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  1. 2019 53 Man Roster Fight

    I don’t think McManis is fighting for a spot at all. He’s our best ST player and is a proven veteran capable of filling in at NB. McManis is seeing reps at safety IMO because we added 2 corners in the draft we also want to make the team because he’s not expendable. It would only help with the numbers game in keeping someone on the fringe who shows out in July and August if McManis is capable of being depth at both positions. I think we’re going to keep 6 DBs who can play corner and at least 4 who can play safety. McManis being able to fill both roles let’s us potentially only keep 9 and keep another guy on the 53 at OL/TE/LB if it allows us to protect another guy from waivers. Assuming health, I think it’s far more likely that one of Bush or DHC doesn’t make the team and I’d guess that’s DHC because he is only a ST player for us. Bush was replacement level capable when called upon last year and IMO that gives him a leg up.
  2. 2019 53 Man Roster Fight

    I don’t think he’s a roster lock either, and this staff inherited him, but working in his favor is that he is a solid 4-phase ST player for us. If I had to guess I think they’re hoping Iggy takes over the primary backup role this year. He was seemingly drafted as an upside skill set guy with an eye toward replacing Trevathan, and he also contributed on all the coverage teams last year.
  3. Projecting Cody Whitehair’s Coming Extension

    I agree with all of your thoughts there. I like and respect Wood’s work quite a bit but his analysis was based on the 2018 offense that had (likely) fewer viable receiving threats on the outside and in which the RB alternative to Cohen was a liability in the passing game and as a runner outside the tackles. I’m of the opinion that Montgomery and/or Davis filling the Howard reps and will have a big time positive impact on what happens on downs when Cohen isn’t on the field, as will Patterson/Ridley/Year 2 Wims. The 2018 analysis factors heavily the limitations of our Cohen-less offensive sets that quite frankly aren’t there anymore. The Cohen comparison to Sproles has always been a really good fit IMO. Exciting and explosive and a fan favorite but also limited, and such limited guys are always going to be role players. We haven’t seen Darrell Henderson play a single down in the NFL yet but if I had to pick between having him or Cohen for the next 5 years I’m taking Henderson without a lot of hesitation because I think he’s going to be at least a really good role player too but also think he might be a really good primary RB. Cohen is never going to be that. I think he already is all he’s going to be. That’s not meant as a knock on Cohen in even the smallest way - he’s a good player - it’s meant to be a look at his long term prognosis without my Bears goggles on. He’s already elite in space, an asset as a PR and a great receiver for the RB position, but I don’t think he’s ever going to improve as an inside runner both because I don’t think he’ll be asked to do it and also because when he’s been called upon to do it previously he frequently decides to bounce the play outside anyway. He's never going to be asked to pass block either. Howard was a limited player and we moved on from him - Cohen is a limited player too but with his limitations being less crippling to our scheme. He can do a lot of things but he also can’t do some things, and when we’re deciding who to pay and who we can’t that’s just as important. Sproles was a big part of the Brees/NO offense but as the rest of the roster filled in with capable talent he became expendable. I think a similar fate awaits Cohen in Chicago. To me he’s going to be a 10-year pro but also a guy who’s probably never going to be a good offense’s primary or even secondary playmaker. I’m eager and expecting to see Wood do a follow up analysis in this same light after the 2019 season when we’ll be at the point where some of these personnel decisions have to start being made.
  4. Projecting Cody Whitehair’s Coming Extension

    Strictly from the standpoint of practicality, if Montgomery is as advertised I think we’ve stocked our roster as though Cohen may not be getting an extension, not because anyone wants to see him elsewhere, but because we can’t pay everyone. Cohen is explosive and exciting, but he’s not Devin Hester and he’s not Tyreek Hill. As it were right now if you were to take Cohen off the roster we already have 2 versatile backs plus whatever Whyte may be, and at least 5 WR we like a lot, 3 of whom are on rookie deals. Despite what he thinks I think there is a VERY real chance we are going to see Cohen’s offensive role somewhat reduced this year. Not hugely reduced, but the guys they added can also fill the roles he filled last year in ways that make Nagy’s offense less predictable, which is a point he’s driven home time and time again. They didn’t trade up to draft Montgomery to sit, and Cohen IMO offers less versatility as a runner than either Montgomery or Davis in that he basically has to run to space. He still figures to be our principal 3rd down passing situation back but when this offense is on schedule we’re 3rd and 3 or less more often than not, and he’s not nearly the threat to get 3 yards up the middle that either of the other two are while the other two also present a passing game threat that Howard didn’t. By adding other RBs who excel as receivers I think they have significantly reduced Cohen’s value to the offense in the backfield. In terms of his use as a WR, that’s a crowded room already right now even without him. ARob, Gabriel, and Miller are already locked in IMO as our primary top 3 for 2019. Ridley is likely to get a lot of reps, and Nagy is already raving about what he thinks he can do using Patterson on offense, much of which falls under that same gadget stuff where Cohen has been used previously. That doesn’t even touch on Wims who the coaches keep puffing up, or either Hall, both of whom have Cohen level speed and more size. Now it will play out that Cohen gets reps over those guys too and I don’t think we’re taking him out of the game plan by any means, but there are only so many footballs to go around. My larger point was that most if not all of what Cohen can do on offense can also be done by other guys, and when it comes down to contract extension time that stuff matters a whole lot when you’re paying 2 guys QB-level money. By March 2021 when Cohen’s deal is up I think that is the expectation of most.
  5. NFC North Rivals 2019 Talk

    LaFleur has to realize he’s the one who’s going to have to give here. Even if he believes Rodgers is a problem (which I’m certainly not suggesting) he’s basically unmovable for the next 3 seasons from a cap perspective. That said, I’d love to see them shooting sideline daggers and media barbs at each other for a few years.
  6. Mitch Wants To Remain A Bear, But At What Price?

    I agree with all of this, and by next March even if Mitch is exactly then what he is now from a player resume standpoint that’s still a guy who was a first alternate to the Pro Bowl who’s only going into his age 26 season. He’s getting a top 10 AAV deal with those credentials. If he improves even modestly it’s likely top 5 even if he takes a “discount”, and if he tanks this year we probably pick up his 5th year option to assure our rights to retention in 2021 at no commitment or cost and reassess again after year 4. This isn’t complicated stuff, really.
  7. Mitch Wants To Remain A Bear, But At What Price?

    Sure, 5 years ago. Those are absolute pipe dream numbers in the present day QB market. There are currently 19 NFL QBs making at least $15M annually, and 14 at $22M or more. Of those 14 contracts at $22M+ only 3 weren’t signed at least 2 years ago: Cousins (whose deal is 100% guaranteed), Brees (who is 40) and Foles. Here are the 5 guys between $15M and $22M: Manning $21M: signed in 2015 Rivers $20.8M: signed in 2015 and working toward an extension likely in the Rodgers/Wilson tier Newton: $20.8M: signed in 2015 Dalton: $16M: signed in 2014 Brady $15M: took an INSANELY team friendly deal surely influenced in no small way by the fact that he and his wife collectively have a $580 MILLION DOLLAR NET WORTH Here’s reality: Mitch is already more accomplished than Garoppolo (27.5M AAV signed in 2018) and at least as accomplished as Carr ($25M AAV signed in 2017). Because of that the 2020 inflation-adjusted AAV for their deals is the absolute floor AAV for Mitch assuming he improves exactly zero from where he is now. Signing a deal in your range would make him literally the lowest paid starting QB not on a rookie deal or in a role as a bridge QB. By the time next offseason rolls around after new contracts for Rivers and Goff we’re gonna be lucky to get him at Wentz’s numbers with even the smallest of continued growth in a period where almost all QBs even those far less naturally gifted are expected to experience at least some improvement.
  8. Bears sign David Montgomery to 4 year deal

    I do too, and not just because of the fit. Montgomery’s versatile skill set is a great fit for the modern pass-focused NFL in general.
  9. Mitch Wants To Remain A Bear, But At What Price?

    I’m pretty sure that the 5th year option on Mitch’s deal will be slightly more than that from Wentz’s deal, which was just over $20M. That number would be far less than the AAV on any presumptive extension. In Wentz’s deal they kept a comparable number for that option year ($18M). I would think whether we kept the actual option value for that year or not we’d structure Mitch’s contract similarly.
  10. We don’t really know how bad Piniero’s groin was last year. They may have sent him to IR with a strain type injury so they could stash him to return midseason vs. lose him. They didn’t have Carlson at the time (was still in MIN). I also haven’t seen anything suggesting he hasn’t shown the big leg in OTAs that he showed previously.
  11. Santos got hurt in 2017 and may not have been healed to their satisfaction before 2018 FA hit. Also, despite what recency tells about Parkey he was 21-23 on FG in Miami in 2017 before we signed him, and 20-21 inside 50 yards. It turned out terribly but it’s not as though there wasn’t a reason Pace gave him the deal he did.
  12. 2019 Darling of Camp

    That there are so many candidates for this is a great problem to have. All mentioned are good candidates, but this is also the first TC fans will get to see Mack too. I think Stephen Denmark has a real chance to be a fan favorite this summer. He’s super fast and huge. He’s going to look like a create-a-player at corner in shorts.
  13. Bears sign David Montgomery to 4 year deal

    Were he to get a Howard level workload I think he’s really set up to be. Scheme fit is perfect. That said, I think Jacobs is going to be really good. I think this “down year” RB class has a chance to surprise a lot of people. I’m really bullish on both Montgomery and Jacobs overall but especially given the situations in which they landed, and I think Henderson with McVey could do some special things despite seeing him as more of a complementary player overall.
  14. Perspective is needed here IMO. We don’t need to have a Justin Tucker clone as our kicker. That’d be great, but the need is for reliability, even if that means a guy who’s really solid from 49 or less and a coin flip from 50+. At least that gives you a relative constant with which to work, and for most teams the 49 or less FGs make up about 85% of all attempts. Anything more than that is gravy. FWIW that 49 or less kicker was Gould for us for his first 4 seasons. He didn’t even attempt a 50+ yard FG in 3 of his first 4 seasons, and didn’t make one until season 5. Pineiro’s big leg is great but if his accuracy isn’t consistently going to be there then it doesn’t matter. Something else to consider regarding our options - there are other kicking competitions going on elsewhere too. Ours will play out in the preseason where pressure goes up as well as with kicks in front of fans daily at TC (where I’m hoping they involve the fans to REALLY crank up the pressure - make the kick and every fan wins a Coke or something like that), but there is no question that we’ll be watching other teams during preseason too. One competition in particular stands out to me. Tampa Bay drafted Matt Gay in the 4th round. Their other rostered kicker is Cairo Santos, who was in KC with Nagy, and before being hurt early in 2017 and being displaced by Butker he was 88.6% in KC in 2016 and 84.8% over 3+ seasons. He’s also only 27. Assuming Matt Gay wins the TB job I think Santos is a VERY viable option for us as a training camp add. I’d be shocked if there hadn’t already been preliminary talks there. I could very easily see a situation where we release Pineiro and trade that same conditional 2020 pick we’d then not owe to OAK to TB for Santos (1 year $1M contract) whom they’d be cutting for nothing anyway. Santos kicked successfully in KC for 3 years so we know he can deal with lousy weather conditions, and he’s not only had success under NFL pressure but sustained success. If he’s right he’s also a 10-year fix who costs us basically the league minimum until the Parkey dead money is out of the picture. Beyond that, Cleveland drafted Austin Siebert. Their 2018 kicker, 24-year old Greg Joseph, was 17-20 last year (though missed 4 XP). He also went to the Jamie Kohl kicking camp. This is definitely a lesser option than Santos to me, but I don’t think it’s our worst option. Should either Gay or Siebert not make their squad (highly unlikely) I don’t think it’s out of the question that we scoop them up either. BAL, DEN, SF, CIN, IND and PIT also each have 2 kickers in camp. Dollars to donuts one or more of those vets is beat out. IMO we should have someone at every one of those training camps charting kicker activity daily. No stone unturned. My preference is that Pineiro wins the job outright because his ceiling is really high, because he seems to have moxie which I like. Any kicker who can excel on the road in the SEC has to have some serious game day stones. Reality for me though is I just want a kicker who isn’t a liability. It’s not a high standard, but it’s an unbending one.
  15. Mitch Wants To Remain A Bear, But At What Price?

    2 years is an eternity in terms of contract value though. By spring 2021 assuming no labor dispute (which IS a factor here) Wentz’s $32M AAV extension may not even be in the top 25% any more in terms of AAV. If Mitch is a fringe pro bowler the next 2 years he’s already going to exceed the Wentz deal in 24 months, and if he’s a top 5 QB he’s going to obliterate it. Reality is if he’s 2018 Mitch forever (and even his strongest critics should expect some improvement) he’s probably our QB well beyond the remainder of his current contract. To that end, the ability to spread his extension out cap-wise over 6 years instead of 5 can be a HUGE deal when it comes to keeping the other talent around him, especially since Mack gets QB money and also will be here for several more seasons. Looking at Wentz’s deal it’s strictly an add on beyond his option year. He doesn’t have a cap hit exceeding even $20M until 2021. That’s a HUGE luxury we could really use especially after 2019 when we’re looking at potentially gigantic contracts for Jackson, Whitehair (if not done this offseason) and Floyd. I mention potential labor dispute above because if Mitch isn’t under a longer term deal before the CBA changes it may limit our future control over him, which would potentially mean future extensions and more money sooner for contract 3. Pace has to consider those factors too, and there is a lot of value in cost certainty even if that cost may be a bit higher than he’d like short term.