Chicago Bears 2020 Mock Offseason: Shifting Gears

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This latest Chicago Bears 2020 mock offseason is centered around a searching question. Does this team truly believe Mitch Trubisky is capable of leading them to a Super Bowl championship? After watching Patrick Mahomes work, it’s hard not to feel how inadequate the 25-year old is by comparison. GM Ryan Pace may be reluctant to make a change, but after three seasons it’s likely Chicago has seen the best Trubisky has to offer.

Thus the process begins on a possible pivot. This leaves two avenues for the Bears to consider. Do they look for a short-term bridge option who can buy them some time before seeking out a young alternative down the line? Or do they go after someone who is still in their prime and might offer long-term security with upside? Looking at the landscape as it is, they decide to go with the latter and it makes for a wild offseason.

Chicago Bears 2020 mock offseason starts with a bang

Cuts:

Kyle Long – $8.1 million

His retirement set in stone, Long’s contract goes the way of him essentially being cut. While it’s unfortunate things had to end this way, it appears the former Pro Bowl guard is settling into the next phases of his life quite well.

Prince Amukamara – $9 million

Maybe a deal can be worked out for the veteran cornerback to return after a pay cut. The reality is though that the Bears need every dime they can get their hands on to make this offseason work. Amukamara is a solid veteran. He’s also coming off one of his worst seasons in Chicago.

Ben Braunecker – $1.5 million

It’s hardly a secret the tight end position was a major disappointment for the Bears in 2019. Braunecker was a part of that. While he has special teams value, the reality is he’s paid too much for being exclusively useful in that role.

Adam Shaheen – $1.27 million

Pace made it seem like the team is open to giving Shaheen one last shot in training camp this summer. Smart money says the former 2nd round pick doesn’t even make it that far with the likely overhaul at tight end set to arrive in the spring.

Salary cap: $33.226 million

Trades:

#50 pick to the Raiders for QB Derek Carr

Bears fans are clamoring for a bold move at quarterback. This is it. Rumors have swirled that the Las Vegas Raiders have been interested in moving on from Carr for some time. This feels like the offseason they’ll do it. Thanks to an unusually loaded veteran QB market, they’re able to secure the 28-year old for a fairly modest 2nd round pick.

Carr has his critics. He’s delivered just one winning season in his career and is an uncomfortable 1-10 in cold weather. That said, he’s a three-time Pro Bowler with an elite-caliber arm who has topped 4,000 yards passing each of the past two years. His 18 comebacks in the 4th quarter also show he can deliver in the clutch. Carr should be a good fit for Nagy’s offense.

QB Mitch Trubisky to the Jets for a 4th round pick

With Carr arriving, this signal the obvious. Trubisky is done in Chicago. Rather than keep him on as a backup though, the Bears deal him to the Jets for a reunion with Dowell Loggains in New York. This will help their depth behind Sam Darnold while also netting the Bears an extra $4.4 million in cap space.

WR Taylor Gabriel to the 49ers for a 6th round pick

The 49ers are set to lose Emmanuel Sanders to free agency, which will be a tough blow to their passing offense. So they need alternatives. Gabriel has a strong connection to Kyle Shanahan as the two made some magic together in Atlanta. He gets to rejoin a familiar face while the Bears get a pick and $4.5 million in cap space.

OLB Leonard Floyd to the Patriots for a 6th round pick

With Carr coming into the fold, the Bears have to make some hard decisions regarding their payroll. One that will become inevitable is the departure of Floyd and his massive $13.222 million cap hit. Luckily the Patriots love his type of athlete. Not to mention taking on former 1st round picks. The two sides have done lots of business together, so it’s a smooth process.

WR Cordarrelle Patterson to the Cowboys for a 5th round pick

This will probably be the one that is most surprising to some. Patterson was an All-Pro special teamer last year. Why get rid of him? Mostly because he’s a luxury at this point. The Bears need the money and shipping him out while his value is high makes sense. Dallas had the worst kick return average in the NFL in 2019, so they’ll pay to fix it with him.

Salary cap: $39.121 million

Re-signings/Extensions:

Allen Robinson – 4-year extension, $65.6 million ($13 million 2020 cap hit)

With Carr in the fold, the Bears must ensure he has at least one stud weapon to work with. Robinson was excellent in 2019 and is just entering his prime now. He’s earned a sizable pay raise. No doubt the arrival of the quarterback will be a nice extra selling point from the team’s side. A message to him that they’re committed to making his life easier.

Nick Kwiatkoski – 4-year deal, $28 million ($5 million 2020 cap hit)

The decision between Kwiatkoski and Trevathan is a difficult one. For all the leadership the latter brings though, youth tends to win out in the NFL. Kwiatkoski was a draft pick for Pace and no doubt viewed as a possible starter down the road once age became a factor for Trevathan. That moment has arrived.

Roy Robertson-Harris – 1-year deal, $2.144 million

With the exit of Floyd, it’s more important than ever the Bears keep guys in their front seven who are capable of getting heat on the quarterback. Robertson-Harris is one such example. He’s hardly a sack machine but has proven he can generate heat on the pocket and make the QB uncomfortable. Who knows. Maybe 2020 will finally be his breakout year.

Sherrick McManis – 1-year deal, $1.045 million

Patterson leaving makes the decision to retain McManis easy. Despite his advancing age, he still brings a lot of value as a special teams ace. His experience and leadership in the third phase will be a critical presence for them as they continue to reshuffle the roster.

Kevin Pierre-Louis – 1-year deal, $820,000

By the sounds of things, Pierre-Louis wants to stay in Chicago. He’s found a locker room he loves and a defense he understands how to play in. The exit of Trevathan also means he’d be the primary backup for Kwiatkoski and Roquan Smith. That is why the Bears are able to get him back for cheap.

Deon Bush – 1-year deal, $820,000

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix won’t be returning. His price tag will be out of the Bears’ comfort zone. This is good news for Bush as it means coming back will give him a prime opportunity to compete for the starting job. He showed plenty of encouraging signs in the 2019 preseason that he’s ready to make that leap.

Patrick Scales – 1-year deal, $820,000

Nothing significant to report here. Scales has remained a steady presence snapping the football for years now. Until the Bears find a younger option who is capable of outperforming him, that is unlikely to change. Familiarity is always preferred at a key position like snapper.

Rashaad Coward – 1-year deal, $660,000

He came into the NFL as a defensive lineman, was switched to offensive tackle in his second year and then got thrust into the right guard spot in emergency duty. A position he would end up holding as the starter for the rest of the season. That kind of dependability under pressure is something worth keeping around.

J.P. Holtz – 1-year deal, $585,000

He may not be a hidden gem in the making. That’s okay. Holtz proved he can have value on offense as a versatile chess piece. One who can fill the role of both a tight end and a fullback depending on the situation. Coaches love having these times of guys on the roster.

Salary cap: $29.227 million

Free agency:

TE Eric Ebron – 4-year deal for $36 million ($7 million 2020 cap hit)

It’s been rather entertaining to see Ebron toy with Bears fans, teasing on the idea he wants to come to Chicago. If this is actually true, then it works out for both sides. The tight end gets a nice pay day, putting him in the top 5 at his position per year while hopefully giving the Bears offense that explosive weapon in the middle of the field they’ve lacked.

EDGE Jordan Jenkins – 4-year deal, $20 million

This is a name that doesn’t get much attention. Not a big surprise given the team he’s played for. Still, Jenkins has quietly been a productive pass rusher over the past two years with seven sacks in 2018 and eight in 2019. He’s managed to do this without a lot of help in the front seven around him too. So one can imagine he might do even better with Khalil Mack and Akiem Hicks on the field.

S Adrian Phillips – 1-year deal, $3 million

Not only did he show himself to be a solid strong safety during his time with the Chargers, but he was also an All-Pro on special teams. This sort of value is difficult to find at the price of $3 million. The Bears will allow him to compete for the job opposite Eddie Jackson with Bush while also utilizing his talents to fill the void left by Patterson.

CB Daryl Worley – 1-year deal, $3 million

Chuck Pagano likes his quarterbacks big and physical. He wants them to play up and in the face of opposing receivers. Worley fits that profile and is coming off a pretty decent year in Oakland where he allowed just 53.5% of 86 passes thrown in his direction this season. He’s still only 24-years old and could be another low-risk/high-reward gamble.

WR Pharoh Cooper – 1-year deal, $820,000

Losing Patterson on kickoff returns is tough for the Bears. Luckily, they’re quick to find help. Cooper was an All-Pro returning kicks in 2017 but for whatever reason has bounced between teams since then. He isn’t going to help much on offense but will have that return job locked down.

QB Brandon Silvers – 1-year deal for $820,000

Even with the arrival of Carr, the Bears still need options behind him. Silvers is currently playing for the Seattle Dragons in the XFL. He’s a good-sized QB with a decent arm who continues to show above-average accuracy on his throws. This added experience he’s gaining will only help him and they should get him for cheap.

Salary cap: $9.587 million

The Draft:

2nd Round (via LAV) – Lloyd Cushenberry, OG, LSU

With only one 2nd round pick remaining, the Bears have to make absolutely sure they get somebody who can contribute right away. Preferably in an area of need. They do just that with Cushenberry. There isn’t much to hate about the kid. He’s big, physical, experienced, strong, and quick for his size. One of the key blockers for that LSU national championship team. He can take over at right guard immediately.

4th Round (via NYJ) – Leki Tofu, DE, Utah

When a bunch of your more highly-touted teammates all say you’re the most indispensable player on the defense? That says a lot. Tofu is the ideal 3-4 defensive end. He’s a giant with long arms but remarkably explosive for his size. A guy who won’t be moved in the ground game while being able to get up the field as a pass rusher. He has power and motor. If he figures out leverage? It’s game over.

4th Round (comp) – Alex Highsmith, EDGE, Charlotte

Coming from a small school always makes a prospect hard to evaluate. For his part, Highsmith was unstoppable in 2019 with 15 sacks and 21.5 tackles for loss. The burst and quickness of a pass rusher are there. He’s also got good size too. What doesn’t show up is strength, which isn’t a huge surprise. He’ll need to add it for the NFL. The building blocks are there though.

5th Round – Devin Duvernay, WR, Texas

The loss of Gabriel to San Francisco leaves the Bears without a ton of speed at wide receiver. Duvernay’s arrival helps to alleviate that problem. Not only can he get vertical to pressure a defense deep, one thing that really stands out about him is how good he is after the catch. He’ll need route running work though. Typical of college receivers.

5th Round (via DAL) – Lamar Jackson, CB, Nebraska

Remember that thing mentioned earlier about Pagano’s defense liking big, physical cornerbacks. Well, it applies here again. Aside from sharing names with the reigning MVP, Jackson fits that profile in every way. He’s 6’3 and plays a physical style both in coverage and against the run. Some will worry about his fluidity, which is typical of bigger corners. The kid can play.

6th Round (via LAV) – Charlie Heck, OT, North Carolina

You can’t teach size. Heck is a giant at 6’8, 300 lbs. He’s logged experience at both right and left tackle for North Carolina and appears pretty nimble when asked to move. When his technique is right, he can block anybody. He’ll need work though on his balance and hand usage. Adding more power would be nice too.

6th Round – Antonio Gibson, RB, Memphis

One of the reasons that Gibson falls to the 6th round is because he didn’t focus on any one position in college. He was sort of a Swiss army knife, logging time at both running back and wide receiver. His explosiveness is something that would really appeal to the Bears’ backfield. A nice compliment to David Montgomery.

6th Round (via NE) – Reggie Floyd, S, Virginia Tech

Imagine Adrian Amos and you’ll get a decent idea of how the Bears view Floyd. Virginia Tech has a long history of producing quality defensive backs and he’s no exception. While a downhill type player with good size and physicality, he is a better athlete than he gets credit for. What the team must figure out is whether they can curb his tendencies to be overaggressive.

6th Round (via SF) – Jordan Mack, LB, Virginia

Another Kwiatkoski-type. Mack actually started out as a defensive back at Virginia but was soon moved to linebacker when it became clear he just didn’t have the speed needed. He makes up for it with good instincts, discipline, and an ability to get ball carriers on the ground.

7th Round (via LAV) – Mason Fine, QB, North Texas

There is never any harm in taking a flier on a quarterback who was highly productive and a true game-changer for his program. Fine was both at North Texas. Why isn’t he getting more buzz then? He is 5’11. Short quarterbacks always have a hard time earning respect. This kid is worth a look. He can move, has a decent arm and can just make plays.

7th Round – Stephen Sullivan, TE, LSU

From a talent standpoint, Sullivan is hard to ignore. He’s a big kid at 6’5, can run and seems to have strong enough hands. This makes him a potential weapon in the passing game. However, he never really became a primary target in college and needs work as a blocker. Consider him a project with large upside.

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