The Bears did not make a big splash when the free agency legal tampering began yesterday but that is more encouraging than disappointing. It means the Bears aren’t desperate as in years past to put quality talent on the field that were vacant due to years of poor drafting and development. Just the opposite.
The Bears have done so well drafting and developing as well as in college free agency and the mid-level veteran free agent market they do not need to go get developed expensive players coming off their rookie deals. This is what’s known as progress.
They did however, sign a couple capable players in Mike Davis and Buster Shrine. Both moves pretty much told you Adrian Amos and Bryce Callahan have worn the navy blue and orange for the last time. Moves that help the Bears in the draft as they won’t overreach to fill two of three of their biggest needs. The other being Kicker.
With Amos getting a reported $11 million by the Packers and Callahan estimated to get around 6.3 million I didn’t see the Bears blowing two thirds of their available cap space on a Strong Safety and an oft injured Nickel Back. Those are traditionally two positions that can be stocked up on in the latter portions of the the draft. Ironically, both Callahan and Amos are an example of that as Amos was picked in the fifth round and Callahan was a college free agent. With this coming draft class loaded with depth in the secondary it’s a good bet the Bears will be drafting their replacements in this upcoming draft.
That also includes the running back spot in spite of signing Davis. Davis, while a young player with a higher ceiling to reach that has not yet been reached is not going to prohibit the Bears from drafting a running back. In the same respect Skrine won’t stop the Bears from drafting another cornerback.
In Davis, the Bears have themselves a young veteran who comes to town as a prospect of sorts. While he has not put up great numbers he does have a lot of tools in his tool box a coach like Nagy can exploit. Davis is a versatile Running Back who can run for power (5’9″ 225), and has enough wiggle (7.00 3-cone/4.16 SS), and speed (4.61 40) to get missed tackles (15 forced missed tackles in 2018) in the open field and get explosive runs (13 ten plus yard runs out of 113 carries). He can also block in pass pro and catch the ball. PFF has him graded 75.0 overall, 75.2 as a runner, 68.7 as a pass receiver, 57.9 as a pass blocker and 71.1 as a run blocker.
Shrine has had a mixed results career thus far. While doing some great things in the league he does have the most penalties (74) as any player in the league since 2011 his rookie season. He also is an excellent Blitzer as is Callahan albeit as a much higher paid player than Skrine. On 25 blitzes Skrine amassed 8 pressures and a sack with 2 hits and 5 hurries. This way the Bears can save money on the cap while maintaining that type of blitz production from the slot position. This tells me Skrine may be more of a situational piece as opposed to full time Nickel Back.
There is also the benefit of receiving compensatory picks when you lose your own to free agency. Something the Bears need to make a part of their annual business plans as they have the longest running streak in the NFL of teams who have gone without having one going on year 10. By letting high price vets leave via Free agency and replacing them with mid to late picks teams can be cap responsible. Time for the Bears to use this valuable resource to do just that. Currently, the Bears are -1 on free agents which means they are eligible to get a comp pick in 2020. The value of the pick will be determined by the seasons of their lost free agents and the ones that they signed. Of course, none of this is official but there is no way the Bears sign Amos &/or Callahan at this point.
Someone who did reportedly leave the Bears is one of the most beloved members in the Bears locker room former team captain and special teams ace Joshua Bellamy. That leaves a big hole needing to be filled on special teams and at their WR4 spot. A guy I would love to see the Bears target and sign is Cordarelle Patterson. A player that was linked to the Bears on this tweet by Alex Marvel of the Sporting News.
Not sure if out there but source tells @sn_nfl that @ChicagoBears expected to make push to sign @Vikings UFA WR @ceeflashpee84
Patterson would be a nice little versatile weapon for Matt Nagy to have fun with while Chris Tabor finally gets his ace kickoff returner. Patterson is also a very good blocker and will contribute in the run game and in the screen game as well.
As a weapon he can run it out of the backfield, on jet sweeps, catching screens, as well as downfield. A dangerous man in the open field with a full head of steam where he can use his speed, quick cutting ability and size to break arm tackles. He also should come at a cap friendly price as he got a one year three million dollar deal last season from the Patriots.