Bears

The Bears didn't make a move at the trade deadline, but they did make a statement

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USA TODAY

The Bears didn't make a move at the trade deadline, but they did make a statement

The NFL trading deadline came and went on Tuesday with a flurry of significant activity. Not all of it squared with apparent in-season situations, however, while the Bears were making a quiet statement or two of their own along the extended trading way.

Surveying what did and didn’t go down around the NFL and what some of it suggests.

Earlier this year the Bears took the temperature of the situation with the New England Patriots and Jimmy Garoppolo. They weren’t interested in the Patriots’ price (a first-round pick and more) for the backup quarterback and sat out the final notes of that dance as Garoppolo went to San Francisco on Tuesday for a second-round pick. (The Bears also had made inquiries about Kirk Cousins, just to put this sort of thing in context. Due diligence means at least asking.)

Teams reportedly had interest on Tuesday in trading for Josh Sitton. The Pro Bowl guard remains a Bear, though, with the organization clearly not inclined to weaken the already injury-laced palace guard for quarterback Mitch Trubisky – the biggest reason why GM Ryan Pace didn’t gut his draft arsenal to bring in Garoppolo.

What the Bears did do, however, was trade for depth at wide receiver last week, giving up a conditional late-round pick for Dontrelle Inman. Not the marquee addition that standout Panthers wideout Kelvin Benjamin was for the Buffalo Bills, who gave up a No. 3 and No. 7 in the 2018 draft for a de facto No. 1 receiver.

The Bears at 3-5 project to have a higher draft slot in 2018 than the Bills, who stand 5-2 and are ramping up for a run at the Patriots this year, not next. So why didn’t the Bears make that same offer to Buffalo?

Probably a handful of reasons. For one, Benjamin is due nearly $8.5 million in 2018, the final year of his rookie deal, after which he will be up for a major long-term one. For another, the Bears privately expect to have Cam Meredith and Kevin White back from injuries in 2018, however problematic that hope might be, and had already mentioned an extension for Meredith, a restricted free agent after this season. For a third, Pace already has traded for Inman, invested in Markus Wheaton, faces a decision on Kendall Wright and is expected to draft a receiver next April.

The Seattle Seahawks enhanced Russell Wilson’s protective shield with a deal for Houston left tackle Duane Brown, giving the Texans two draft choices. Those picks were a No. 3 next year and a No. 2 in 2019. Again, the same draft offer from the Bears could have been more enticing, given that the Seahawks project to be picking later than the Bears at this point. But the Bears extended left tackle Charles Leno, who is at left because he didn’t work at right at all when the Bears tried him there. And Brown is 32, due $9.75 million in 2018 and held out for a new contract this year.

Perhaps most notable was any Sitton deal that didn’t happen. The Bears may be rebuilding (EVERY team is rebuilding every year; the only questions are how extensively and what areas), but they were not dumping veterans just to clear cap space or acquire draft picks.

A win-now mindset may be a stretch. But if the Bears undertook the organizational-quitting that multiple MLB teams do every year when the World Series is deemed beyond them, John Fox might as well pack now. And siphoning off any of what talent there is around Trubisky only puts the franchise quarterback at increased physical risk.

The Bears didn’t do that.

Matt Nagy calls Kevin White a 'great weapon' with a new future

Matt Nagy calls Kevin White a 'great weapon' with a new future

Former first-round pick Kevin White hasn't caught a break -- or a touchdown -- through the first three years of his career. He has more season-ending injuries than 100-yard games and after an offseason focused on upgrades at wide receiver, White's future in Chicago beyond 2018 is very much in doubt.

Ryan Pace declined the fifth-year option in White's rookie contract, making this a prove-it year for the pass-catcher who once resembled a blend of Larry Fitzgerald and Dez Bryant during his time at West Virginia.

He's getting a fresh start by new coach Matt Nagy.

"He is healthy and he's really doing well," Nagy told Danny Kanell and Steve Torre Friday on SiriusXM's Dog Days Sports. "We're trying to keep him at one position right now so he can focus in on that."

White can't take all the blame for his 21 catches, 193 yards and zero scores through 48 possible games. He's only suited up for five. Whether it's bad luck or bad bone density, White hasn't had a legitimate chance to prove, on the field, that he belongs.

Nagy's looking forward, not backward, when it comes to 2015's seventh pick overall.

"That's gone, that's in the past," Nagy said of White's first three years. "This kid has a new future with us."

White won't be handed a job, however.

"He's gotta work for it, he's gotta put in the time and effort to do it," Nagy said. "But he will do that, he's been doing it. He's a great weapon, he's worked really hard. He has great size, good speed. We just want him to play football and not worry about anything else."

Nagy on Trubisky: 'He wants to be the best'

Nagy on Trubisky: 'He wants to be the best'

The Bears concluded their second round of OTAs on Thursday with the third and final set of voluntary sessions scheduled for May 29-June 1. Coach Matt Nagy is bringing a new and complicated system to Chicago, so the time spent on the practice field with the offense and quarterback Mitch Trubisky has been invaluable.

"We’ve thrown a lot at Mitch in the last 2 ½ months,” Nagy told Dog Days Sports’ Danny Kanell and Steve Torre on Friday. “He’s digested it really well.”

Nagy’s implementing the same system he operated with the Chiefs, an offense that brought the best out of Redskins quarterback Alex Smith. The former first-overall pick went from potential draft bust to MVP candidate under Andy Reid and Nagy’s watch.

Nagy admitted he and his staff may have been a little too aggressive with the amount of information thrust upon Trubisky so far.  It took five years to master the offense in Kansas City, he said, but the first-year head coach sees a lot of similarities between his current and past quarterbacks.

"These guys are just wired differently,” Nagy said when comparing Trubisky to Smith. “With Mitch, the one thing that you notice each and every day is this kid is so hungry. He wants to be the best. And he’s going to do whatever he needs to do. He’s so focused.”

Smith had the best year of his career in 2017 and much of the credit belongs to Nagy, who served as Smith’s position coach in each season of his tenure in Kansas City. He threw for eight touchdowns and only two interceptions during the five regular season games that Nagy took over play-calling duties last year.

Nagy said Trubisky has a similar attention to detail that Smith brought to the Chiefs’ quarterback room.

"Each and every detail that we give him means something. It’s not just something he writes down in a book. He wants to know the why,” Nagy said of Trubisky. “He’s a good person that is in this for the right reason. His teammates absolutely love him. It was the same thing with Alex [Smith] in Kansas City.”

A locker room that believes in its quarterback is a critically important variable for success, one that Nagy already sees exists in Chicago.

"When you have that as a coach and when you have that as being a quarterback, not everybody has that, and when you have that you’re in a good spot.”