Bears

15 Most Important Bears of 2018: No. 11 - Tarik Cohen

15 Most Important Bears of 2018: No. 11 - Tarik Cohen

Tarik Cohen has a chance to become a special player for the Bears, both on and off the field. His dynamic athleticism and larger-than-life personality have superstar potential, and with a bigger role in Matt Nagy's offense this season, he setting up to be Chicago's biggest headliner.

Cohen will be given every chance to carve out his niche in the Bears' offense early in the year. He'll be used in a variety of ways by Nagy as a runner and receiver, and it won't simply be as a gadget player. Nagy spoke highly of Cohen's ability to run both inside and outside, so expect traditional running plays to be on his call sheet when Cohen is in the game, too. 

MORE: Most Important Bears of 2018: 15 - Taylor Gabriel, 14 - Trey Burton, 13 - Danny Trevathan, 12 - Eddie Jackson

What really separates Cohen from any other running back on the roster is his ability to run routes like a skilled wide receiver. He's arguably the team's biggest mismatch; there's no linebacker or safety in the NFL that can cover him in space. Cohen has been compared to Darren Sproles because of his height (or lack thereof) and overall skill set, and it's a fair assessment. 

In 2011, Sproles, then a member of the Saints, ran for 603 yards and added another 710 as a receiver. He scored nine total touchdowns in a stat line that seems very much within reach for Cohen in 2018. Essentially, Cohen's production from his rookie season could double.

And don't forget about his electrifying skill set as a kick returner. He's been recognized this offseason as one of the NFL's best young return men because of his 855 total return yards last year.

Cohen is so critically important to the Bears' success this year for a variety of reasons, but most importantly, he will be Nagy's superhero for the offense. If a big play is needed, it's Cohen who will be at the top of his list to target. And if he delivers for Nagy and builds confidence within the coaching staff, his role will only continue to grow.

Saints’ QB Teddy Bridgewater expected to have a hefty price tag in free agency

Saints’ QB Teddy Bridgewater expected to have a hefty price tag in free agency

The NFL offseason is gearing up this winter, with trade and salary rumors running rampant among analysts and fans. Bears GM Ryan Pace has his work cut out for him, with a decently sized to-do list before the 2020 season, including finding competition under center for QB Mitch Trubisky. From Tom Brady to Philip Rivers, there are plenty of quarterback options, but one player may be too expensive for the Bears.

ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reports Saints’ QB Teddy Bridgewater is expected to rake in big money in free agency. With a projected salary to the tune of $30 million per year, Bridgewater could land a lucrative deal.

It makes some sense Bridgewater could come with such a hefty price tag. He earned above-average rankings in adjusted yards per attempt (15th), QB Rating (11th), TD Rate (13th) and completion rate (6th) among 38 QBs to start at least five games in 2019. If Drew Brees decides to keep playing, the Saints will have to choose between Bridgewater and Taysom Hill as their backup.

Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer previously reported if Brees were to retire, the Saints viewed Hill as their new franchise quarterback, leaving Bridgewater free to explore other options.

It has yet to be seen how Brees and the Saints will proceed, but it’s certainly a reality check to see how expensive the QB market will be this offseason. 

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Bears could use a quarterback like the XFL's standout passer

Bears could use a quarterback like the XFL's standout passer

The XFL is two weeks into its inaugural season, and there's one player who's standing head and shoulders above the rest as a viable NFL prospect at the game's most important position.

Houston Roughnecks quarterback P.J. Walker has taken the league by storm. His three touchdown passes in Week 1 set the table for another impressive performance in Houston's Week 2 victory over the St. Louis Battlehawks, and looked every bit the part of a dual-threat playmaker that's quickly become the modern-era prototype.

Take a look:

Walker tossed another three touchdowns while looking like the best player on the field (and in the entire XFL) for the second week in a row. Whether his game can translate to success on the NFL level is a big unknown at this point. He spent two seasons on the Colts practice squad without seeing any regular-season action.

Walker's early-season success is a great example of how developmental leagues like the XFL can serve as a feeder for the NFL at positions of need. Quarterback is no exception, especially in Chicago where Mitch Trubisky is in the most uncertain offseason of his career. 

This isn't to suggest that a player like Walker is appealing enough to be the guy GM Ryan Pace adds to the roster as potential competition for Trubisky. But as a possible QB3 behind Trubisky and an established veteran added in free agency? It isn't the worst idea in the world, especially after seeing the kind of playmaking ability he has when given a chance to get on the field.

XFL players can make the jump to the NFL after the 2020 season concludes. The championship game Is scheduled for April 26.