Dhruv Koul answers your questions from this week’s Bears Mailbag. Follow him on Twitter @DhruvKoul to continue the conversation.
The 2018-2019 NFL season has officially ended and the New England Patriots are Super Bowl champions once again. They defeated the Los Angeles Rams in a 13-3 defensive slugfest that never really felt as close as the score would suggest. The Patriots were the better team almost throughout, and they pulled through in the end for Tom Brady and Bill Belichick’s sixth Super Bowl title.
Now we shift our attention to the off-season and building for the 2019-2020 NFL campaign. That’s a lengthy seven months away.
With that, let’s reach into this week’s Bears Mailbag; I always appreciate the participation. And, a reminder that these will be a regular feature throughout the off-season!
It's Pace's season. What surprises can we expect from him. The Mack trade is going to be hard to exceed. 🐻🔽
— Paul (@mrpchvz) February 6, 2019
The Khalil Mack trade changed the complexion of the entire league. It’s extremely rare for a trade of that magnitude to go down in the NFL; so you’re right, it’ll certainly be difficult to exceed that trade in terms of shock and impact.
I think the biggest surprise Ryan Pace could pull this off-season would be signing former Kansas City Chiefs’ running back Kareem Hunt. There are many, many different opinions on pursuing such a move, all of which are valid in their own way.
From a football perspective, it makes complete sense. He is literally the running back mold the Bears need for their offense and he would fit in to the scheme like a glove given his rise to stardom in Andy Reid and Matt Nagy’s offense in KC.
But from a life perspective, it’s a different story. I’m in the camp that thinks the Bears should not sign him, but I wouldn’t boycott the Bears or anything if they did. The lady from the video that showed their altercation reportedly called him a racial slur, which, if true, is horrible and pathetic on her part. But wrong is wrong, and Hunt was wrong to do what he did; you don’t right a wrong with another wrong. Violence is never the answer, against anyone — female, male, or other.
So while it’s obvious that the Bears have essentially been putting out feelers in the media as a PR move to gauge the reaction to their words about Hunt, I do think that signing him would be a large surprise.
The other would be trading up into the first or second round of the 2019 NFL Draft. But that is almost impossible to happen.
Do you anticipate any surprise cuts from the Bears in order to create cap flexibility for free agency?
— Rick Knight (@Rickdaruler773) February 6, 2019
There are some obvious cuts coming up, such as Cody Parkey. Interestingly, if cut, Parkey would actually cost more cap space than it would cost to keep him on the roster. But after his nationally televised PR stunt, that cut is happening. Dion Sims is another obvious candidate to go. And I wouldn’t be surprised to see Sam Acho released, either.
The biggest surprise I could theoretically see here would be to cut inside linebacker Danny Trevathan. He’s the oldest inside linebacker the Bears have, and the most expensive. He is still a very good football player and gives the Bears one of the best linebacking tandems in football. But if the Bears think they can upgrade that position, especially for less cost than Trevathan, then he could be let go. But I truly doubt this happens.
The other one I could theoretically see is guard Kyle Long. He was one of the faces of the Bears during their struggle years from 2014-2017, but he’s expensive and struggles to stay healthy. He’s also turning 30 this year, and it’s an old 30 due to the number of injuries he’s had. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Bears approach him about a pay cut at the very least to ease the cap burden.
Q: Early thoughts on Mitch Trubisky’s next year stats? — Kevin M.
I am a firm believer that stats don’t tell the whole story for a quarterback — it’s all about the tape. So no matter the stats he puts up, it’s not fair to evaluate a quarterback just on a set of numbers. Trubisky’s overall season in 2018 was solid, and he earned a trip to the Pro Bowl. But anyone that watches the tape would tell you that in most games, he was either absolutely awful or absolutely brilliant. He had maybe one or two games where he was just OK throughout. That variance in performance can’t happen if the Bears want to make the Super Bowl.
Anyway, I expect improvement as he continues on in the offense, improves his mechanics and footwork, and refines his ability to read defenses, especially pre-snap. That said, I expect his passing numbers to go up in Year 2 in Matt Nagy’s offense. Here’s my extremely early prediction for next year:
65% CMP, 4300 yards, 7.5 YPA, 34 total TDs, 12 INTs, 7 fumbles, 33 sacks