Contract years always carry a much heavier weight than your average season. The prospect of hitting the open market for players always leads to fighting for that 20 million contract, proving yourself to stay on that team or even struggling to stay in the league altogether. As the dog days of the NFL offseason wear on, let’s examine the most crucial Bears going into an unrestricted free agency and what they need to accomplish to be resigned, if at all.
Kevin White, Wide Receiver
After an offseason of addressing the hole at receiver and essentially discounting any value White may still have, attempting to secure a second contract will be cartwheeling up a hill for him. Expectations have plummeted since his seventh overall selection and now it feels as if White out of Chicago is a foregone conclusion. With Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel more than likely securing the top two receiver spots, it will be a dogfight for the third spot with the rookie Anthony Miller. Who, for now, looks to be a more secure option, considering White’s injury tendency.
White has never made it out of the first four games of a season and as only seen the field five times in his career due to IR banishment. His bad luck (or lack of recovery, poor genetics, or (poor) training any way you want to look at it) has otherwise wrecked any attempt at carving out a solid career so if he wants to stick around, he has to stay healthy for an entire season. Even if he makes it out of the season alive, without sturdy contribution, there won’t be a point to resign him.
Despite the receiver needs being so glaring before this season, Ryan Pace has snagged a multitude of weapons for Trubisky over this offseason alone. With three strong receiver options above him in the depth chart and a much healthier Josh Bellamy nipping at his heels, White could very well slip into a depth piece and a precariously rocky one at that.
With no guarantees of health, it will be a gamble signing him for any length of contract and if he does come through with a surprisingly decent season, other teams could see him worth overpaying, something the Bears can’t combat. Either way, White simply needs to deliver on his first-round pedigree or he won’t be an NFL receiver for long.
Is He Worth the Resign?: Come back to me after this season
Bobby Massie, Right Tackle
Massie has an odd ability to get really hot and perform like an All-Pro for short spurts until he falls back to Earth again and underachieves mightily. He couldn’t find his stride for the first few weeks of the season and put a ton of pressure on Brian Hoyer, the starter at the time. Once Week Five, rolled around, and coincidentally when Mitchell Trubisky got the start, he finally settled in. He ironed out some of the inconsistencies and had his moments.
Since Pace didn’t pull the trigger on a tackle in this offseason, it’s fair to say the Bears will be rolling with Massie as the starter this season. Which, so long as he plays consistently enough, should also receive another contract offer. If Pace spots a young tackle in the draft that tickles his fancy, Massie may still be worth to have around to replace the far inferior Charles Leno Jr. or serve as depth. And if the reliable starter comes through for an entire year, then he will undoubtedly earn another few years in a Bears jersey.
Is He Worth the Resign: Probably.
Hroniss Grasu, Center
The former Oregon center flashed his starting potential, however, a multitude of injuries over the course of his career all but derailed those hopes. He tore his ACL in training camp pre-sophomore season and he has only appeared in fourteen games in his time with the Bears. While he could play a key role in the depth of the offensive line, especially considering the sheer number of bodies lost over the past couple of season, it seems as the draft says otherwise.
Nabbing James Daniels in the second round effectively negates the need for Grasu. Factor in the recovery of stalwarts Cody Whitehair and Kyle Long and the interior offensive line looks to be set. Depending on the injury count this season, holding onto Grasu may not be a bad depth move if he doesn’t charge enough interest elsewhere. As a young, solid offensive lineman, other teams will be lining up to offer him much more money than the Bears would be comfortable with. Without unlimited funds, Grasu simply won’t be worth the money come free agency.
Is He Worth the Resign?: No
Eddie Goldman, Defensive Tackle
Goldman steadily has been rising in the past few seasons, barring his sophomore year cut short due to an ankle injury. He had a career-high 44 tackles and while his sack numbers were on the low, hopes of being a great pass rushing nose look to be intact. A genuine defensive anchor, the former second-rounder has been a centerpiece for the up-and-coming defense.
Goldman is willing to do the dirty and has been for the entirety of his three-year career. With reports bubbling around that the Bears aim for a multi-year extension, there is very little doubt Goldman will be a Bear for a very long time.
Is He Worth the Resign: Yes
Adrian Amos, Safety
Amos quietly developed into one of the most important cogs in the defense this past season, racking up career highs in tackles, forced fumbles, and interceptions. He even earned Pro Football Focus First-Team All-Pro honors in the process. Merely waiting for that breakout year, Amos will be a massive x-factor this season. In only ten games in which he started this season, he put up 69 combined tackles and two forced fumbles. It will be intriguing to see what he could pull off with a full season.
Staying healthy will be of paramount importance as he did miss three games with a hamstring late in the year, however, his production looks to surge this season. With the entire defense primed to take another step forward and only hitting his stride at the age of 25, Amos will improve mightily this season. His price tag more than likely won’t come cheap and so long as he proves himself both healthy and consistent, he will be worth to keep around.
Is He Worth the Resign?: Yes
Pat O’Donnell, Punter
Coming off a career year, he punted for over 4000 yards for the first time in his career and his 47.0 yards put the Bears in the top ten for punting averages in the league. Punters usually come a dime a dozen but a great punter is a rare find, meaning O’Donnell will undoubtedly be returning for many more years in Chicago.
Is He Worth the Resign?: Yes