current kicking competition, to trade a draft pick for a 36-year-old kicker. It would likely have to be for a low round pick and maybe even a 2020 pick but even then, you’re talking about trading a pick, screwing a few tryout players out of a real chance to make the roster and paying Gould around $4-4.5 million per year.

I’d say that all in all, the chances of a Gould reunion remain low, unless the 49ers rescind their current franchise tag on him.

Admittedly so, the deeper I dove into this 2019 running back class, the less impressed I was. I’m not going to say it’s a weak class, but I do think it’s a middle-heavy class, with a lot of questions in it.

As head coach Matt Nagy talked about a few weeks back, it’s all about fit. Both for the team and these prospects. Not a lot of these prospects are good at everything and none of them (on paper) are elite talents. For me personally, I don’t have one first round grade, but I have 12 graded in the first four rounds and a total of 14 graded in rounds four through five.

It’s going to be about how strong Pace’s and Nagy’s evaluations are of this class, especially when it comes to fit. The good news? They aren’t looking for a three-down back or a bell cow. That will help.

Even so, I don’t think it would make much sense to bypass this class all together and wait for next year’s. You simply have to trust your evaluations if your Pace and not overdraft, even if that means not taking one until the fourth or fifth round.

Also remember, even if they draft one in a few weeks, it doesn’t mean they can’t spend a higher pick on one next year if one of Mike Davis or their pending draft pick don’t work out.

“It sounds to me like Rogers is making excuses about last year. Kind of odd he comes out with this story after all the stories about how huge egos destroyed the Packers. If he was that injured why continue to play especially after they were out of it? Sounds like excuses to me, what are your thoughts.” - Jerry Sternadel (via email)

As most Bears fans are aware by now, Aaron Rodgers made headlines last week. Tyler Dunne wrote an excellent article detailing the fallout between the quarterback and his former head coach, Mike McCarthy.

The premise of the piece was based on Rodgers’ reported ego and disdain for McCarthy. It’s excellent and I would suggest taking about 20 minutes out of your day to read it if you already haven’t.

Since that point, Rodgers has come out and somewhat refuted most of the information in the article. The problem? The sources came from within the Packers’ organization whether it was scouts or former players (some of which attached their names to it). Also, when Rodgers spoke about it, he didn’t exactly deny a lot of the information. He simply discredit Dunne and the outspoken sources in former tight end Jermichael Finley and receiver Greg Jennings.

Since then, he has also come out and said that he played last year on a broken leg and sprained knee. Both of which were sustained on Roy Robertson-Harris’ sack that came in their Week 1 matchup.

Now, I’m not going to say Rodgers was making excuses because I don’t believe that he was. I felt for most of the year that whatever happened on that play that caused Rodgers to miss close to a quarter in the season opener, hampered him for most of the season.

What I do think it brings in question is the quarterback’s overall durability. This was the second year in a row in which he had a serious injury. Yes, he played all 16 games, but the year before he missed the majority of the year with a broken collarbone. At 35-years-old, you have to wonder if his body is breaking down after years of abuse.

What is even more interesting is that the team just extending him and they can’t really get out from underneath his contract until the 2022 off-season. If Rodgers continues to break down and can’t stay healthy, this perceived Packers new-found “window” could close before it even opens. I would also question how well a fit between a young offensive-minded head coach with no NFL head coaching experience and a strong-willed quarterback like Rodgers will work out.

Only time will tell, but I’d say there are more questions now than there was when the offseason first started in regards to the Packers.