How Good Will the New Look Chicago Bears Be?

This offseason has seen everything so far - key re-signings, surprising contract restructures, departure of key players, a retirement, and new additions brought in to help the Chicago Bears push for a championship. The Bears, along with their jerseys, will look a little different from what they had last year during their NFC North championship campaign. The Bears announced they will unveil a new ‘classic’ jersey on June 7th at their centennial celebration. The team will also wear a commemorative patch on their jerseys this upcoming season. For the first time since 2010, the Bears will be the hunted instead of the hunters as the reigning NFC North champions. Can Mitchell Trubisky, Khalil Mack and co. duplicate the success from a season ago and bring the Lombardi trophy to Chicago for the first time since 1985?

Key Re-signings

Contract Restructures

  • OL Kyle Long - took $2.9M less in ‘19 (was due $8.9M), but could make $2.5M of that back in incentives.
  • OLB Khalil Mack - Bears are converting $13M of Mack’s salary and roster bonus into a signing bonus, which will create $11M in salary-cap space.

Key Departures

Retirement 

  • Veteran TE Zach Miller has announced he will retire after battling a gruesome leg injury suffered in Week 8 of 2017 against the New Orleans Saints that nearly cost him his leg. Miller finishes his career with 146 catches for 1,631 yards and 15 touchdowns.

New Additions

  •  signed K Chris Blewitt
  • signed K Redford Jones
  • signed K Elliott Fry - Previous Team: Orlando Apollos (AAF)
  • signed RB Mike Davis - Previous Team: Seattle Seahawks
  • signed DB Buster Skrine - Previous Team: New York Jets
  • signed WR Cordarrelle Patterson - Previous Team: New England Patriots
  • signed S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix - Previous Team: Washington Redskins
  • signed OL Ted Larsen - Previous Team: Miami Dolphins
  • signed WR Marvin Hall - Previous Team: Atlanta Falcons

Final Thoughts

The Bears came into the off-season as one of the teams with the least amount of cap space to work with, yet somehow general manager Ryan Pace was able to work his magic to make some moves to free up some money so he could add some pieces. Some key free agents that many hoped would resign with the team found a home elsewhere, but Pace has made some smart investments into their replacements. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, who was star safety Eddie Jackson’s college teammate, was signed to a one-year “prove-it” contract and was a Pro Bowl player as recently as 2016. Cordarrelle Patterson is also one of those multi-talented players who can line up at any skill position so it will be interesting to see how head coach Matt Nagy will use him in this offense. All season there were insinuations that Jordan Howard wasn’t a fit for this type of offense, yet many were still shocked that the Bears traded away the stud RB and the value (or the lack thereof) Chicago received in return. If Howard jumps back into Pro Bowl form in Philly, it might make this trade look like one of the biggest robberies of recent memory.

The optimism is as high for the Chicago Bears as it has ever been in recent memory. Newly signed safety Clinton-Dix has stated he turned down more money elsewhere in favor of chasing a ring, playing alongside his former college teammate and the top-ranked defense from a season ago. That statement should get every Bear fan excited as their team is now viewed as a top free agent destination and a Super Bowl contender.

The Bears opened a lot of eyes last season during their 12-4 campaign, and the NFL took notice, placing the Monsters of the Midway in six nationally televised time games in 2019. This time, they won't be sneaking up on anyone.

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