Keep or Sweep Offense
For eight NFL teams, the hope is that the offseason is several weeks away. But for teams like the Chicago Bears, the time to watch the tape and evaluate each of their player’s performance has come. From there, decisions on whether to “keep” or “sweep” each player must be made by the start of the 2018 league season on March 14th.
Compared to seasons past, the Bears are building up a nice nucleus of players who they can build with and around. Offensively, the nucleus consists of quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, running backs Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen, tight end Adam Shaheen, and linemen Charles Leno, Cody Whitehair, and Kyle Long.
However, There are plenty of young players who will get a shot to compete for roster spots in training camp. However, a decision will need to be made on whether or not to bring back pending free agents and to evaluate the value of veteran players against the cost of their salary cap hits.
Mike Glennon- We’ll start this off with a no-brainer. The decision is to pay Glennon $16 million next year to be a backup or incur a four and a half million cap hit to make him go away. Verdict: SWEEP
Mark Sanchez- An unrestricted free-agent after the season, Sanchez is a 31 year old former starter that has been a positive influence on Trubisky and Dak Prescott before him. Sanchez also has a year of experience in an Andy Reid offense, the same as new head coach, Matt Nagy. Verdict: KEEP
Benny Cunningham- an unrestricted free agent, he was the team’s third-down back and a primary special teamer. Good guy to have around, for barely over the league minimum. Verdict: KEEP
Markus Wheaton- Another no-brainer, Wheaton had 3 catches to match his 3 different injuries. He made out this year, earning 1.75 million for each reception. Verdict: SWEEP
Cameron Meredith- a restricted free agent, Meredith is a no-brainer to bring back. Only question is which tender to give after he missed all of 2017 with a knee injury. The Bears should use the second round tender to get a high pick back if another team wants to overpay him, but either way, he’ll be given a shot to build off a promising 2016 season. Verdict: KEEP
Kevin White- Most Bears fans have probably had enough of the former seventh overall pick, but there’s no reason to cut him. Bears owe him 5.27 million either way. They might as well try to get something out of him. Verdict: KEEP
Joshua Bellamy- While most Bears fans despise Bellamy, he’s a decent guy to have around. But if he’s more than a fifth or sixth receiver, like he’s been the last two years, it’s not an ideal situation. He’s an unrestricted free agent after the season. Depending on how much speed is added, he could have a role as a field stretcher on a one or two year deal. Verdict: KEEP
Dontrelle Inman- Bears acquired Inman for free after he fell two catches short of the 25 required for the Chargers to get the Bears seventh-round pick. He is an unrestricted free agent who, after a strong start to his Bears career, was plagued by drops and inconsistency to get open. Verdict: SWEEP
Kendall Wright- The team’s leading receiver this year, Wright did an admirable job giving Trubisky an adequate target on third down. However, he is replaceable. The Bears probably need to acquire at least one wide receiver from outside the organization and draft another high. With Meredith and White (when healthy) filling out the top four WR spots, the bottom of the depth chart needs to be special teams players, Wright is not. Verdict: SWEEP
Dion Sims- He’s a big target TE, who’s not a very good receiver. He’s a blocking TE, who’s not very good at blocking. Still only 26, but Ryan Pace gave him a contract with an out after 2017. He uses it and gets over five million back toward the cap. Verdict: SWEEP
Josh Sitton- A lot of people that cover the Bears expect Sitton to be cut. He has an $8.5 million cap hit as a 31-year old with a recent injury history. While getting most of that back by cutting him would be nice, Sitton can still play when healthy. With Kyle Long’s health uncertainty, you’re either going to have to pay close to that cap hit amount to replace Sitton with an adequate guard (or center if you move Whitehair) or use a high draft pick on the position, pushing down needs at other positions. Verdict: KEEP
Bobby Massie- This is another player most expect cut. But Massie has been reliable health-wise and solid as a blocker. I don’t love him as a player, but tackle play around the league is horrid. He has a six million dollar cap hit, and the Bears save all but $500,000 if he’s cut. Again, probably have to spend more to replace him with equal or better talent. Verdict: KEEP
Hroniss Grasu- Grasu was part of Pace’s initial draft as a general manager. He will likely be the third from the 2015 class to be cut. Under contract without much of a cap hit or relief from cutting him, Grasu just simply isn’t good enough. And with Long and Sitton’s potential to miss games next year, better depth interior is necessary. Verdict: SWEEP
Tom Compton/Bradley Sowell/Eric Kush- The first two are unrestricted free agents who are decent backups, but are tackles by trade. Better interior depth should be a point of emphasis this offseason, so they aren’t playing guys out of position and moving Whitehair all over the place. Kush is under contract for next year and among the interior depth options. Verdicts: SWEEP, SWEEP, KEEP