The Bears will be starting the season off March 9th at 4:00 PM ET, but the tampering starts today. I’ve decided to go through my idea of a Bears offseason mock, starting from releases all the way up to the first three rounds of the draft.
- Jay Cutler: This is a big cap-saving move. Since his production hasn’t lived close to his actual pay, saving $13 million in cap will be huge for signing a big-name free agent. Jay Cutler, in my opinion, will easily find another team since the NFL is filled up with sub-par quarterbacks. He’s had his highlight moments, but they’ve been rare. Not to mention, he has been brutally bad against division rivals like the Packers, which doesn’t cut it.
- Eddie Royal: Not much can be said about his tenure in Chicago, since he really hasn’t had one. Two injury-riddled seasons and sparks of what he could be aren’t enough to give this guy another $3-5 million. I believe Royal is a must-cut.
- Lamarr Houston: Houston is in the same boat as Royal: he just can’t stay healthy. Plus, with the building of Leonard Floyd and the draft depth of this year’s edge class, I can see the Bears going for someone more capable of staying healthy.
- Alshon Jeffery: Although it’s about 50/50 that Jeffery stays, I believe that he needs to be signed to a long term deal. The whole situation reminds me of Lance Briggs in 2008. He told everyone that he never wanted to play for the Chicago Bears again and everyone thought he was all but gone. He ended up signing a six-year, $36 million contract and stayed with Chicago and had a great career.
- Stephon Gilmore: Call me crazy, but I feel Chicago can afford to spend money and get away with it. A Gilmore and Jeffery haul would equal to just under $30 million a year. This dude is all over the field on every single down. He had five interceptions in 2016 alone, which is exactly what the Bears need.
- Tony Jefferson: I’d expect Jefferson to get around $7 to 9 million a year, which would bring the Bears to about $35 to 37 million. They would still have plenty of cap to boost a tackle position and possibly grab another wide receiver.
- Torey Smith: Although not a huge free agent signing, I wouldn’t mind seeing him and Jeffery pair up. Those two, plus Cameron Meredith and Kevin White (if he actually stays healthy) would make the wide receiver position a strength on this team. I like Smith’s speed and would love to see him play like he did in Baltimore. Plus Smith is still young (28) and has shown that he still has burst. I’d imagine the Bears could grab him for about $4 to 6 million, maybe even less.
- Ricky Wagner: This move wouldn’t cost much to upgrade the right tackle position. Since the draft is weak this would be a nice get for the Bears. He was ranked 18th among tackles by PFF and would be a huge upgrade from Massie.
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- 2017 second-round pick and two fourth-rounders (2017, 2018) for a 2017 first-round pick between 20 and 32: I see the Bears making this one and only trade during draft day. I believe the Bears will either pick a quarterback with the third overall pick or pick one between 20 and 32.
- 1st Round, Pick 3: Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina: When watching this kid’s tape, you can see he’s still raw. However, there are signs of a great quarterback with confidence and a good arm. At the Combine, he looked poised, throwing to right spots with ease.
- 1st Round, Pick 20-32 Obi Melifonwu, S, UConn: Sorry, I’m a sucker for guys who blow up the Combine. This dude was all over the place. He posted a ridiculous 44-inch vertical along with an absurd 11’9″ broad jump and a 40 yard dash at 4.4 flat. Did I mention this dude is 6’4″ and weighs 219 pounds? I know that the Combine doesn’t show in game action, but Vic Fangio would love to work with someone of Melifonwu’s length. Someone with his size with that much athleticism screams fun to watch.
- 3rd Round, Pick 68: Jake Butt: Although his injury is scary, the Bears need to take a risk with Butt. He could be a great tight end in this league, and I would love to see the Bears draft him. Maybe Dowell Loggains could prove to be a good pffensive coordinator and develop him.
The season is about to begin, and as always free agency starts it off. The Bears have tons of money, which gives them the ability to turn the team around. These moves may help them do just that. I could see a couple more signing, but I believe it depends on if the Bears want to be risk-takers. This solely depends on general manager Ryan Pace.