2018 NFL Free Agency: Updates on everything Bears

2018 NFL Free Agency: Updates on everything Bears
CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 24: Cameron Meredith #81 of the Chicago Bears stands for the national anthem prior to the start of the game against the Washington Redskins at Soldier Field on December 24, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

On Monday, I broke down the top positional needs and options for the Bears heading into free agency. If you didn't have a chance to read that, take a look (LINK).

The tampering period for free agency started this afternoon and teams have already been making moves.

Here's a look at what the Bears have done.

Chase Daniel is the new backup quarterback

The Bears found a veteran backup quarterback to pair with Mitch Trubisky. On Wednesday, the team came to terms with 31-year-old passer Chase Daniel on a two-year, $10 million deal ($7 million in guaranteed money), per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Daniel has spent eight years in the NFL between New Orleans, Kansas City and Philadelphia. He has familiarity with both Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace.

Daniel has thrown just 78 career passes while making two starts. He owns a 1-1 record all-time. The former Missouri standout has made a nice living as a backup. The goal is for him to be an on-field mentor for Trubisky in the quarterback room much like Mark Sanchez was this past season.

Prince Amukamara and Sam Acho return to the defense

After landing a one-year, $7 million deal a year ago, Prince Amukamara has earned a three-year, $27 million deal, per ESPN's Dan Graziano. The 28-year-old started 12 of 14 games played last season for the Bears. Although he has no interceptions in two seasons (2016 with Jacksonville), he is a smart corner who provides continuity opposite Kyle Fuller. This takes cornerback off the early needs in the draft.

Another defender cashing in was Sam Acho. One of the best guys in the league in terms of locker room presence (similar to Charles Tillman years ago), Acho signed a two-year, $7.5 million deal with $3 million guaranteed, according to his brother Emmanuel Acho. Sam Acho recorded three sacks in 2017 after having one to his name over the previous two years in Chicago. He is a key rotational outside linebacker which is important considering the lack of depth there currently.

TE Trey Burton and speedster Taylor Gabriel add a new dimension

A key cog in the Super Bowl for the touchdown pass on the now famous "Philly Special" play latched on with the Bears on a four-year, $32 million deal, per Ian Rapoport. That is tight end Trey Burton. He has six starts in four seasons in Philadelphia along with 63 catches, 629 yards and six touchdowns.

An undrafted free agent out of Florida, Burton is now a starting tight end in the NFL. He is expected to be atop of the depth chart with second-year man Adam Shaheen learning next to him. Dion Sims will see $4 million of his $6 million kick on Friday if the Bears don't release him before then.

The other addition to the offense on Tuesday is speed demon Taylor Gabriel on a four-year deal, per ESPN's Andrew Hawkins. We've seen Johnny Knox and Devin Hester before do some special things, but Gabriel is a polished receiver and can break one at any point.

The 5’8” burner had a career year (549 yards and 6 TD’s) in Atlanta in 2016. An undrafted rookie out of Abilene Christian (the school that featured former Bears safety Danieal Manning), Gabriel has 132 receptions for 1,819 yards and eight touchdowns between Cleveland (2014-15) and Atlanta (2016-17).

Mitch Trubisky has to be pleased with how general manager Ryan Pace has attacked free agency.

Projected offensive depth chart: QB - Trubisky, RB - Howard and Cohen, WR - Robinson, Meredith, Gabriel, White and Bellamy, TE - Burton and Shaheen, OL - Leno Jr., TBD, Whitehair, Long and Massie

K Cody Parkey is the new field goal man

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that the Bears will be signing kicker Cody Parkey. The 26-year-old kicker made 21 of 23 attempts last season. He owns a career 86.4 field goal percentage. Parkey will provide consistency on field goal tries and special teams, a spot that has been slacking since Robbie Gould was cut in 2016.

WR Allen Robinson comes on board to start Tuesday

The Bears made a huge splash on Tuesday by reaching a deal (pending a physical) with 24-year-old wide receiver Allen Robinson on a three-year, $42 million deal with $25 million in guaranteed money, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Sammy Watkins earned a bigger payday (three years, $48 million with $30 million guaranteed).

Robinson appeared in just one game a year ago suffering a torn ACL wiping out his 2017. He should be back in time for camp in Bourbonnais and instantly move to the top of the wide receiver depth chart. His 6'3" frame and catch radius will be a game changer for the Bears who lacked any real downfield threats last season. A 2015 Pro Bowler, Robinson is a rare free agent gem that should pay off for the Bears.

A 2014 second round pick out of Penn State, Robinson has 202 receptions, 2,848 yards and 22 touchdowns in his four-year career. The 6'3" pass catcher totaled 1,400 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2015. He took to Twitter to show off his customized Bulls jersey with his last name "Robinson II" (LINK).

WR's Cameron Meredith and Josh Bellamy earn original round tenders

Both wide receiver Cameron Meredith and Josh Bellamy were given original round tenders at $1.907 million, per the Chicago Tribune. That means the Bears can match any offer from other teams, but won't receive compensation if they choose to not sign either player. They have the right of first refusal.

It is a surprise to me that the Bears didn't give Meredith a better tender. This is a vulnerable spot for them but the team has a ton of cap space and could be letting him set his own market. The 25-year-old is coming off a torn ACL suffered in the third preseason game this past season. However, he proved rather quickly two years ago that he is a legitimate starting wideout (66 catches, 888 yards and four touchdowns in 14 games). As for Bellamy, I think they'll be okay keeping the 28-year-old special teamer/depth receiver.

Note: the restricted free agency period ends on April 20. After that, restricted free agents who earn tenders are only allowed to negotiate with the franchise they played for this past season.

CB Bryce Callahan gets slapped with an original round tender

Just like Meredith and Bellamy, slot corner Bryce Callahan earned an original round tender at $1.907 million from the Bears on Monday. The 26-year-old Rice product came away with a career-best two interceptions this past season. Injuries have allowed him to only play in 32 games over three seasons. A corner-needy team could come calling for Callahan's services.

OL Bradley Sowell re-ups for two more seasons

Signed last May to a one-year deal, Bradley Sowell proved to be a versatile offensive lineman for the Bears. Enough so, that the team announced that the 28-year-old has been re-signed for two more years. He appeared in all 16 games, making two starts (one at left guard and one at right tackle). Sowell has 23 starts to his name in six NFL seasons.

LS Patrick Scales won't return

The Bears won’t tender long snapper Patrick Scales, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. The veteran missed all of 2017 with a torn ACL. He was the team's snapper for all of 2016 and five games the season prior. Andrew DePaola served as a replacement and is a free agent. The Bears have zero specialists under contract with no kicker or punter as well.

How do you feel about the current state of the Bears?

Comment below.

Make sure to follow Jake on Twitter, @Bearsbacker and on Facebook for up to the minute news about the Chicago Bears.


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