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The best and worst free agent signings of the Ryan Pace era

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Bears Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

With NFL free agency looming, ESPN recently ran down the best and worst free agent signings of every team from the last five years. That five-year window just happens to be the current tenure of Chicago Bears’ general manager Ryan Pace, so let’s take a trip down memory lane with ESPN Bears’ beat reporter, Jeff Dickerson.

Best free-agent signing: WR Allen Robinson II. He already outperformed the three-year, $42 million deal he signed with Chicago. Robinson led the Bears with 98 catches for 1,147 yards and seven touchdowns last year — quite an accomplishment on a team that ranked 29th in total offense and 25th in passing offense. Robinson also posted decent numbers in 2018 (55-754-4) while still recovering from the nasty knee injury he suffered in Jacksonville. Robinson seems a logical candidate to receive an extension from the Bears in the near future.

There’s no doubt that Allen Robinson has been a fantastic signing, and once he has his contract extended (Seriously, what’s the holdup?) he’ll continue his climb up Chicago’s record books. But when looking over Pace’s free agent acquisitions for his best one, I have to go back to 2015 and defensive lineman Akiem Hicks.

Hicks isn’t Pace’s only free agent that has been named to a Pro Bowl (Can you name the other 2?), but he’s played at a high level longer than any other signee.

Worst free-agent signing: QB Mike Glennon. Yikes. The Bears paid Glennon $18.5 million for four starts in 2017. Chicago intended for Glennon to start the entire year so the club could groom second overall pick Mitchell Trubisky. The plan completely backfired. Everyone lost, except Glennon, who walked away with a small fortune courtesy of the Bears.

Even before the Bears drafted Mitchell Trubisky several weeks after signing Glennon, I always pegged him as a smokescreen. I thought it was for Deshaun Watson, but that’s besides the point. It would have been nice for Glennon to play adequate enough to at least give the Bears one year, but we all know how that story played out.

For as bad as Glennon was he didn’t really cost the Bears any meaningful games, as the Bears were still a bad football team during his brief stay in Chicago. And it’s that reason I have to pick Cody Parkey for worst free agent signing in the last five years.

To be fair, I liked the signing when the Bears got him on a 4 year, $15 million deal. He was coming off a decent year and was the top kicker on the market, but we all remember how his lone season in Chicago played out.