2020 NFL Offseason: Chicago Bears

Chicago Bears (Last Year: 8-8)

2020 NFL Season Preview:

Veteran Additions:
QB Nick Foles, WR Ted Ginn, TE Jimmy Graham, OT/G Germain Ifedi, DE Robert Quinn, DE/OLB Barkevious Mingo, CB Artie Burns, S Tashaun Gipson, S Jordan Lucas.
Early Draft Picks:
TE Cole Kmet, CB Jaylon Johnson. Bears Rookie Forecast
Offseason Losses:
QB Chase Daniel, WR Taylor Gabriel, TE Trey Burton, G Kyle Long, DT Nick Williams, DE/OLB Leonard Floyd, DE/OLB Aaron Lynch, LB Nick Kwiatkoski, LB Kevin Pierre-Louis.

2020 Chicago Bears Offense:
Mitchell Trubisky was heavily blamed for the Bears’ struggles in 2019 compared to what the team accomplished the previous season. Most of his stats regressed, particularly his YPA, which plummeted from 7.4 to 6.1. What really stands out is his rushing yardage, which declined from 421 to 193. It was staggering to see Trubisky be reluctant to scramble as much as he did in 2018. His legs are his best asset, so it’s inexplicable that he didn’t want to take advantage of that in most games. The newly acquired Nick Foles won’t do that either, but he’s a much smarter quarterback than Trubisky, so he gives Chicago more of a chance.

While Trubisky certainly played worse, the biggest factor for Chicago’s regression was the offensive line. Chicago had a great blocking unit in 2018, but the group struggled in comparison last year. Guard Kyle Long barely played and then was ultimately forced into retirement. Tackles Charles Leno and Bobby Massie, who performed well in 2018, both took a big step backward this past season. It’s possible that age has played a factor with both, but the Bears seemingly didn’t recognize this because they failed to address the position during the offseason.

The Bears barely did anything to bolster the interior of their offensive line as well. They signed Germain Ifedi away from the Seahawks, but he was a major bust for them. He probably won’t even start, as the main trio figures to be guards James Daniels and Rashaad Coward and center Cody Whitehair. Daniels and Whitehair are both solid, while Coward figures to be a big liability.

With the blocking likely to be just as bad or worse than it was last season, second-year running back David Montgomery likely won’t perform well in 2020. Montgomery was a big disappointment as a rookie, averaging just 3.7 yards per carry. Tarik Cohen is still in the backfield, but the Bears don’t seem to utilize him often enough for some reason.

The strength of Chicago’s offense is the receiving corps, headlined by Allen Robinson, who is coming off an amazing season. Anthony Miller also played well at times, especially late in the year when he had a stretch where he caught six or more passes in four of five games. Meanwhile, the Bears also have a pair of tight ends worth noting. They paid lots of money to Jimmy Graham even though the veteran has been in sharp decline in recent years. Because signing Graham opened up a need at tight end, the Bears spent their initial selection in the 2020 NFL Draft on Cole Kmet, a tight end who was selected earlier than he should have been.

2020 Chicago Bears Defense:
The Bears had an elite defense in 2018, which is primarily why they won the division and were a missed field goal away from advancing to the divisional round of the playoffs. The unit was still great last year, but was slightly less potent, surrendering one more point per game. The Bears lost a couple of key players – cornerback Bryce Callahan and safety Adrian Amos – which would explain why there was a slight dip.

Whether or not the Bears have another slight decline depends on the play of linebacker Roquan Smith. The former first-rounder has struggled through his two NFL seasons thus far, but he has the athleticism and upside to finally live up to his talent level. The reason why it’s so imperative that he finally do so is that the Bears allowed linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski to leave via free agency. Kwiatkoski was a key player in Chicago’s defense last year next to the aging Danny Trevathan, so he’ll be missed if Smith continues to disappoint.

Meanwhile, the Bears didn’t do much to fill their holes that were created last year. Slot corner is still a liability, as Buster Skrine struggled there in 2019. The Bears used a second-round choice on cornerback Jaylon Johnson, but he figures to start outside across from the solid Kyle Fuller.

As for Amos’ replacement, Chicago brought in Tashaun Gipson in free agency. Gipson is a mediocre player, and he won’t hurt the team too much, but he’s not nearly the same player Amos was. The Bears at least still have Eddie Jackson, who is a dynamic play-maker at the position.

While there are more weaknesses on Chicago’s defense this year, two areas continue to be strength. Khalil Mack is one of the best defensive players in the NFL, regardless of position. He’ll continue to put lots of pressure on opposing quarterbacks. The problem is that the Bears still don’t seem to have a viable edge rusher across from Mack. The team signed Robert Quinn this offseason, who is coming off a big season with Dallas. However, Quinn has been terrible when utilized in the 3-4 through his career, so he may not be able to adjust well to his new team.

The defensive line is also still great. Akiem Hicks is such a dominant presence on the front line. He’ll be joined by monstrous nose tackle Eddie Goldman and Roy Robertson-Harris, who is a well-rounded player.

2020 Chicago Bears Schedule and Intangibles:
Robbie Gould has been missed, to say the least. Chicago has endured kicking woes since he left, which includes Cody Parkey’s repeated goal-post hits. Last year’s kicker, Eddy Pineiro, went 23-of-28, which included a poor 3-of-7 in the 40-49 range.

The Bears were mixed on special teams last year. They were great on kickoffs, but allowed plenty to the opposition.

Pat O’Donnell was one of the league’s worst punters in 2016, ranking 28th in net yardage. He improved to 24th in 2017 and then 17th the following year. He was 22nd in 2019.

The Bears don’t have that difficult of a schedule to start the year, as they’ll take on the Lions, Giants and Falcons. However, they’ll have many more difficult opponents after that.

2020 Chicago Bears Rookies:
Go here for the Bears Rookie Forecast, a page with predictions like which rookie will bust and which rookie will become a solid starter.

2020 Chicago Bears Positional Rankings (1-5 stars):
Offensive Line
Running Backs
Defensive Line
Special Teams

2020 Chicago Bears Analysis: The Bears went from 11-5 in 2018 to 8-8 in 2019, and that was not a surprise, given the decline of their offensive line and their defensive departures. With Kyle Long permanently gone, and some more departures on defense, there’s a good chance Chicago will continue to regress into 2020. In fact, it’s quite possible Chicago will have one of the worst records in the NFL this year.

Projection: 3-13 (4th in NFC North)

2019 Projection: 11-5. 2019 Actual Result: 8-8.
2018 Projection: 10-6. 2018 Actual Result: 12-4.
2017 Projection: 4-12. 2017 Actual Result: 5-11.
2016 Projection: 8-8. 2016 Actual Result: 3-13.

NFL Draft Team Grade: D Grade

Goals Entering the 2020 NFL Draft: The Bears made some mistakes in free agency, and they don’t have enough draft capital to rectify those blunders at the end of this month. What they can do is add some offensive line talent to make sure Nick Foles is protected as well as possible. They could also stand to add another weapon for Foles.

2020 NFL Draft Accomplishments: One of the mistakes the Bears made in free agency was signing Jimmy Graham to a substantial contract. The last thing the Bears needed was a tight end, and yet that’s exactly the position they used with their first choice, selecting Cole Kmet at No. 43. Kmet wasn’t even the consensus No. 1 tight end prospect, so Chicago wasted that selection.

The Bears did better with Jaylon Johnson at No. 50, but that was the only selection of theirs that scored above a B+. Making matters worse, Chicago didn’t even touch its offensive line until the seventh round. It’s almost as if Ryan Pace has no idea why his offense declined so much in 2019. The tackles regressed, while Kyle Long suffered an injury and subsequently retired. Nick Foles’ pass protection will be poor in 2020, and thus Chicago won’t win many games.

This was almost a failure. The Bears made some nice picks like Johnson and Trevis Gipson, but they were very close to earning an “F” grade.

NFL Draft Individual Grades:

43. Cole Kmet, TE, Notre Dame – O’BRIEN Grade
Ryan Pace needs help. I don’t understand why he thinks he needs to spend so many high resources on tight ends, especially when none of them are close to elite. He paid tons of money to Jimmy Graham this offseason, only to select a tight end in the second round? Why!? And why didn’t he pick the tight end some teams had higher on their boards, Adam Trautman? Kmet was not the consensus best player at his position, and Pace could’ve obtained someone similar in the third round, or perhaps someone slightly worse early on Day 3. This is an “F” grade all the way. Pace needs to go.

50. Jaylon Johnson, CB, Utah – A Grade
What, not another tight end? Ryan Pace made up for his latest mistake with Jaylon Johnson, who easily could’ve been chosen toward the end of the opening round. Johnson has great instincts and ball skills, and he’ll help a secondary that regressed a bit in 2019. I love this value.

155. Trevis Gipson, DE, Tulsa – B+ Grade
Thank goodness Ryan Pace didn’t draft another tight end. Trevis Gipson was a highly productive player from Tulsa who possesses good athleticism. He has nice potential, and there’s a chance he could become a starter across from Khalil Mack once the Robert Quinn experiment fails.

163. Kindle Vildor, CB, Georgia Southern – B Grade
Kindle Vildor helped himself with a strong combine, and I had him slotted in this range. Chicago’s secondary wasn’t as good as it was in 2018 because of Bryce Hall’s departure, and there’s a chance Vildor could end up starting in the slot.

173. Darnell Mooney, WR, Tulane – C Grade
I don’t know why the Bears traded up for Darnell Mooney. He’s someone I rarely had in my mock. He has potential, however, as a potentially potent downfield threat. Still, it didn’t seem necessary to give up a resource for him.

226. Arlington Hambright, OT, Colorado – C- Grade
I never imagined that Arlington Hambright, who sounds like a Harry Potter character, would ever be drafted. He should’ve been a UDFA, but I can at least appreciate the Bears addressing their diminished offensive line.

227. Lachavious Simmons, G, Tennessee State – D Grade
I’ll be honest, I never heard of this man. I’m not even sure if he’s a real player. Certainly, he could have been obtained in UDFA, but it’s the seventh round, so it doesn’t matter too much.


Follow @walterfootball for updates.

Season Summary:
The Bears had lots of hope entering 2019, but bad quarterback play and a declining offensive line capsized a once-promising season into an 8-8 finish.

Offseason Moves:
  • Bears sign WR Ted Ginn
  • Bears cut TE Trey Burton
  • Bears sign OT/G Germain Ifedi
  • Bears sign DE/OLB Barkevious Mingo
  • Bears sign S Jordan Lucas
  • Bears sign CB Artie Burns
  • Bears acquire QB Nick Foles from Jaguars
  • Bears sign DE Robert Quinn
  • Bears cut DE/OLB Leonard Floyd
  • Bears sign TE Jimmy Graham
  • Bears cut CB Prince Amukamara
  • Bears cut WR Taylor Gabriel

    Team Needs:
    1. Quarterback: Mitchell Trubisky is not the long-term answer. However, the Bears can’t give up on him quite yet because of financial reasons, so they should bring in a veteran to start in 2020 while Trubisky takes a step back and reevaluates things. Traded for Nick Foles

    2. Offensive Tackle: The offensive line was a big problem for the Bears, as both of their tackles regressed. Perhaps Charles Leno and Bobby Massie were dealing with injuries, but it wouldn’t hurt to bring in some competition.

    3. Guard: Kyle Long has announced his retirement. Signed Germain Ifedi

    4. Two Cornerbacks: A big difference between the 2018 Bears and 2019 Bears, as far as their defense was concerned, was the downgrade at slot cornerback. Bryce Callahan was a far better player than Buster Skrine. Meanwhile, Chicago released Prince Amukamara, so he’ll need to be replaced. Signed Artie Burns

    5. Inside Linebacker: Three of Chicago’s top four inside linebackers – Nick Kwiatkoski, Danny Trevathan, Kevin Pierre-Louis – are all impending free agents, so some replacements might be needed. Re-signed Danny Trevathan

    6. Safety: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is another key player who needs to be re-signed or replaced.

    7. Wide Receiver: The Bears could use a solid second receiver to go along with Allen Robinson and Anthony Miller in the slot. Signed Ted Ginn

    8. Edge Rusher: Chicago could use edge-rushing depth behind Khalil Mack and Leonard Floyd. Signed Robert Quinn and Barkevious Mingo

      Follow me @walterfootball for updates.

    2020 NFL Free Agent Signings:
    1. Robert Quinn, DE, Cowboys. Age: 30.
      Signed with Bears (5 years, $70 million; $30 mllion guaranteed)

      Robert Quinn looked like the Robert Quinn of old this past season, logging 11.5 sacks. He turns 30 in May, but he should still have one or two more strong years remaining in the tank.

    2. Jimmy Graham, TE, Packers. Age: 33. — Signed with Bears (2 years, $16 million)
    3. Ted Ginn, WR, Saints. Age: 35. — Signed with Bears
    4. Demetrius Harris, TE, Browns. Age: 29. — Signed with Bears
    5. Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, Texans. Age: 29. — Signed with Bears (1 year)
    6. Jordan Lucas, S, Chiefs. Age: 27. — Signed with Bears

    Chicago Bears Free Agents:

    Salary Cap: TBA.
    1. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Bears. Age: 27.
      Signed with Cowboys

      Ha Ha Clinton-Dix was signed to a 1-year “prove it” deal to be Adrian Amos’ replacement. Clinton-Dix performed very well, so he deserves a big contract.

    2. Nick Kwiatkoski, LB, Bears. Age: 27.
      Signed with Raiders

      Danny Trevathan got hurt during the season, but it didn’t matter very much because Nick Kwiatkoski stepped in and played on a high level. He’ll be entering just his fifth year in the league, so there’s definitely reason to believe he could continue to improve.

    3. Danny Trevathan, LB, Bears. Age: 30.
      Re-signed with Bears (3 years, $21.75 million)

      Danny Trevathan never looked quite healthy last year, but could that have been a symptom of age? The 30-year-old will need to rebound from a disappointing 2019 campaign.

    4. Roy Robertson-Harris (RFA), DE/DT, Bears. Age: 27.
      Tendered by Bears (2nd round)

      Roy Robertson-Harris was a strong presence on Chicago’s defensive line this past season. He doesn’t have much experience, so he should continue to improve.

    5. Prince Amukamara, CB, Bears. Age: 31.
      Signed with Raiders

      Prince Amukamara turns 31 this offseason, so regression is coming soon. He played well this past year, but wasn’t the same, talented corner of old. Amukamara also has an extensive injury history – he hasn’t played a full season since 2013 – so he’ll have to sign nothing but 1-year “prove it” contracts going forward.

    6. Kevin Pierre-Louis, LB, Bears. Age: 28.
      Signed with Redskins (1 year)

      Kevin Pierre-Louis performed very well when given a chance to start late in the year. Perhaps this will convince someone to give him a chance to start next year.

    7. Leonard Floyd, DE/OLB, Bears. Age: 27.
      Signed with Rams (1 year, $10 million)

      Leonard Floyd failed to live up to his first-round billing. He notched seven sacks as a rookie, but he’s seen that number regress each year from 4.5, to four, to three. He failed to capitalize off the attention Khalil Mack draws. Floyd could turn out to be a late bloomer, but time will run out soon.

    8. Aaron Lynch, DE/OLB, Bears. Age: 27.
      Aaron Lynch is a talented edge player who stops the run very well. However, he has an extensive history of injuries and off-the-field issues, which makes him a risky player to have on the roster. Lynch struggled in 2019.

    9. Trey Burton, TE, Bears. Age: 28.
      Signed with Colts (1 year)

      Trey Burton had loads of potential with the Eagles, but never lived up to it with his second team. Burton was a huge disappointment, and he also had some hip issues. He’s still young enough, however, to bounce back if he can get healthy.

    10. Chase Daniel, QB, Bears. Age: 33.
      Signed with Lions (3 years, $13.05 million)

      Chase Daniel has been one of the better backup quarterbacks in the NFL over the past several seasons.

    11. Sherrick McManis, S, Bears. Age: 32.
    12. Taylor Gabriel, WR, Bears. Age: 29.
    13. Nick Williams, DE/DT, Bears. Age: 30. — Signed with Lions (2 years, $10 million)
    14. T.J. Clemmings, OT, Bears. Age: 28.
    15. Deon Bush, S, Bears. Age: 27. — Re-signed with Bears (1 year)
    16. Rashaad Coward (RFA), G, Bears. Age: 25.
    17. Isaiah Irving (RFA), LB, Bears. Age: 26.
    18. DeAndre Houston-Carson, S, Bears. Age: 27. — Re-signed with Bears
    19. Bradley Powell, TE, Bears. Age: 31.
    20. Tyler Bray, QB, Bears. Age: 28. — Re-signed with Bears

    NFL Free Agent Tracker:
    QB | RB | FB | WR | TE | OT | G | C | DE | DT | OLB | ILB | CB | S | K/P | FA Grades | FA Rumors

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