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More On Why Pace May Have Passed On Callahan


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Insight into why Chicago Bears parted with Bryce Callahan

The Bears decided to pay Buster Skrine and not Bryce Callahan.  Here’s a big reason why.

I don’t think there are too many NFL analysts around that if you asked them if you’d rather have a healthy Buster Skrine or a healthy Bryce Callahan playing slot corner for your team, that they would say Skrine.

Bryce Callahan is a superior talent to that of Skrine. Callahan helped make the Chicago Bears’ 2018 defense the best in the league, and while the defense still played well once Callahan was out and Sherrick McManis filled in for him, it certainly didn’t go unnoticed that Golden Tate’s game winning touchdown catch in the playoffs came on McManis’ coverage.

Would it have been different if Callahan was on the field? A question that’s impossible to answer but easy to speculate.

The Bears signed Skrine to a 3-year contract with an AAV of $5.5 million a year. Plenty of Chicago area writers said the Bears’ wanted to keep Callahan, but he eventually signed a 3-year, $21 million deal with the Denver Broncos.

The Bears guaranteed $8.5 million to Skrine, meanwhile the Broncos guaranteed $10 million to Callahan.

It’s hard to imagine why the Bears would go with Skrine while only saving $1.5 million in guaranteed money and an AAV that’s only $1.5 million less as well.

But that’s coming more and more into focus.

Ryan O'HalloranVerified account @ryanohalloran

Fangio said Phillip Lindsay and Bryce Callahan unlikely to be ready for bonus minicamp which is week of the draft.

8:57 AM - 24 Mar 2019

It’s April. OTAs are right around the corner and Callahan still isn’t healthy.

We saw how Ryan Pace handled the Cam Meredith contract negotiations. Players that are dealing with injuries, potentially serious or nagging ones, do not get much love from this particular Bears’ front office.

Callahan has dealt with injuries every season of his career. Those injuries are adding up and it’s reaching a fulcrum point with Callahan where you have to start asking if the injuries and dealing with said injuries are going to hamper his play at an increasing rate.

The Bears clearly were not comfortable guaranteeing Callahan any money into the second year of his contract. Skrine has played at least 14 games in every season of his 8-year career. Bryce Callahan has never played more than 13.

The Bears don’t like injury prone players. Kyle Long had to take a massive pay cut just to stay on the roster and he’s one of the leaders in the locker room. Callahan’s injuries were too much and with reports now that he won’t even be ready to workout a month from now (information that obviously the Bears had), it has to make you wonder when the risk is just too high.

The Bears determined that they had reached that point with Callahan. A team without much cap space simply couldn’t guarantee that much money to an injury prone player. The players the Bears commit to they need a level of certainty that they are going to be out there for 16 (or close to 16) games a season.

Injuries are always a risk in the NFL, and Pace has proved that if your risk factor is higher than most, you won’t be getting any long-term dollars from his front office. Callahan was a victim of his own body’s deficiencies, it had nothing to do with his play on the field.

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I think we have to give Pace credit for having learned from past mistakes.

Antrel Rolle: 1yr/7 starts out of 16 games

Eddie Royal:  2yrs/10 starts out of 32 games

Markus Wheaton: 1yr/0 starts out of 16 games

No doubt Denver got a very good CB if they can keep him on the field.  We couldn't.  After having been burned on several occasions by FA he signed missing many so games Pace simply won't risk much guaranteed money on those type of deals any longer.  No doubt Callahan > Skrine but Skrine is also > then McManis over 16 games so as with Callahan we can use McManis for depth and keep him on ST where he's more valuable to us.

Note:  Although most objected to his decision last March it seem Pace called his shot correctly with Cam Meredith as well.

Receiving & Rushing

  Games Receiving Rushing Total Yds      
Year Age Tm Pos No. G GS Tgt Rec Yds Y/R TD Lng R/G Y/G Ctch% Rush Yds TD Lng Y/A Y/G A/G Touch Y/Tch YScm RRTD Fmb AV
Career       31 11 123 86 1122 13.0 5 50 2.8 36.2   1 6 0 6 6.0 0.2 0.0 87 13.0 1128 5 4 8
2 yrs CHI     25 10 113 77 1008 13.1 4 50 3.1 40.3   1 6 0 6 6.0 0.2 0.0 78 13.0 1014 4 3 7
1 yr NOR     6 1 10 9 114 12.7 1 46 1.5 19.0                 9 12.7 114 1 1 1
2015 23 CHI   81 11 0 16 11 120 10.9 0 22 1.0 10.9 68.8%               11 10.9 120 0 0 1
2016 24 CHI WR 81 14 10 97 66 888 13.5 4 50 4.7 63.4 68.0% 1 6 0 6 6.0 0.4 0.1 67 13.3 894 4 3 6
2018 26 NOR wr 81 6 1 10 9 114 12.7 1 46 1.5 19.0 90.0%               9 12.7 114 1 1 1
 
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As much as we all liked Callahan we are seeing a pattern with Pace when it comes to our free agents.  The ones that are injury risks, he seems to offer mostly incentive money, but most likely he will let walk, or get rid of.  We need to keep this in mind next off season with this becomes an issue

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The Eddie Royal deal is where we really got burned by guaranteeing him $10 mil and couldn't just release him in year two without paying him.

The deal Callahan got from Denver also guarantees him $10 mil provided he's still on the roster in March 2020 before the new league year begins. So if Callahan continues to miss starts Denver will have a major decision to make whether or not to pay him his 2020 roster bonus in March or release him.

With his LTBE 2019 per game bonuses ($406,250) if he plays 13 games they will have paid him $6.9 mil and $7 mil if he plays all 16. Worse case scenario for Callahan is $6.5 mil gtd if he never plays a single reg. season game in Denver.

Skrine is actually guaranteed $2 mil more upfront but $1.5 mil less overall and somehow Pace must have felt far more assured of his availability so I guess we'll see how it all comes out in the wash.  But I'd say there's no question Callahan's injury history was a major issue for Pace.

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