With the new league year and free agency period officially beginning March 13, many teams are looking to be big spenders and the Chicago Bears are no different. General Manager Ryan Pace and the Bears have been busy this offseason making cap-clearing moves as they look to build on a mostly successful 2018-19 campaign. Veteran defensive backs Adrian Amos and Bryce Callahan are set to hit the market, so it would be in the Bears best interest to resign them or sign suitable replacements as former Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano takes over last season’s top-ranked defense (Editor's update - Adrian Amos has reportedly agreed to sign with the Green Bay Packers).
Cody Parkey Gone
In news that will surely make many Bears fans happy, the Bears will cut Cody Parkey when the new year begins on March 13. Chicago Bears coach Matt Nagy has confirmed on NFL Network's Good Morning Football that he has spoken to Parkey and informed him of the decision. “We’ve talked to Cody and Cody knows we’re going in a different direction,” said Nagy. “It was a healthy talk, he took it like a true professional. We wish him the best.” Even before the “Double Doink” miss in the Bears wildcard loss to the Eagles, Parkey had struggled this season. He missed seven field goals and three extra-point tries.
Bears Cut Dion Sims
The Bears have terminated the contract of veteran tight end Dion Sims. Sims had one year remaining on the three-year, $18 million contract he signed in 2017. He appeared in eight games in 2018, spending half of the season on injured reserve after suffering a concussion in the November 4th road win over the Buffalo Bills. He caught only two passes for 9 yards. The move frees up $6 million in cap space, leaving Trey Burton and Adam Shaheen as the only tight ends under contract, though the team has agreed to a 2-year contract with Ben Braunecker, keeping him in the fold. Sims, the former Michigan State Spartan has struggled with injuries so it comes as no shock as the Bears look in a different direction.
Bears Cut Sam Acho
Veteran Sam Acho was cut after spending the last four years as a Chicago Bear. A leader in the locker room well-liked by his teammates and coaches in Chicago, Acho played just four games in 2018 before landing on injured reserve with a torn pectoral muscle. Cutting Acho saves the Bears $2.125 million in cap space.
Kyle Long: Bear For Life
The Bears cleared up some additional salary cap space this offseason by agreeing to a restructured contract for offensive guard Kyle Long, who tweeted at the time he’s a “Bear for Life.”
Long agreed to a 1 year, $4.1 fully guaranteed restructured contract with the Bears that includes an $8.1 million option for 2020. This move clears up $2.9 million of cap space for them this year. Next offseason, however, Ryan Pace will have to decide to accept the option of the oft-injured Long’s contract who will be 31 years old that season.
Finding a Kicker
Many thought a Robbie Gould - Chicago Bears reunion was in the books, however, the San Francisco 49ers had different plans. The veteran kicker, who played in Chicago from 2005 to 2015 and even was in attendance for the Wildcard loss to the Eagles, was set to hit free agency and the Bears were looking to bring him back as they move on from Cody Parkey. After failing to agree to a long term deal, San Francisco placed a franchise tag meaning Gould will not hit the open market for at least another year. A huge blow for the Bears and their kicking woes.
The Bears have since signed former University of Pittsburgh kicker Chris Blewitt and Tulsa product Redford Jones to the roster. The Bears hope one of these kickers can emulate the success of Gould, who is the second most accurate kicker in NFL history behind Justin Tucker, as he left big shoes that no kicker has been able to fill since leaving the Bears in 2015.
Jordan Howard on the Move?
Jordan Howard may be wearing a new uniform next season. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, “Multiple teams approached the Chicago Bears at the combine last week and discussed a potential trade” for Howard, with “discussions ongoing.” Howard, 24, has an up-and-down season for the Bears in 2018, accumulating 935 yards on 250 carries and nine touchdowns.
Howard's 3.7 yards-per-carry were a career low, and the emergence of Tarik Cohen ate into some of his overall touches. His trade value has taken a hit as a result, with most experts believing he could net a “day 3” pick meaning between rounds 4-7. The Bears were one of the teams believed to be looking into signing Kareem Hunt, however, he has since signed with the Cleveland Browns.
Another veteran running back the Bears are rumored to be interested in is Adrian Peterson. Former Minnesota Vikings coach Brad Childress is expected to join Matt Nagy’s staff in an assistant/consultant role, working with the Bears offense. Peterson played under Childress for the Vikings between 2007 and 2010. Peterson rushed for 1,042 yards and seven touchdowns on 251 carries last season, proving he has some gas left in the tank. At 34 years old, Peterson could be a cost-effective replacement should the Bears look to move on from Howard.
The Bears did agree to a 2-year deal with former Seattle Seahawks free agent running back Mike Davis this week, so it's unclear whether the team is interested in any other backs at this point.
Of course, there is still one notable back still on the market as of this writing, Pittsburgh Steelers All-Pro Le'Veon Bell. While the Bears have been rumored to be interested in him, it's unclear whether he fits into their plans or budget.