The Chicago Bears Stay the Course with Subtle Free Agency Moves
Ryan Pace is doubling down on the 2018 season. He’s keeping the majority of a 12-win Chicago Bears squad intact. The belief is this is a championship-caliber roster.
The activity at Halas Hall this offseason has been less than desirable for the average fan. A re-signing here, a minor replacement signing there, but no splashes at least nothing of the magnitude of the 2017 offseason.
Recently, Chicago re-signed backup offensive lineman Rashaad Coward, long snapper Patrick Scales, outside linebacker Aaron Lynch, and special team ace DeAndre Houston-Carson. Scales, Lynch, and Houston-Carson saw significant playing time last season while Coward remained a practice squad project.
Nothing spectacular, just another example of a smart front office fortifying a strong roster. Chicago is loaded with veterans who understand the expectations under second-year head coach Matt Nagy. The reigning Coach of the Year changed the culture of the Bears locker room beyond #clubdub. He delivered an NFC North crown and a playoff berth while raising the bar for an underachieving organization. Next season, the offense is expected to vastly improve while the star-studded defense should pick up where it left off.
The only thing of note is providing depth. That is exactly what Pace, the reigning Executive of the Year, is accomplishing. He even replaced Jordan Howard with free agent Mike Davis. Davis is considered an upgrade within this offensive scheme.
The only position of need is at kicker. It can be resolved in a number of ways without the draft. Former kicker Robbie Gould was an undrafted free agent in 2005. He actually started with New England before becoming a mainstay with the Bears. Pace already signed two rookie kickers to begin competition this Spring. Gould has yet to sign his franchise tag, wink, wink.
The Draft Is Approaching
Halas Hall has provided a response to every question mark following a disappointing playoff loss. Khalil Mack and Anthony Miller now represent the first and second picks of the 2019 draft. Proven production will always trump potential production. Chicago's general manager has a successful track record drafting in the middle and late rounds. Tarik Cohen, Eddie Jackson, and Bilal Nichols have had immediate impacts while being picked in the fourth round or later.
It is well documented that Chicago will not be on the clock until the third round in this month's NFL Draft. Every recent move has supported the selection of the “Best Player Available” regardless of the position. Chicago has created the perfect scenario to stay true to that philosophy having to eliminate any immediate needs. The organization cannot afford added risk with only five picks in this draft.
Space to Grow
The Bears have an expected 10 picks in the 2020 draft. This provides ammunition if Pace continues his trend of moving around drafts for a desirable player or acquiring more picks.
The most exciting fact of the offseason is the $15,957,498 remaining in cap space according to Spotrac.com. Theoretically, Chicago can afford to remain active through the first wave of roster cuts. The best organizations are prepared for every scenario. Pace, the youngest GM in the NFL, seems to get that entering his fifth season in the Windy City.
The recent success has this organization trending upward. There is enough excitement in the Windy City to “Trust the Process.” The 2019 NFL Draft begins Thursday, April 25.
Until then stay thirsty and BEAR DOWN! JT out.