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billwade's picture
Bill Wade's unpopular plan for 2021

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.


Sluggobear's picture
Re: Bill Wade's unpopular plan for 2021

BWade I agree with most of your recommendations. Your thought's are a good starting point for rebuilding the Bears.

Let’s face it, we will probably never have a shot at the Super Bowl the next few years. So going through a rebuild was the correct choice. Too bad George is keeping Pace and Nagy. George will just push the rebuild down the street along with all the mess left behind from Pace and Nagy. Congratulations Bear fans more years of a mediocre team.

First off, I would like to identify the positions that must be fixed on the starting roster from my perspective (QB, both OT, WR, CB, ILB, DT and Safety).

QB is a position that has not been fixed for years. Even Pace’s predecessors have failed to pick the right QB. Pace has struck out all three times over six years. OT has been questionable for the last 2-3years. Danny T has shown the defense is venerable with him in pass protection. Safety is a concern because we have had too many different player combinations. Pace should have kept Amos. When Hicks goes down the defense regresses. The last two years have demonstrated this conclusion. Hicks is 32 with very little shelf life left. Hicks will cost 12mil   and will be due a raise in 2022. Position depth reared its ugly head this year. When you lose two starters, opposing QB’ have picked the defense apart.  Is Johnson healthy? Does anybody know? Skrine will not be back because of concussions, cap hit and marginal play. So that leaves us with one CB starter for sure. WR- ARob is a free agent, and will probably be leaving when Free Agency starts. We can thank Pace for mishandling this situation. Darnell Money is the only starter left. Anthony Miller and Javon Wims have wasted their chances. Riley Ridley has not played enough to demonstrate if he has the talent.

My major concerned is Pace will mortgage the future since his job is on the line. He will put us in more cap hell. Pace has given up draft capital and huge contracts to free agents who have not produced up to their contracts (K Mack, Eddie Johnson, Nick Foles, Danny T,  Robert Quinn). Can we trust Pace? I sure don’t trust his judgement, based on the last six years. He has had some hits, but as they say “even a blind squirrel finds a nut.”

A few strategies I would use to build the team:

Try to restructure some contracts so not as many trades will be required to retain good players on roster.

Build through the draft - enough said

Build the team with solid players and not super stars. Often a high priced acquisition goes bad or there is an injury and you aren’t trapped financially like the the Bears are now with bad contracts.

Look at trading some current Bears to acquire draft capital, if the price is right.

Replace players who have been with the team at least three years and have not       made the active roster. In three years you should know if they are a keeper.


Players I would put on the block and trade if the price was right:

Akiem Hicks (cap hit 12 mil in 2021, due for a new contract 2022 and starting to show body breakdown and performance decline)

Khalil Mack (love his play, but why not get somethings for him before his body breaks totally down. His performance will never reach his Raider years)

Robert Quinnn (a poor contract along with poor  performance will probably prevent a trade though)

Nick Foles (poor contract and his better days are in the past, Has never been the main man for an entire season. Better in relief and short term play).

Eddie Jackson (no longer worth the money being paid out, but could offer trade value to a SB contender).

Kyle Fuller (great trade value. A solid performer looking for another pay day 2022. A contender would be interested in him).


Players I would cut, try to trade or not resign

Jimmy Graham (cap cut}, Buster Skrine (cap cut), Jason Spriggs, Rashad  Coward. Javon Wims, Charles Leno (cap cut), Bobbie Massie (cap cut), Anthony Miller, Eric Kush, Tyler Bray, Eddie Pinero

Players I would resign

Allen Robinson (there are only three other receivers in the NFL with 200+ receptions the past two seasons even with mediocre QB play. I did notice toward the end of the season how his targets decreased. Any chance an attempt to hold down his value for next contract.

Roy Robertson Harris (still a young solid player with potential. I would hate to see him leave).

I’m sure there will be more players, I would recommend in the future, but wanted to respond to your post.

Thanks for continuing to post. It is awfully quiet now on the board.

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