For this latest round table topic, we asked our staffers to take the entire Chicago Bears offseason into consideration. We’re talking about free agency, the draft, the UDFAs, the coaching changes, the trades, and the players they released.
On a scale of 1-5, how pleased are you with the Bears offseason additions/subtractions (including coaching)?
Before you guys share your take on Chicago’s offseason moves, check out what our team had to say.
I would have to give it a 4. I’m a really big fan of the coaches they brought in this offseason, as I feel an offensive overhaul was absolutely necessary. They had some questionable moves here and there, but overall I feel that they improved their roster with their decisions in the draft and free agency. Realistically, the only position in the starting lineup I would say they really downgraded at was safety; they arguably got better at quarterback, tight end, right guard - Ifedi is better than Rashaad Coward or a broken Kyle Long - and edge rusher.
EDITOR: Jacob gave his answer before the Bears signed Tashaun Gipson.
3. I think the Bears have made moves that will improve deficiencies on offense (Foles and Ifedi as players along with Lazor, Castillo, DeFilippo, and Barone as coaches on offense) and defense (Quinn). I understand their thinking in adding Jimmy Graham, but I don’t agree with it.
As for the draft they definitely got players that I believe will play solid roles for the team (Kmet, Johnson, Mooney) and guys that may develop into larger contributors over time (Gipson, Vildor, Hambright, and Simmons). As always the jury on this class is out for the next 2-3 seasons.
I’d say a three. There were no moves that I was jumping up and down for or running around the house excited about, but sometimes the measured, solid, not-so-splashy moves end up being the best ones.
How about 3.5? I don’t think Pace hit a home run, although it isn’t all his fault (some players just didn’t become available), but they did a nice job overhauling the coaching staff, improved in a couple of key spots, and brought back players they really needed to keep. They did overpay for Jimmy Graham, didn’t really address right guard with much gusto and still have a hole at safety, so by no means is this north of a 4 on the scale.
Four. We have upgraded or stayed even on all positions except strong safety (Ifedi is better than Coward at RG... not good enough, but better than Coward), and there’s still time to fix that. I would have liked to see a young QB in there as a QB4, and I would have liked it to be Jake Fromm, but it is what it is. Coaching changes were necessary.
EDITOR: Ken gave his answer before the Bears signed Tashaun Gipson.
Three. The Bears clearly improved this off-season. They’re better at tight end, on the edge, with cornerback depth, and yes, technically, at quarterback. But they have yet to address their offensive line issues, which date back to their humiliating playoff defeat to the Eagles. If Harry Hiestand was originally supposed to be the offensive line savior, why would that make Juan Castillo any more competent when Hiestand is objectively a better coach? The issue isn’t coaching, it’s talent. Aside from Germain Ifedi and the development of Rashaad Coward, this is the same front that was bullied for 60 minutes by a Wild Card team. The talent hasn’t changed. This is the same middling group that leaves me doubting the Bears improve much from a .500 record last season after seeing how much other rising squads have improved (like the Cardinals, for one).
It appears to me that the Bears put a lot of their offensive issues on two factors last year.
1. Quarterback play.
2. Offensive coaching staff.
While I understand they didn’t have a lot of resources to fully address all of their needs, I have still found myself a little confused with their free agent approach. I think some areas of their roster have improved, while others have not but I do think overall they’ve improved and/or added competition where it matters most. Let’s just put it this way- I don’t see a big gap between them, the Packers and the Vikings.
Erik Christopher Duerrwaechter
I’m at a 4 right now. Outside of hiring Bill Lazor instead of my personal favorite choice in Marty Morhninweg as their new clipboard holder/offensive coordinator, and the lack of a concrete answer at RG, I think the Bears did everything they needed to do to get better.
Lester A. Wiltfong Jr.
With the benefit of giving my answer right before publishing, I’m able to factor in the Gipson and Ted Ginn Jr. signings, so I’ll go with a 3.9.
Like Bill I can’t quite boost them to the 4 level, but I think Graham will prove to be a better signing at the U tight end spot than most think, and I also like how the Y tight end spot shapes up with Demetrius Harris and the rookie Kmet. At the very least Foles wil be a steadying hand at quarterback, and I think the new offensive coaches will be a boost to the scheme and play calling. The offensive line will benefit if the offense is run more efficiently.
Both Quinn and Gipson will help the defense and I’m excited to see how Jaylon Johnson factors in at corner.
Now it’s your turn... 1 through 5, what’s your rating for the Bears’ offseason?