Back at the NFL Combine last month, Bears general manager Ryan Pace was asked what he wanted to see in terms of offensive growth from his team in 2019. His response was telling:
“I think we’re an exciting offense to watch and I think we’ve got a lot of pieces that can do a lot of different things and that’s only going to grow in Year 2,” Pace said. “Now from a personnel standpoint, do we need to add to that? Yes. Do we want to get faster and more explosive? Yes. And that’s our challenge.”
The Bears will get faster more explosive on offense with the addition of Cordarrelle Patterson, who is reportedly expected to sign a two-year, $10 million deal with the Bears on Wednesday when the new league year begins. These sort of deals for important reserve/depth pieces are what the Bears can be expected to hammer out moving forward, not a big-splash signing, after freeing up $11 million in cap space Tuesday morning.
Patterson’s best value, of course, is as a kick returning solution for a team that averaged a league-worst 19.1 yards per kick return in 2018. He’ll keep Anthony Miller and Tarik Cohen away from kick returns, which is a win in itself given Miller’s shoulder problems and Cohen’s role in the Bears’ offense. Patterson returned a kick for a touchdown against the Bears in Week 7 last year.
But he can play all over the field on offense, including at running back, where the New England Patriots gave him a shot in 2018:
Cordarrelle Patterson's offensive snaps by alignment in 2018— PFF CHI Bears (@PFF_Bears) March 13, 2019
Wide Receiver: 52.9%
Slot Receiver: 26.2%
Tight end: 3.0%#Bears
Patterson ran a 4.42 second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine in 2013 and was a first-round pick of the Minnesota Vikings later that year. At 6-foot-2, 220 pounds, he can be used to create favorable matchups by Matt Nagy with his speed and versatility to line up in the backfield, slot and out wide.
Lmao bruh chill https://t.co/QpSbaxpaN1— cordarrelle patterson (@ceeflashpee84) March 13, 2019
The Bears needed a reserve receiver behind their primary trio of Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel and Anthony Miller, they needed a kick returner and they needed to add an element of explosiveness to their offense. Agreeing to terms with Patterson would appear to accomplish all three of those goals.