What would the Bears do in an expansion draft?

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Dec 24, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears tackle Bobby Massie (70) and Washington Redskins defensive end Trent Murphy (93) in action during the game at Soldier Field. The Redskins defeat the Bears 41-21. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY
Dec 24, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears tackle Bobby Massie (70) and Washington Redskins defensive end Trent Murphy (93) in action during the game at Soldier Field. The Redskins defeat the Bears 41-21. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

It’s a special time for the city of Las Vegas. Not only will they soon get the Raiders, a soon-to-be perennial Super Bowl contender, but they also added an NHL team, the Vegas Golden Knights. The Golden Knights held their expansion draft last week, choosing one player from each of the other NHL teams, creating a roster of 30 players.

The NFL has not seen an expansion draft since the Houston Texans joined the league in 2002. However, the rumblings about a football team in London have grown extremely loud in the past half a decade or so. The overwhelming consensus is that the Jacksonville Jaguars would relocate to London. Their owner Shahid Khan owns Fulham FC in London, as well as signing an agreement to have the Jags play one game in London every year until 2020. However, the Jaguars stadium Everbank field has had over $150 million worth of improvements added since 2013, so that move seems unlikely.

Let’s say that, theoretically, the NFL announces an expansion franchise in London this upcoming season. Who would the Bears protect from the new franchise?

They, obviously, cannot protect everyone. In that 2002 draft, each team was allowed to put forward 5 players for Houston to select from. However, they could not put any players who were on expiring contracts on the list, nor were they also couldn’t put any kickers or punters on the list. They also could only allow one player with 10 or more years experience be selected.

These rules obviously protect Connor Barth and Pat O’Donnell, but also omit bigger names in Prince Amukamara, Akiem Hicks, and Cam Meredith. However, for the most part, everyone else is available.

So, I put on my Ryan Pace hat and decide, who would I leave available in an expansion draft?

Bobby Massie:

Massie seemed like such a great signing last offseason for Chicago, who needed help at offensive tackle. However, Massie was extremely underwhelming. Him and fellow offensive tackle Charles Leno Jr. combined for 73 QB pressures last season, while neither was valuable on run protection either.

However, Leno cannot be exposed, as his contract expires after next season. However, even if he was, I wouldn’t expose him. Leno is versatile on the offensive line, being able to play every position but center.

Massie, on the other hand, is not. Massie cannot play as a guard, and is stuck to the tackles. He also struggles when he has to play left tackle, so he is virtually static as a right tackle.

On top of this, Massie is grossly overpaid. Massie is owed over $6 million for each of the next two seasons. Not only does that put him as the 8th highest paid Bear, but also makes him a possible preseason cut candidate.

Dion Sims:

This signing never made any sense to me, and confused me even more after the draft selection of Adam Shaheen.

Sims is owed $18 million over the next 3 years, and is likely to be the third string tight end come the beginning of the season. An $18 million contract is bad for a third stringer of any position, nevertheless a tight end. Sims does have a team opt-out clause after this season that I expect them to invoke, but Sims seems like a perfect veteran to leave unprotected for an expansion franchise.

That being said, I wouldn’t expect Sims to be selected. There is no minimum salary that an expansion franchise needs to hit, and there are a lot better deals that will ultimately be available in the expansion draft than Sims who, while serviceable, is overpaid.

Deiondre’ Hall:

This is solely based on Hall’s arrest last March. I think Hall is extremely talented, and can make it in the league as a defensive back, but I think that exposing Hall would be a good look for the Chicago Bears organization in the face of many other teams signing guys with arrest records.

That being said, Hall’s place in the organization is in limbo. He is reportedly going to be working out as a safety this training camp, as the cornerback room has filled up with free agency signings. There is a possibility Hall could get cut if he doesn’t succeed as a safety, though I do not think that will happen.

DeAndre Houston-Carson:

I have decided not to go with any undrafted free agent signings, as the expansion draft generally comes before the actual draft. After those previous three choices, I had to go with solely who I do not feel will make the roster next season.

With the additions of Quentin Demps and the draft selection of Eddie Jackson, there isn’t much more room available with the safeties on the Bears roster. Thus, Houston-Carson gets exposed.

Michael Burton:

The Bears recently signed Burton, a former Detroit Lion. However, for multiple reasons, I feel confident with exposing him.

Firstly, he is a fullback. Just as kickers and punters are replaceable, and not allowed on these lists, fullbacks are easily replaceable. Because of this, I do not believe it would be worth it to an expansion franchise to use one of their selections on a fullback.

If I am wrong about that, the Bears do have backup plans. They signed Freddie Stevenson as an undrafted free agent this offseason. Even had they didn’t, there are options available, in former Viking Zach Line and former Raider Marcel Reece.

 

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