Bears

Packers' Prez: We want to be at bargaining table

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Packers' Prez: We want to be at bargaining table

Tuesday, March 15, 2011
11:55 a.m.

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

It may be hard for some Bears fans to accept but a Green Bay figure has a lot to add to the current stalled state of affairs between NFL owners and players.

Few in the business of football compare to Mark Murphy for insights and perspectives. The president of the Green Bay Packers is a former Pro Bowl safety with a background in law and I was fortunate to get to know Mark during his time heading up athletics at Northwestern, and he is the goods.

So I was particularly interested in his weighing in with Mike Florio on Pro Football Talk Live on Tuesday, because this is a true bright bulb with ideas and an understanding of both sides, as a former player involved in negotiations and now as a member of the NFL Management Council.

We want to get back to the bargaining table, Mark said unequivocally. We liked the mediation process.

At this point any olive branch is solid gold, and someone like Mark was offering some if in no other way than just the lack of inflammatory rhetoric.

Were never going to get closer to an agreement by going back and forth at each other publicly, he said.

What was a tad surprising was Marks observation that, for all the sniping, theres a level of respect between the two sides that was not there in the 80s. Thats good to know, although its tough to see it sometimes.

Agent Drew Rosenhaus followed Mark and shared some of the mounting angst that is afflicting players, coaches, organizations, just about everyone.

This is really so bad for our game, Drew said. But I dont believe in the blame game. I dont believe in pointing fingers.

He is among those advocating players not sit around, literally, until something gets worked out. These guys need to stay in shape because its their livelihood, Drew said. Im advising guys to work out.. But Im not advising organized team activities because there could be injuries and those are not covered right now.

Like Murphy, the point was not to heap abuse on the other side. As far as NFL owners, theyre not the enemy, Drew said. Theyre our partners.

John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com's Bears Insider, and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.

With Leonard Floyd going on injured reserve, will the Bears have a pressing need at outside linebacker in 2018?

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USA TODAY

With Leonard Floyd going on injured reserve, will the Bears have a pressing need at outside linebacker in 2018?

The Bears placed Leonard Floyd on injured reserve Thursday morning, ending the second-year outside linebacker’s season following a knee injury suffered Sunday against the Detroit Lions. Floyd suffered an MCL and PCL injury and will have surgery in the next week, coach John Fox said, and the Bears do not have a timetable for his recovery yet. But that Floyd didn't suffer damage to his ACL is potentially good news for Floyd's recovery timetable. 

Still, with Floyd on injured reserve and out for the season, the Bears’ current outside linebacker depth chart consists of two veterans (Pernell McPhee and Sam Acho) and two practice squad signees (Isaiah Irving and Howard Jones). These final six games of the 2017 season could serve as auditions for all four players for roles on the 2018 Bears. 

If every team needs at least three good pass rushers, the Bears can count on Akiem Hicks and Floyd for 2018, provided Floyd comes back healthy. But who’s the third?

The Bears could save about $7.5 million in cap space if they release McPhee in 2018; if they were to cut ties with Willie Young, who’s on injured reserve right now as well, it would provide $4.5 million in cap relief. McPhee will be 29 in December, while Young will turn 33 next September. 

The Bears won’t necessarily need the cap relief next year, and could certainly decide to keep both players, who’ve shown they’re still productive when healthy. But even if both players are back, the Bears may need to add another outside linebacker via free agency of the draft — remember, the team could’ve began the season with Floyd, Young, McPhee, Acho and Lamarr Houston as their outside linebackers; an injury Houston suffered in the fourth preseason game ended his time in Chicago. 

Needs at wide receiver and cornerback are pressing, but outside linebacker may need to be in that same conversation. If the Bears have a top-10 pick for the fourth consecutive year, plus some cap space, they perhaps could have the ability to address all three needs in March and April. 

That may be looking a little too far into the future, though. The best-case for the Bears is McPhee finishes the season strong and Irving and/or Jones shows something in the opportunities they receive in these final six games (Jones, for what it’s worth, had five sacks as a rookie with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2015). But the worst-case — and perhaps the most realistic — is that the Bears go into the offseason needing to fill at least one pass-rushing spot. 

Under Center Podcast: Can Mitch Trubisky follow Carson Wentz’s path to stardom?

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Under Center Podcast: Can Mitch Trubisky follow Carson Wentz’s path to stardom?

JJ Stankevitz and John “Moon” Mullin are joined by NBC Sports Philadelphia Eagles reporter Dave Zangaro to offer an encouraging connection between Carson Wentz’s growth and that of Mitchell Trubisky.

Check out the entire podcast here: