The Chicago Bears recently made two signings at positions many felt were areas of need. Do those signings signal a change in their draft approach?
The Chicago Bears are not standing pat with the NFL Draft quickly approaching. They signed two players in the past several days. The players signed were wide receiver Marquise Goodwin and safety Tashaun Gipson.
Gipson was a re-signing for the Bears. He played in Chicago in 2020 and had a pretty good season. He had 66 tackles, 7 passes defended, 2 interceptions, and a fumble recovery. The Bears allowed him to hit free agency and then come back to try to sign a new deal. That’s exactly what happened and now he’s back in the fold.
Goodwin hasn’t caught a pass since Week 10 of the 2019 season. He suffered an injury and the San Francisco 49ers placed him on injured reserve. Last year he opted out of the season due to COVID virus concerns.
Both of these signings involved positions that were areas of need for the Bears. Aside from Allen Robinson and Darnell Mooney, the Bears don’t have much help at wide receiver. As for Gipson, he was the starting strong safety and Deon Bush isn’t more than a backup player.
So did these moves change what the Bears do in the upcoming draft on April 29th? Here are possible scenarios now available with these signings?
Is the Miller era done?
There are plenty of reports saying the Bears are actively shopping Anthony Miller. Miller had a productive rookie season but has been a disappointment since. He is too inconsistent, coming up big in some games only to disappear in way too many others. The coaching staff also had some misgivings about his maturity. Those concerns came to the forefront in last year’s playoff game against the New Orleans Saints when referees ejected Miller for throwing a punch at a player (who will remain nameless). The offense was already undermanned because of Mooney’s injury from the week before.
That ejection likely was the final straw and now both parties must part ways.
The signing of Goodwin probably signals the end of the MIller era in Chicago than a change in draft moves. Even if the Bears kept Miller, they still needed to find a wide receiver or even two. They have Allen Robinson signed on a franchise tag. Re-signing him on a multi-year deal seems doubtful. Robinson is a big part of the offense so the Bears need a replacement. That player could help in a rotation in his first season and get accustomed to the NFL world before stepping up when or if Robinson leaves.
Goodwin could step right into Miller’s spot. He can be a good number three receiver. He could utilize his elite speed to break defenses. Adding his speed (4.27-40) combined with Mooney’s (4.38-40) gives the Bears the speed they lacked for years. Goodwin and Mooney can open the field for someone like Robinson to make the catches underneath and make big plays without having so many defenders hanging on him.
The signing of Goodwin is more of a confirmation that Miller is gone. It likely won’t change the Bears’ draft approach at wide receiver.
Are the Bears set at safety?
The re-signing of Gipson could signal a change in what the Bears do at safety. Earlier in the offseason, the Bears also re-signed Bush and DeAndre Houston-Carson. They also have Jordan Lucas so bringing Gipson back finishes what they do at safety. Yes, Gipson is back on only a one-year deal. The thing is that teams value strong safeties less than most other positions. There are a lot of good safeties who expected big contracts but who ended up signing for much less money and fewer years. The Bears could go out next year and try to find another safety if they need to.
The Bears likely don’t draft a safety in this year’s draft. They have their rotation set and they can go out and take care of other areas of need.
Do the Bears make a splashy trade?
Another scenario that could happen is that the Chicago Bears make a big, splashy trade in the draft. There is no secret that Chicago is desperate for another quarterback. There are reports that have them talking to the Atlanta Falcons for their fourth overall pick or with the Dallas Cowboys for their tenth overall pick. If they get one of those picks, they can go after one of the top five quarterback prospects in the draft.
In Andy Dalton, the Bears have the perfect quarterback bridge. He’ll play a solid, but not extraordinary game, making some plays to win some games but not enough to be a franchise quarterback. He’ll do enough on the field to allow whatever quarterback prospect they acquire to sit for a season. Then that prospect takes over in 2022. That’s how it worked for the Kansas City Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes. The Bears envisioned that for Mitch Trubisky when they also had Mike Glennon. The problem was that Glennon was so awful the coaches threw that plan out the window.
If the Bears make that big trade to move up, they’ll have to give up multiple picks. In addition to the first-round swap, they’ll also have to give up another pick or two in this year’s draft. That constricts what they do this year. By signing Goodwin and Gipson, they already have two players and the trade of the other picks won’t hurt as much.
It will be an interesting draft weekend and the Chicago Bears might be in the middle of some blockbuster moves. At the very least, seeing them involved in the first round is a great thing.
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