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Calbrooks
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All talk Chicago Bears FAs
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Over the next several posts I am going to go over my thoughts on the Bears 2019 FAs and how I think Pace should address each of them.

Player                   Age  2018 AAV     Type
Bobby Massie RT          30   $6,000,000   UFA
Kevin White WR           27   $4,140,762   UFA
Aaron Lynch DE           26   $4,000,000   UFA
Bryce Callahan CB        27   $1,907,000   UFA
Josh Bellamy WR          30   $1,907,000   UFA
Pat O'Donnell P          28   $1,500,000   UFA
Marcus Cooper CB         29   $1,500,000   UFA
Eric Kush G              29   $1,350,000   UFA
Benny Cunningham RB      29   $1,050,000   UFA
Daniel Brown TE          28   $925,000     UFA
Zach Miller TE           34   $790,000     UFA
Marcus Williams CB       28   $790,000     UFA
Nick Williams DE         29   $705,000     UFA
Bryan Witzmann           29   $630,000     UFA
Patrick Scales LS        31   $630,000     RFA
Adrian Amos FS           26   $628,070     UFA
Michael Burton FB        27   $616,089     UFA
DeAndre Houston-Carson S 26   $585,000     RFA
Roy Robertson-Harris DE  26   $542,333     RFA
Ben Braunecker TE        25   $540,000     RFA
Rashaad Coward G         24   $510,000     ERFA
Isaiah Irving OLB        25   $510,000     ERFA

* Information is from multiple sites, is accurate as best as I can tell, but there were minor discrepancies between sites.

I see the Bears FAs fitting into one of four catigories.
1) Won't be here in 2019
2) Need to upgrade
3) Worth re-signing
4) Should keep, but can we afford them
 
Zach Miller is an outlier. I do not see him ever playing again and I think the only reason the Bears have kept him on the roster is to allow him access to the teams medical staff and facilities. But during his recovery it appears that he has made himself usefull in another way. It's been well covered that he has been on Trubisky's hip all season. Zach sits in on the QB meetings and has very much performed the role of a sudo mentor/coach. It's also clear that the rest of the players have a ton of respect for him.
 
Again, assuming he is not going to actually attempt to play again, I don't see the Bears signing him to the roster again. But I could easily see them perhaps making him an offer as some sort of assistant coach. If he is actually signed to a roster it's not going to be a big impact cap wise. He will again be signing a veteran min and either go onto IR again. If he did manage to make a comeback and play he would be well worth it even as a backup/situational player.
Calbrooks
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Re: All talk Chicago Bears FAs
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The wont be here list is pretty straight forward.

Kevin White leads this group. Honestly I am a little surprised with how this last season went for him. He clearly was not progressing the way Nagy felt he should as he was pretty much benched early in the season, even though it seemed he might finally be producing a little. I think it is safe to call him a first round bust, without the injury *. I am sure he will be picked up somewhere as depth. Wish him well.

Marcus Cooper: For the love of all that is decent, can we finally move on from Cooper.

Michael Burton: I think Hicks has replaced him.... Seriously though, I just don't see Nagy going with a traditional FB next season.

Here is the my controversal pick for this list, Adrian Amos. I like Amos, I think he is a good safety, I think him and Jackson work well together. I don't think Amos wants to be in Chicago and I think he will ask for too much money to stay. Pace will draft or look to one of the more cost freindly FA safeties on the market. 

The Vikings Anthony Harris could be an option. He is 27 entering his fifth year in the league. In 2018 he had 46 tackles and 3 interceptions to go along with 6 passes defended. Filling in for their starter he played in 15 games, starting 9 of them. Harris is a RFA so depending on what the Vikings decide to do, the Bears could end up getting a bargain.

And if I was Pace and decided to pay for a top safety, I think I would rather pursue someone like pro bowler Landon Collins.

Train like you are 2nd, but play like you are 1st.

Calbrooks
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Re: All talk Chicago Bears FAs
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Moving onto the need to upgrade list.

Pat O'Donnell: Why sign an inconsistant punter to a new deal? I think Pace will bring in some compitition and should be able to find a new, more stable punter. Lets hope he does better than he has at judging kickers.

Benny Cunningham: Cunningham has been fine, but he is nothing exciting, he has no ceiling. Pace needs to bring in some fresh blood and see if he can find a RB that can challenge Howard and give him options when it comes time to resigning him.

Daniel Brown: Brown is on the fence for me. I considered placing him on the worth re-signing list, but the fact is he is at the bottom of the depth chart. He is not realistically going to challenge any of the three in front of him for playing time. That being the case it makes more sense to me to replace him with a player that has a higher ceiling, that potential to become a starter or at least a solid rotational player.

Nick Williams, DeAndre Houston-Carson, Marcus Williams: Just lumping these three together. There is nothing wrong with any of them, but none of them have stood out and have shown they might ever push the starters. I could see DeAndre being a little valible as depth if Pace does move on from Amos though. He would at least be a known entity.

Train like you are 2nd, but play like you are 1st.

Calbrooks
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Re: All talk Chicago Bears FAs
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Here are the guys that have shown they have value. None of them should command unreasonable contracts. Pace should make sure they get re-signed.

Aaron Lynch: Lynch recovered from a shaky preseason filled with questions about his health. Pace stuck with him and was rewarded for it. He was solid all year and took advantage of the attention that Floyd and Mack demanded.
 
Josh Bellamy: Who would have thought Bellamy would win us over? Well I did. Bellamy has always been a solid route runner, he knows how to get open. Unfortunatly he had several bad drops at the wrong time that really turned the fans on him. He fixed that issue. Add to his contributions to STs and the fact he seems to be a leader in the locker room and it seems a no brainer to try and re-sign him.
 
Bryan Witzmann: I was pretty worried his first few games filling in for Long, but he really improved and settled in as the season went on. Especially with Longs history it seems smart to keep a guy that has proven he can step in if needed.
 
Eric Kush: To a lesser extent Kush is in the same boat as Bryan. He has proven he can hold his own in the past even if Bryan replaced him this year. It sounds like Kush was having some minor injury issues though that might been giving him issues. I could easily see Kush being moved to the find an upgrade list, but again, he is proven depth.
 
Patrick Scales: Just a no brainer. He has been consitant, why rock the boat and risk bouncing from LS to LS?
 
Roy Robertson-Harris: He played pretty good this season. Had 3 sacks and consistant pressure on the QB. Re-sign him and see if he can take the next step.
 
Ben Braunecker: I still think Ben could suddenly take off. He is super athletic and has good hands. I would like to see how he does with another season working his way into Nagy's system.
 
Rashaad Coward: He will be cheap and is still improving. Rememeber he was defensive lineman until the Bears decided to try him on the offensive side. At worst I see him becoming a solid back-up Tackle.
 
Isaiah Irving: Just another young guy that has shown enough to keep. He is fast and skilled. The Bears need to spend another year with him and see how good he becomes.
 
 

 

 

Train like you are 2nd, but play like you are 1st.

Calbrooks
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Re: All talk Chicago Bears FAs
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That just leave two, Bobbie Massie and Bryce Callahan. Yes, I said it, Massie. 

I know, and trust me, I am shocked too. I’ve called for Massie to be replaced every other season. But he played really good this year. Good enough that he could command a good size contract. He was Chicago’s fifth-highest graded player on offense this season, per Pro Football Focus and only allowed two sacks vs the five allowed by Leno.

The problem is figuring out if he is worth it. He is already averaging 6mil a season, he is going to want a pay raise. The challenge for Pace is deciding if this season was just a fluke in a contract season or if he can be counted on to continue being one of the better RTs for a few more years. His second concern is deciding if he can find a quality replacement cheap. If you lok around the league there are a lot of teams that have been struggling to find even a reliable right tackle. I think part of the problem is that RT has forever been seen as just a road grader for the RB, they did not need to be overly good at pass protection. With the changes in defenses though and the addition of so many talented pass rushers, the RG has needed to be good at both.

The good news is that he claims he wants to be back, “I am a Bear through and through. This is my home. I would love to be back here.” so maybe he will work with Pace and sign a cap friendly deal.

Finally we are left with Bryce Callahan. He is arguably the best slot cornerback in the league, when he is healthy. The guy is sticky in coverage and hard to shake. He is a talented blitzer and solid tackler. When he is out there QBs attack the middle of the field at their own risk. He had 2 sacks, 39 tackles(6 TFL) and 2 INTs last season in his 13 games. Not bad, especially since he misses 3 games. That is is only downside, he has yet to play a full 16 games in a season. Even so he is such a difference maker that Pace needs to make him his number one priority to re-sign. Use the money saved by cutting Amos and get it done.

Train like you are 2nd, but play like you are 1st.

The Shadow
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Re: All talk Chicago Bears FAs
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Calbrooks wrote:

My take on this list.

Player                   Age  2018 AAV     Type
Bobby Massie RT          30   $6,000,000   UFA   Re-sign to a team friendly deal, he is 30,coming off a contract year where he had to play well. I am afraid of regression here if he gets paid.
Kevin White WR           27   $4,140,762   UFA   Gone. Disappointing bust. He was a reach in the first round, a one year college wunderkind.
Aaron Lynch DE           26   $4,000,000   UFA   Give him another one or two year deal, he was okay but is replacable.
Bryce Callahan CB        27   $1,907,000   UFA   Re-Sign if possible.
Josh Bellamy WR          30   $1,907,000   UFA   Let him walk, he is 30, can be replaced by Wims or Gentry.
Pat O'Donnell P          28   $1,500,000   UFA   Replace him, he has not lived up to his hype, cannot kick under pressure, a ST liability.
Marcus Cooper CB         29   $1,500,000   UFA   Already gone, not on the bears Roster. Good Riddance, FA bust.
Eric Kush G              29   $1,350,000   UFA   Toss up, keep him or Witzmann but not both. Journeyman.
Benny Cunningham RB      29   $1,050,000   UFA   Let him go, I like him but he will be 30, replaceable
Daniel Brown TE          28   $925,000     UFA   Re-sign for depth, two year deal
Zach Miller TE           34   $790,000     UFA   Done as a player, Hire as a Quality Control coach, he has said he is interested in coaching.
Marcus Williams CB       28   $790,000     UFA   Replaceable, keep if cheap
Nick Williams DE         29   $705,000     UFA   Replaceable, keep if cheap
Bryan Witzmann           29   $630,000     UFA   Toss up, keep him or Kush but not both. Journeyman.
Patrick Scales LS        31   $630,000     RFA   Re-sign, good LSers are hard to find and age is not a factor
Adrian Amos FS           26   $628,070     UFA   Re-Sign, good paired with Eddie, young, can still get better
Michael Burton FB        27   $616,089     UFA   I would like to see a FB on the roster, maybe a hybrid RB/FB like Hall
DeAndre Houston-Carson S 26   $585,000     RFA   RFA Tender, good depth
Roy Robertson-Harris DE  26   $542,333     RFA   RFA Tender, good depth
Ben Braunecker TE        25   $540,000     RFA   RFA Tender, good depth
Rashaad Coward G         24   $510,000     ERFA  RFA Tender, experiment in progress
Isaiah Irving OLB        25   $510,000     ERFA  RFA Tender, good depth

Next year will be even better!

PapaBear.OR
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Re: All talk Chicago Bears FAs
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I just posted some thoughts on Massie in another thread in reply to Afro, and I think I might be talking myself into trying to re-sign him.  I can't believe I'm saying that but financially and logistically it might make the most sense right now unless there is a really sure thing sitting there in the draft at round 3 or below waiting for us.

Butkus never wore an earring

PapaBear.OR
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Re: All talk Chicago Bears FAs
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Not a Bears FA, but a guy I think is worth looking at in FA for the Bears to fill in the roll of Sims.

 Tight End Matt LaCosse is a name which should sound familiar to Bears fans, and Illinois sports fans in general. LaCosse is from Naperville, IL and played his college football for the Fighting Illini.

Back in 2015, LaCosse went undrafted and was picked up by the New York Giants. LaCosse spent three seasons with the Giants before signing with the Denver Broncos last year. His NFL production isn’t anything to gush over (27 catches for 272 yards and one touchdown), but his 6-foot-6 frame is something to take notice of.

LaCosse ran his 40-yard dash in 4.64 seconds a few years ago and, at that height, it’s a pretty strong time. In Nagy’s offense, speed kills. Bringing in a player like LaCosse on what would likely be a minimum deal is well-worth the chance. Seeing what he could do throughout the summer and in training camp, while holding a cap-friendly deal, makes a lot of sense.

https://dawindycity.com/2019/03/09/chicago-bears-underrated-free-agents/5/

He can play STs and his speed and size make him worth a look in this offense as depth at TE imo. 

Butkus never wore an earring

Calbrooks
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Re: All talk Chicago Bears FAs
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Pace needs to do something at TE, in my opinion it's easily our weakest link on Offense. Everyone wants to go on and on over Howard, but I would much rather see Pace upgrade over Shaheen and i still don't trust Burton.

Train like you are 2nd, but play like you are 1st.

The Shadow
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POST COUNT: 8443
Re: All talk Chicago Bears FAs
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Calbrooks wrote:

Pace needs to do something at TE, in my opinion it's easily our weakest link on Offense. Everyone wants to go on and on over Howard, but I would much rather see Pace upgrade over Shaheen and i still don't trust Burton.

I agree with you there, Shaheen has been a major disappointment from that draft. Cannot stay healthy and when he does see the field does not make the impact his nickname implies. I have more hope that Braunecker shines this year before "Baby Gronk". I think Shaheen needs a new nickname......if he doesn't stay healthy this year and on the field it will be "Busty, McBust-Face!"

Next year will be even better!

The Shadow
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Re: All talk Chicago Bears FAs
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Bears sign tight end Ben Braunecker

Posted by Darin Gantt on March 11, 2019, 10:22 AM EDT

The Bears decided to save some money on one of their own free agents, and create some cost certainty.

According to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune, the Bears have signed tight end Ben Braunecker to a two-year deal.

He was set to be an RFA, and rather than tender him at just over $2 million, they did a longer deal.

The Harvard product caught three passes for 42 yards last season, but is also a key special teamer for the Bears, and contributes to a deep and versatile tight end group.

Next year will be even better!

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