As the league’s showcase game fades into the night after an exciting game from start to finish Bears fans should keep an eye on some of the players performing in this game on both squads in the offseason. Some of them may end up on the Bears roster for the 2018 season. There are some connections between the Eagles and Bears franchises too. Matt Nagy through Doug Pederson who both coached on the same offensive staff in Kansas City and Philadelphia prior. So on that side of the ball system familiarity should be a bonus on top of the talent they would bring to the Bears roster. I’ll highlight only one offensive player though they can certainly pick up more on that side of the ball should they choose.
This, of course, does not exclude Free Agents from the other roster either as they will have some interesting talent hit the market themselves. Particularly on the defensive side of the ball which I’ll get into.
Philadelphia Eagles Targets:
A.) Trey Burton-Tight End: Yes, the guy who threw the 4th and goal Touchdown to Nick Foles. Burton is basically an extra split end on the field. Very fast, agile and quick. He’s the size of one too. He started out playing H-back, so he can play a Zach Miller type role. Miller wasn’t considered a good blocker when he first arrived with the Bears as a free agent but he worked himself into a very good blocker. Especially in the run game. Burton is much smaller than Miller. Burton comes in at 6’2 235 lbs. Miller is 6’5″ 250 so as you’d expect he isn’t going to be protecting Trubisky’s blindside one on one. Come to think of neither did Miller.
No folks this is your typical move Tight End. Think Aaron Hernandez with the Patriots, Julius Thomas with the Broncos, Dallas Clark with the Colts, Vernon Davis with the Niners. Put that together with Adam “Baby Gronk” Shaheen and the Bears can recreate a lot of the same two Tight End concepts the Patriots used when pairing those two together. With a creative offensive coaching staff aboard you know they won’t be shy about running a ton of those route concepts. He doesn’t provide a big catch radius so you can leave the 50/50 balls to Shaheen or an X (split end) of your choice, but with soft hands, fluid hips, and cat-like quickness he should make a nice safety net that can get big chunks for Trubisky. Bonus, He’s a terrific special teams player too and only 26 years old.
B.) Patrick Robison-Cornerback: Robinson is likely trying to cash in on his final multi-year deal of his career. At 30 he’s not old, but he’s not a young pup either. Robinson brings the gift of ball skills with him. He’d make an excellent slot corner. Very smart with great quickness and leaping ability. He’s not a blazer but has more than enough speed to keep up with the slot receivers around the league. Had 4 Interceptions this past season and those kinds of ball skills are desperately needed for the Bears secondary. Put him in the middle of the defense with Fuller, Amukamara or a free agent or high draft pick on the outside and watch the interceptions come. He won’t kill the cap as spotrac.com currently has his market value at around 7 million per season.
New England Patriots Targets:
Malcom Butler – Cornerback: On the hoof, Butler doesn’t seem like much but he is very productive. His ball skills are his biggest asset. He has sticky fingers. Physically he’s a best fit covering slot receivers as a nickel corner. He’d be a costly nickel corner, however, as his current estimated market value per Spotrac.com is 11 Mil. a year. He has been playing on the outside and at a pro bowl level, but I do think a team with a bunch of big receiving targets could exploit him without him needing help over the top. You have to wonder how much of it is Belichick’s genius or Butler’s skills. I think it’s pretty obvious after being benched the entire game that Butler will make the open market. I think this would be a great signing and reward for Fangio deciding to re-up with the Bears.
Danny Amendola – Slot Receiver: One of the best slot receivers in football. Like Butler, he’s not going to thrill you with his physical appearance or jump off the page athleticism. But he get’s open. That’s the key. As a safety net for a young Quarterback like Mitch Trubisky, it has to be a comfort knowing that no matter what happens in your progressions you know this guy will be in the right place at the right time if you need him and likely open. Had himself an excellent Superbowl too where he showed off his ability to get open and in a lot of cases wide open. The Patriots do have a way of taking non-descript talent and making it work in spectacular fashion. So there is that fear with him, but he has been productive wherever he’s been. He sure would come at a less cost than Jarvis Landry would should the Bears decide to part ways with Kendall Wright.