The Chicago Bears made some moves when the free agency period started. They now turn to the draft to fulfill their remaining needs. Here are a few.
The Chicago Bears made some moves when the NFL’s free agency period began. They swung big to try to acquire a big name at quarterback but were rebuffed in their efforts.
Some of the moves left the fans wondering what general manager Ryan Pace’s plan is to try to improve a team that finished 8-8 in the past two seasons. There are still some holes after their free agency moves, however. They now turn to the NFL Draft to address those holes. Here are a few spots they should address in the draft.
One of the most controversial moves Pace and the Chicago Bears made was to cut cornerback Kyle Fuller. Fuller was an All-Pro player for the Bears but was due $20 million in salary this season. The Bears, constrained with cap space problems, wanted to restructure their deal with Fuller. Fuller did not so he refused any restructure. As a result, the Bears, after not finding a trade partner, decided to cut him.
That left a huge hole at the cornerback position. Earlier, the Bears cut Buster Skrine, another cornerback. They brought back Artie Burns, who missed last season because of a torn ACL. Additionally, they signed Desmond Trufant.
Trufant was the Atlanta Falcons’ first-round pick in the 2013 draft. He played in seven productive seasons in Atlanta. Last season, he signed with the Detroit Lions. He had an injury-filled season in which he missed 10 games. The Lions, starting a rebuild, decided to part ways with Trufant. The Bears picked him up and signed him to a one-year deal.
Trufant is a pretty good cornerback, but he hasn’t played a full season in four of the last five seasons. He is just a bridge to a young cornerback to take over. The Bears need to look for his replacement. He can play in a rotation, and if Trufant does get injured again, he needs to be able to take over. Perhaps they’ll go after a cornerback in the early part of the draft.
The Chicago Bears slapped the franchise tag on their top wide receiver, Allen Robinson. Even so, it isn’t a forgone conclusion that he’ll remain on the team. The Bears could still swing a deal before the draft to acquire more picks if they feel they can’t sign him to a long-term deal. Even if they keep him, though, they still need help at wide receiver.
Apart from Robinson and second-year player Darnell Mooney, the Bears are thin. Javon Wims and Anthony Miller haven’t been consistent enough for Chicago to depend on. Also, both of those receivers committed acts that got them ejected in big games against the New Orleans Saints. One or both could still find themselves out of Chicago.
Then there is Riley Ridley. The coaching staff is high on him, but when it comes to game day, he usually finds himself deactivated. The Bears need to decide if they have something in him.
That means Chicago has to find a receiver in the draft. Some experts say that if the Bears don’t go after a quarterback in the first round they might go after a wide receiver. They need to pick up a receiver who can be a number one in case Robinson walks away after the season. That is if he even plays in Chicago this season.
Yes, the offensive line took a beating last year. Some of the linemen struggled and others dealt with injuries and the COVID virus. At the end of the season, however, the line played well. David Montgomery eclipsed the 1,00-yard mark. That was big, considering he had games in which he gained 27,29, and 30 yards.
The coaching staff found a good combination that made the interior of the line a strength. That tackle situation is a different story. Right tackle Bobby Massie missed eight games last season due to an injured leg. He was active the last few games, though. The team decided to stay with Germain Ifedi, who started the season at right guard, at right tackle. After the season, the Bears decided to cut ties with Massie and continue with Ifedi after they re-signed him.
Left tackle Charles Leno didn’t have any injuries but he struggled in pass protection and committing penalties. He is on the last year of his contract so he likely doesn’t find himself in Chicago next season.
The Bears need to find tackle prospects in the draft. They can draft one early if they want and have him compete for the left tackle position. Even if the prospect doesn’t win the position, he’ll be able to take over in 2022 for Leno.
With Gipson still unsigned, the Bears need to find a replacement. Bush is a good backup but he hasn’t played like a starting-caliber safety. If the Bears decide to stay away from Gipson, they need to find a safety through the draft who is strong enough to step into a starting role.
This is a tough one. It seems like the Chicago Bears have been searching for their franchise quarterback for their entire 101 seasons in the league. They allowed Mitchell Trubisky, the second overall pick in the 2017 draft, to walk away after years of struggle.
As I mentioned earlier, the Bears, specifically general manager Ryan Pace, swung for the fences to acquire one of the top quarterbacks in the league, Russell Wilson. The Seattle Seahawks, however, rejected the Bears’ huge deal. That left the Bears settling on securing Andy Dalton.
Dalton isn’t a bad quarterback, but he isn’t Wilson and he isn’t in Chicago for the long haul. The Bears still need to find a quarterback to replace him. Some people feel the Bears and Seahawks could still revisit a trade for Wilson. That is not a likely outcome, however.
The Bears could make a deal to move up into the top ten of the draft in order to pick up one of the top five quarterback prospects, but would they leverage their future on a prospect? Doing so for Wilson is a better move.
The Bears could then look to the second or third round to find a project. Dalton can help Pace do something that Mike Glennon couldn’t in 2017. Dalton can play the entire season and keep the prospect on the bench so he could learn. Glennon was so bad in 2017 that he only lasted four games before Trubisky had to step in. Trubisky didn’t have the advantage of sitting and learning.
These should be the positions the Chicago Bears should look to improve through this year’s draft. If they do so, then they can surprise many and have a strong 2021 season.