Part II: There Are Always Casualties and Surprises
The Chicago Bears have eight Pro Bowl selections (seven participants). Khalil Mack has officially withdrawn due to a minor knee injury. This roster is in great shape but every great team improves annually. In this week’s edition, we examine the possibilities of additional casualties and prepare for the first-round of Free Agency (FA).
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) January 24, 2019
The Super Bowl window is officially open. Bears core players are signed and ready to ‘Ride or Die.’ We previously mentioned two main areas of need; the run game and special teams. No, this is not another opportunity to demonstrate how Jordan Howard doesn’t fit the offense or vilify Cody Parkey. There are more needs according to our last installment.
Howard remains on his rookie contract, only a trade that brings draft capital in return makes sense. Cutting Parkey would net a loss of $1,125,000 according to Spotrac.com. This is feasible and given his short off-season shenanigans, inevitable. Here’s a look at potential gains by subtractions.
Here are my potential cap casualties (cuts): Dion Sims, Sam Acho, Taquan Mizzell, Bradley Sowell, and Kyle Long. Sims has contributed minimally over the past two seasons and would net a positive gain of $6 million. Acho is a high character player but injuries and age are getting the best of him. Mizzell is a lesser Tarik Cohen only not even close. Sowell is best known for his receiving touchdown/celebration dance but is reaching the age threshold. Long is the last of a dying breed, a player from the Phil Emery regime. He has been rife with injury and is reaching the inevitable age threshold. Bryan Witzmann made a seamless transition during his time on Injured Reserve. This brings the cap space near $30 million ($29,948,005).
Here are my potential trade bait options: (Sigh) Danny Trevathan and Jonathan Bullard. Trevathan is a tremendous leader on and off the field. He is also approaching two NFL negatives, 30-years-old and the final year of his contract. He must be worth draft capital on the open market and this would save the Bears $6.4 million. Bullard, the former third-round pick, has had multiple opportunities to shine. He has been outplayed by rookie Bilal Nichols. Roy Robertson-Harris would be a much bigger priority. A change of scenery may help his future stock. This would save an additional $820,000. This brings the cap space to just over $37 million. That number based on Spotrac.com calculations puts Chicago in the top 15 in the NFL. The addition by subtraction adds to the five Draft picks that excludes a first, second, and sixth-round selection.
Free Agent Targets
Here are my top FA targets: C.J. Mosely, Tyrann Mathieu, and Tevin Coleman. Mosely is a younger version of Trevathan and has experience in Pagano’s system. He is one of the top FA’s available, a Pro Bowl selection and should make a seamless transition. Mathieu is a Swiss Knife-style safety that can play safety and corner in nickel packages. This season Coleman, a low mileage running back, proved he can handle a lead role. He found one in his native Chicago with fellow Hoosier Howard and scat-back Cohen. His career 4.4 yards/carry and 11 receiving touchdowns could make him the perfect back (not named Kareem Hunt) in Nagy’s system.
The point of this exercise is to explore potential upgrades throughout the off-season, internally and externally. We are not the decision makers but if we watch closely we can hear the music. The music was out of tune in the final game. The new beat sounds something like this, “We can upgrade, upgrade, upgrade!” The NFL is a business and the Bears are in the business of winning. Be sure to check-in for my next segment, “Being Ryan Pace Part III.”
“It’s painful because we set our goals high, Ryan Pace recently told the Associated Press (Season’s End Address). “We’re proud of what we accomplished, but we’re not satisfied.”
Until then, stay thirsty and BEAR DOWN! JT out.