The 2021 season already looks depressing, but there is always a glimmer of hope, right? Ryan Pace (reporting to sweat ted as we were reminded recently) has made enough good and bad personnel decisions that he has created the epitome of a mediocre football team. I hope he refrains from anything headline grabbing because those decisions have generally not worked out. His first round picks are disasters except Smith. His blockbuster trade hasn't really paid off either. Let's face it: Khalil Mack is 30, and in two of his 3 seasons the team finished 8-8. From his monster year in 2018, Mack's production has declined as the defense as a whole also slipped. Meanwhile, the 2 -#1 picks the bears traded away are 23 and 24 respectively.
So, I hope Pace takes a more conservative approach this offseason. Here is my highly unpopular plan:
1) Keep Nick Foles: I was very surprised during the Bears presser that Pace and Nagy acknowledged the obstacles Foles dealt with in 2020. No OTAs, no training camp, no preseason and that goofy "battle" with Trubisky. Then, when Foles replaced Trubisky, he faced the 1st, 4rth, 6th, 8th, 9th and 27th ranked defenses. In fact, Foles had the 9th toughest schedule against defenses while Trubisky had the 32nd hardest (or the easiest) schedule. Foles also played behind Coward at guard, Whitehair at center and Jason Spriggs at RT and Nagy calling plays. Ugh. The Bears averaged 34 yds per game rushing while Foles was the starting QB.
Because of these things and I don't want to waste another year as a FA QB learns Nagy's "system," I favor handing the starting job to the former SB MVP. Foles didn't forget how to play QB, but he isn't Aaron Rodgers either. He cannot nor never has been able to carry a team on his back. Still, the Bears o-line shakeup could be very promising. Mustipher made much better line calls and played the position better than Whitehair, and he and Bars may be true starters. If the Bears found 2 UDFA lineman that can actually start and play at an NFL level, that is huge. With Daniels coming back, the Bears may be one LT away from a really solid o-line next year.
2) Tag Robinson: This is a no brainer. The Bears need him for at least another year to see if Mooney develops into a true #1 receiver.
3) Draft a LT: The Bears sit at #20, and there should be at least one quality OT available at that spot. Walter has Christian Darrisaw from VT going to the Bears at #20 and Sam Cosmi from Texas going at #24.
4) Give Bars a shot at RT: Bars played RT his sophomore season at ND. Was he moved to guard because he didn't have the athleticism to play on the corner? I'm not sure, but if Bars can't cut it at tackle the I would:
5) Trade Daniels: I'm not sure what Daniels trade value is after the pec injury, but Bars played too well to sit on the bench. If the Bears can get a high second round pick for Daniels, I'd pull the trigger if Bars can't move out to RT
6) Trade Akiem Hicks. Hicks wasn't the dominating force this season as he has in the past. With Goldman coming back and Nichols performing so well, Hicks isn't the necessity he used to be. If he has any trade value of at least round 4, I'd pull the trigger.
7) Draft a QB in ROund 3: The top three QBs will be long gone by the time the Bears draft, and I don't favor losing more picks to move up to get anyone but Lawrence, and that just isn't going to happen. Still, the Bears need to draft someone to keep the fans appeased, so I would target round three and take Kyle Newman, Mac Jones or Jamie Newman. One of them should be available. All are developmental.
That's the basis of my blueprint . Obviously, the Bears need a replacement for Trevethan and depth in the secondary, but this is the plan I hope the Bears follow as unexciting as it is.