Bears

Bears free agency rumor tracker: Tuesday

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USA Today

Bears free agency rumor tracker: Tuesday

After the Bears agreed to a deal with Allen Robinson in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, the NFL rumor mill continues to churn...

9:00 p.m. update

CB Prince Amukamara

The news: His deal is worth $27 million over three years

Amukamara gets the multi-year deal he wanted after playing on one-year deals in each of the last two seasons. Amukamara made $7 million in 2017, so he gets a pay raise in terms of average annual value. Around $18 million of his contract is guaranteed, too:

That's a lot of money to tie up in a cornerback to then draft a cornerback in April, presuming the Bears don't surprisingly lose Kyle Fuller to an outlandish offer sheet. 

7:45 p.m. update

CB Prince Amukamara

The news: Will re-sign with the Bears

This isn't surprising given the Bears probably didn't want to pay $22-$25 million in 2018 for their two starting cornerbacks (few, if any teams, would want to do that). Amukamara was solid, if not spectacular, in 2017: He didn't pick off any passes, but he wasn't targeted as frequently as Kyle Fuller was. His veteran leadership resonates in the Bears' defensive backs room, too. 

QB Mike Glennon

The news: Will sign with the Arizona Cardinals

This can't happen until the new league year begins and the Bears release Glennon. The Bears will face the Cardinals in 2018, but with Sam Bradford signed to a one-year deal and the possibility of Arizona drafting a quarterback this year, chances are Glennon won't get a shot at facing his former team. 

6:20 p.m. update

CB Trumaine Johnson

The news: Will sign with the New York Jets

CB Malcolm Butler

The news: Will sign with the Tennessee Titans

Johnson will get $15 million annually from the Jets, while Butler will get a little over $12 million from the Titans with a good chunk of that contract guaranteed. It'll be interesting if Kyle Fuller uses either of these contracts as a baseline for what he wants in a long-term deal, or if the Bears would rather use Bashaud Breeland's contract as a starting point:

More likely is Fuller's deal trending toward Butler, but not as high as Johnson. Either way, the top cornerbacks on the market are taken, so a team that missed out on one could approach Fuller with an offer sheet that would further help set his market. Expect the Bears to look for a less-expensive option to pair with Fuller -- reuniting with Prince Amukamara could make some sense -- and then possibly use a top draft pick on a cornerback in April. 

3:20 p.m. update

WR Taylor Gabriel

The news: Will sign a four-year deal with the Bears

The speedy 5-foot-8, 167 pound Gabriel fills the Bears' need for a slot receiver. He exploded for 579 yards and six touchdowns with 35 catches as part of the Atlanta Falcons' Super Bowl run in 2016, but tailed off a bit last year (33 catches, 378 yards, 1 TD). Perhaps worth noting is Gabriel's big year in Atlanta came when he played a little over 40 percent of the Falcons' snaps, as opposed to over 50 percent in 2017. Perhaps Matt Nagy can find a way to dynamically interchange him and Tarik Cohen in the offense to keep both players fresh and at their best. That's an exciting possibility. 

TE Jimmy Graham

The news: Will sign with the Green Bay Packers

The NFC North arms race just got another jolt, with the Packers landing the 31-year-old Graham, who caught 10 touchdowns last year for the Seattle Seahawks. But as part of signing Graham, the Jordy Nelson era is over in Green Bay:

CB Bashaud Breeland

The news: Will sign with the Carolina Panthers

The money for Breeland, perhaps more than Aaron Colvin, will go a long way toward setting the market for a contract extension for Kyle Fuller. We'll see what that is. 

2:30 p.m. update

CB Aaron Colvin

The news: Will sign a four-year deal with the Houston Texans

This is the first concrete movement we've seen on the cornerback market besides some rumors linking Malcolm Butler to the Detroit Lions on Monday. Colvin was a part of that elite Jacksonville defense in 2017 as a nickel corner, but there were some concerns his strong season was more due to the level of talent around him. What the value of his contract is could be a determinant for what Kyle Fuller's market value is as an outside guy, as well as the other top corners in this year's free agent class. 

WR Marqise Lee

The news: Will re-sign with the Jacksonville Jaguars

Another receiver goes off the board, though like with Richardson, it was unlikely the Bears were going to sign Lee and pay Allen Robinson, Trey Burton and Cameron Meredith. 

 

12:30 p.m. update

LB Christian Jones

The news: His contract is worth $7.75 million over two years

This may have been more money than the Bears were willing to commit to a guy who may not have had a starting role on the 2018 team. Good for Jones, though, for cashing in on his strong play the last few years.

WR Paul Richardson

The news: Will sign a four-year, $50 million deal with Washington

RIchardson is a burner who averaged 16 yards per reception and caught six touchdowns last year for the Seattle Seahawks, and the soon-to-be 26-year-old has upside. The Bears were unlikely to sign Richardson if this was his market, though, meaning they'd be committing about $30 million in 2018 to three free agent pass-catchers, as well as some cash to restricted free agent Cameron Meredith.

QB Sam Bradford

The news: Will sign a one-year deal with the Arizona Cardinals

This doesn't take Arizona out of the market to trade up in April's draft and pick a quarterback. It could be a competitive market to move up with the Buffalo Bills, which would benefit the Bears either in their ability to trade down from No. 8 or their ability to get the guy they want (Quenton Nelson? Tremaine Edmunds? Denzel Ward? Josh Jackson?) at No. 8. 


11:25 a.m. update

LB Christian Jones

The news: Will sign a two-year deal with the Detroit Lions

It's a little surprising the Bears didn't retain Jones, who proved to be a solid player with good knowledge of Vic Fangio's defense over the last few years. Perhaps the Bears want to move forward with Nick Kwiatkoski as a starter next to Danny Trevathan at inside linebacker, or will target an inside linebacker like Virginia Tech's Tremaine Edmunds or Georgia's Roquan Smith in the NFL Draft next month. For Jones, he'll stay in the division and will join outside linebacker Devon Kennard in Matt Patricia's defense:

QB Mike Glennon

The report: He could wind up in Arizona after the Bears release him

Glennon will be released when the 2018 league year begins on Wednesday, and the Arizona Cardinals could do what the Bears did a year ago and sign him, and then draft a quarterback in April. He certainly won't get close to the money he got from the Bears, of course. 

11:00 a.m. update

PK Cody Parkey

The news: Will sign with the Bears

Parkey is 26 and made 21 of 23 field goals last year for the Miami Dolphins, which would represent a massive upgrade over the ineffective Connor Barth/Cairo Santos/Mike Nugent trio from a year ago. He hit all 14 of his field goals from inside 40 yards, but oddly missed three PATs, and made seven of eight kicks from 40 or more yards, including a 54-yarder. The Chicago Tribune was the first to report the Bears' interest in Parkey. 

Parkey made the Pro Bowl his rookie year with the Philadelphia Eagles, making 32 of 36 field goals in 2014, but struggled early in 2015 and then went on injured reserve with a groin injury. He re-surfaced with the Cleveland Browns in 2016 and made 20 of 25 field goals -- and overlapped with current Bears special teams coach Chris Tabor there -- before moving on to Miami last year. 

QB Kirk Cousins

The report: Will sign a three-year, fully-guaranteed deal with the Minnesota Vikings

There you have it. The NFC North will be stacked with quarterbacks, and if the Bears are able to take a major step forward, it could compete with the NFC West as the NFL's best division. But that's a big "if" right now. More immediately, the Vikings getting Cousins likely means we'll see more quarterbacks go off the board before the Bears pick at No. 8 in April's draft, with the Jets missing out on him and the Arizona Cardinals potentially eyeing a trade into the top 10 along with the Buffalo Bills. 

10:40 a.m. update

TE Trey Burton

The news: Will sign a four-year, $32 million deal with the Bears

The Bears may not be done adding to their offense, either, with the expectation being they could agree to sign at least one more wide receiver to pair with Allen Robinson. 

10:05 a.m. update

QB Kirk Cousins

The report: Minnesota is the front-runner to sign him

https://twitter.com/RapSheet/status/973575836749189120

If this visit goes well and the Vikings can eventually hammer out a deal with him, the NFC North will have Cousins, Aaron Rodgers, Matt Stafford and Mitch Trubisky as its quarterbacks, further underscoring the Bears' absolutely needing to be right on using last year's No. 2 overall pick on Trubisky. The Vikings are going for it, knowing their window to win is relatively narrow, and grabbing Cousins to throw the ball to Stephon Diggs and Adam Thielen would certainly boost those efforts. The Broncos are expected to sign Case Keenum, taking them out of the mix and realistically leaving the Vikings, Jets and Cardinals as the three teams to sign him. But all signs seem to be pointing toward Minnesota right now. 

8:50 a.m. update

WR Albert Wilson

The news: Will sign a three-year, $24 million deal with the Miami Dolphins

Last night, Rapoport reported the Dolphins were the front-runner for Wilson, and that came to fruition Tuesday morning, it would appear. The thought was the Bears would be a natural fit for Wilson, who had some success under Matt Nagy in Kansas City, but the Dolphins will give him $8 million annually to replace Jarvis Landry. Still, expect the Bears to be in the market for another receiver or two, or a tight end, as we hurtle toward 3 p.m. on Wednesday. 

CB Bryce Callahan

The report: The Vikings could target him

https://twitter.com/GoesslingStrib/status/973525992051478528

The Bears have the right of first refusal on Callahan (and Cameron Meredith and Josh Bellamy) but will not receive a draft pick if they decline to match an offer sheet. Callahan flashed some playmaking ability with two interceptions and a forced fumble last year, but has been banged up at times over the last few years. 

7:25 a.m. update

WR Allen Robinson

The news: Will sign a three-year, $42 million deal with the Bears

We'll have plenty on Robinson throughout the day here on NBC Sports Chicago, but we'll start here: He's coming off a torn ACL suffered on the third play of the 2017 season, but expects to be cleared for training camp

WR Sammy Watkins

The news: Will sign a three-year, $48 million deal with the Kansas City Chiefs

Couple this move with Robinson, and the two top wide receivers have their landing spots. Most importantly, though, they have their contracts, with Robinson getting $14 million annually and Watkins netting $16 million annually with more than half his contract guarnateed. This now opens up the free agent market for the second-tier receivers in it, like Seattle's Paul Richardson and Jacksonville's Marqise Lee. The Bears could still be in on those guys, as well as Kansas City's Albert Wilson (though NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported Monday that the Miami Dolphins are the front-runners for him). Expect some news about the top tight ends in this free agent class to trickle out on Tuesday, too, with the Bears potentially in on those guys. 

OL Andrew Norwell

The news: Will sign a five-year, $66.5 million deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars

If you were wondering why the Bears weren't in on the best guard on the free agent market to replace Josh Sitton...this is why. Norwell is a great fit for a Jaguars team with Leonard Fournette, but his contract is the largest ever given out to a guard. 

QB Case Keenum

The news: Will sign with the Denver Broncos

The begs the question: Are the Minnesota Vikings so confident they'll sign Kirk Cousins that they were willing to let Keenum, who QB'd them to the NFC Championship, walk to Denver? Maybe, maybe not, but for the Bears' draft purposes, Keenum going here doesn't necessarily take Denver out of the quarterback market. If it does, though, Denver could look to trade down, with the No. 5 pick more enticing to a team like the Buffalo Bills than the Bears' No. 8 pick. A lot to consider here. 

Jay Cutler plays wingman in latest 'Very Cavallari'

Jay Cutler plays wingman in latest 'Very Cavallari'

If you are like a sizable chunk of Chicago and just watch "Very Cavallari" for Jay Cutler moments, this week’s episode won’t make be your favorite.

After stealing the show last week as the “biggest a-hole on the planet,” Cutler had a more muted role. That didn’t stop the former Bears quarterback from having some very Jay moments.

Cutler opened by offering some advice to his wife, Kristin Cavallari, about issues at her work. His solution was to fire someone, which she noted is always his answer. (Did he have the same reaction when things weren’t going well for the Bears?)

“Cut off the head of the snake,” Cutler said, trying to offer wisdom. “There’s something else that goes with that line, I just don’t know it.”

Cutler tried to sound philosophical and realized mid-thought that that is not his brand and quickly adjusted.

Cutler later talked to his friend Chuy while tending to his massive yard/forest. He asked his friend, who is gay, how his dating life is going and asked "Don't they have like apps for that?"

Cutler then offered more dating advice (which was a theme for him this episode): "I would 100 percent do somebody rich if I was you."

There you have it. In another life, Jay Cutler might have been a gold digger.

Later on, Cavallari walks in on Cutler making a fire in the fireplace. She commented that this is the first fire in their new home.

“This is more of a me fire,” Cutler said. “I didn’t know you were attending.”

Classic Cutler. He had every opportunity to use this to gain some brownie points with his wife, but no, that would be too easy. This is Cutler forcing a deep ball instead of hitting the open checkdown.

Cutler’s last notable scenes this week involved him playing wingman for Cavallari’s best friend, Kelly. He volunteers his services to help her in her single love life. Cutler begins by describing the type of man she would be interested in and the two women cut him off to say he is describing the perfect man.

“I don’t think he exists,” Cavallari said.

“Oh, I was just describing myself,” Cutler responded without missing a beat.

Cutler did go out with Kelly for a drink to talk about how he can help her in her dating life. The solution is to have him run her profile on a dating app. Nothing materialized from this yet on this episode, but there’s definitely potential Cutty gold there.

Oh, and also, this week featured FULL CAMO CUTTY:

Questions linger at running back, kicker as Bears arrive in Arizona for NFL meetings

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USA Today

Questions linger at running back, kicker as Bears arrive in Arizona for NFL meetings

PHOENIX — As the NFL annual meetings begin this week at the extravagant Arizona Biltmore, the storylines that’ll dominate the next few days won’t involve the Bears a whole lot. Robert Kraft’s solicitation charges, Rob Gronkowski’s retirement, instant replay for pass interference and guaranteeing both teams possess the ball in overtime: These are the topics that’ll drive the national conversation about the NFL this week. 

The Bears come to the warmth and sun of Arizona as one of the NFL’s most relevant teams, coming off a 12-4 season with a dynamic coach, elite defense and an under-construction quarterback. But there’s no drama surrounding the organization. They didn’t trade away one of the best receivers in the NFL or go on a spending spree. They’re not in the market for Kyler Murray. They’re not agitating for rule changes after getting wronged in the playoffs by anything other than the Soldier Field's north end zone upright and crossbar. 

But there still remain some unresolved questions surrounding the team beyond, of course, the biggest one (how good will Mitch Trubisky be in 2019?). A few important topics to note: 

What’s left to shake out at running back?

Jordan Howard is still on the Bears’ roster a few weeks after a report surfaced that the Bears were discussing trading the 24-year-old running back. That’s hardly surprising: The running back free agent market, after Le’Veon Bell signed that massive deal with the New York Jets, didn’t deliver any other large contracts. Only three other free agent running backs received more than $5 million in guaranteed money (Mark Ingram from Baltimore, Latavius Murray from New Orleans, Tevin Coleman from San Francisco). Guys like Isaiah Crowell, T.J. Yeldon and C.J. Anderson are all still available on the free agent market, too. 

The point: Why would a team give up a valuable draft pick for Howard right now, when there have been and still are options available for a more modest cost?

The Bears don’t have to trade Howard, hardly, given a healthy cap situation (more on that later) and the simple fact that they haven’t drafted a running back yet. It may seem like a safe assumption that Ryan Pace will select a running back with a third/fourth/fifth-round pick, but then again, it seemed like a safe assumption that Pace would take an outside linebacker before the sixth round in last year’s draft. 

Howard very well could have a role on the 2019 Bears if the running backs the team likes aren’t available, or aren’t among their “best available” options when they’re on the clock in April. Pace could move Howard during the draft to improve his draft position by a round or two, or in a given round, but it’s unlikely to be a drastic improvement. 

Still, the Bears need to improve their running game for the overall health of Matt Nagy's offense. Signing Mike Davis should help with those efforts, but that move may not be the entirety of the solution. There’s still plenty left to play out here. 

Will the kicking competition add more names?

So far, the Bears have two kickers on their roster: Chris Blewitt and Redford Jones. Neither have kicked in an NFL game despite last appearing at the college level since 2016 and 2017, respectively. 

Pace said at the NFL Combine last month he envisions a “major competition” to determine who the Bears’ kicker will be in 2019, and that could result in more than two kickers being a part of it. Blewitt and Jones both emerged out of tryouts earlier this year; it seems likely, though, that the Bears will bring in at least one more kicker who at the least played somewhere in 2018. 

The Bears do currently have the cap space to sign Stephen Gostkowski, though coupled with Cody Parkey’s dead money that could mean sinking upward of $8 million into a position on which teams usually don’t spend. It also may be telling that the 35-year-old Gostkowski is still available despite kicking for the New England Patriots for the last 13 years. 

Perhaps a more likely path is the Bears using one of their two seventh-round draft picks on a kicker, or signing an undrafted free agent. This “major competition,” too, also isn’t guaranteed to result in anything: The Bears, after all, could find their 2019 kicker on the waiver wire after cut-down day in September. 

Capping it off

Per the NFLPA’s public salary cap report, the Bears have $17,795,716 in available cap space. Even with that amount, the contract edge rusher Justin Houston signed with the Indianapolis Colts (two years, $24 million) was probably too rich, and it’s unlikely he would’ve wanted to come to the Bears anyway without a clear path to a prominent role. 

Cap space can roll over from year to year, so the Bears don’t have to spend all of that money. There was an assumption making the rounds on social media — after the team created a sizable chunk of cap space by converting some of Khalil Mack’s base salary to a signing bonus — that the Bears were lining up for a big-splash move, but Pace was keen on using it to make smaller acquisitions. The team could still use an edge rusher to slide into a rotational role behind Mack and Leonard Floyd, which Aaron Lynch (who's still a free agent) filled last year. 

The Bears’ cap situation in future years, though, is more interesting. Without any rollover cap, increase in the league’s cap space and roster moves, Spotrac estimates the Bears have a little under $3 million in cap space in 2020. That, though, will go up — but then also come down via Floyd’s fifth-year option salary and, potentially, a new contract for Cody Whitehair. 

2021 is when the Bears’ cap situation will be fascinating, too, with Mack’s cap hit checking in at $26.646 million, per Spotrac. A fifth-year option for Trubisky will be worth north of $20 million, meaning nearly $50 million in cap space could be tied up between those two players. Pace and his front office have managed the cap well during their time in Chicago, but building a competitive roster will become more of a challenge beginning in 2021 when Trubisky’s salary will escalate. 

Then again, it’ll be easier to build a competitive roster if Trubisky develops into the kind of quarterback who can make an entire team better.