Sports. Honestly. Since 2011

Do the Chicago Bears Care That They are “Losing the Off-Season”?

The Chicago Bears inactivity has many fans feeling as though their favorite team is “losing” the off-season.
Bears Off-Season

The Chicago Bears activity, and sometimes lack thereof, amid a flurry of moves around the league has many fans feeling as though their favorite team is “losing” the off-season. Chicago has watched as several quarterbacks have been traded along with a couple of top options at wide receiver. Meanwhile, they have been relegated to shopping off of the bargain rack.

It is not as though anyone expected them to be big spenders this free agency cycle. But their best free-agent acquisition ranks just 116th out of 150 players, per The Athletic.

The Chicago Bears Aren’t Concerned with Winning the Off-Season


We’ve gone over how the new regime of Ryan Poles and Matt Eberflus was doing things differently than their predecessors. Still, the rumblings continue to grow. With each new blockbuster deal, Bears fans are left to wonder if their team knows this is the time to make moves.

They’ve certainly seen a fair amount of their free agents walk out the door. Some right into lucrative opportunities. Allen Robinson signed a three-year, $45 million contract with the Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams.

The Bears have spent less than $7 million total for Byron Pringle and Eqanimeous St. Brown.

Neither guy is a game-breaker by any stretch, though, and their deals reflect that.

It’s hard to say the same thing to justify the four-year, $72 million deal that former Arizona Cardinals wideout Christian Kirk got from the Jacksonville Jaguars. Kirk has yet to cross the 1000-yard barrier in his four-year career. But he came about as close as can be with 982 receiving yards to go with five touchdowns.

He’ll get $20 million at signing with $37 million guaranteed total for a career third option. His guaranteed money is 15th among his position, more than the triple-crown winning Rams receiver Cooper Kupp.

How many fans would be down to fork over that kind of money? 

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Playing the Fields

The same principle applies to Terron Armstead. He signed with the Miami Dolphins five years and $75 million with more than $43 million in guarantees. But the fact that his and Kirk’s deals are so close in value should tell you all that you need to know about what Jacksonville did to the wide receiver market.

Where Armstead differs, though, is that he is one of the best left tackles in the game. He also has supreme athleticism for the position as a former tight end in college.

It makes some sense to pony up for that kind of player.

That is until you dig into his injury history. He’s missed time in every season he’s been a pro including more than half of last season.

Still, they need to upgrade everything around Fields, and to say they have come close to doing that would be drinking the Kool-Aid. That is true even if you like new center Lucas Patrick or Buffalo Bills free-agent guard Ryan Bates who signed an offer sheet on Thursday. It becomes even truer when seeing pass-catchers who fit Fields’ timeline on the move.

What we don’t know is just how in on any of these players the Bears have been, if at all, until after the fact. While they were never going to spend the money it took to land Kirk, would it have been too much to pony up for a Smith-Schuster or Marquez Valdes-Scantling?

Valdes-Scantling got three years and up to $36 million while Smith-Schuster got just a one-year deal worth up to $10.75 million.

They fit with Fields development arc as well.

Smith-Schuster is just 25 and has proven to be a tough, team-player willing to go over the middle. Meanwhile, Valdes-Scantling has ties to Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy, clocked faster than Tyreek Hill last season, and is just 27. Those sure do sound like desirable traits to out around your (fingers crossed) franchise quarterback.

Bears Delayed Off-season Gratification

Rather than trying to keep up with the Joneses, or in this case the Khans, the Bears are opting for depth signings. Larry Ogunjobi’s deal falling through likely set the stage for the sentiments we are currently seeing, but we knew they didn’t have a ton of cap space or draft capital to make any major splashes.

That they have barely even made a plop – Byron Pringle had more catches, yards, and touchdowns than Valdes-Scantling for what it’s worth – is tough.

While they are digging themselves out from Pace’s rubble, the true value of Fields is going to waste: his rookie contract. If the Bears aren’t going to front-load contracts for weapons now, then they will have to do so next off-season.

They will be flush with cash so it is not completely flawed logic.

The problem is, unless they just don’t believe in Fields, they will lose a year of maximizing his development as well as a year of control on the rookie wage scale. By putting the proper pieces around him, the Bears could expedite the process. Up to this point, however, they have been content to follow their plan with no signs of changing just yet.

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