Bears

Bears still have salary cap wiggle room even with Bobby Massie’s contract extension 

Bears still have salary cap wiggle room even with Bobby Massie’s contract extension 

The Bears’ efforts to upgrade their roster with a relatively meager amount of cap space won’t be hamstrung by right tackle Bobby Massie’s contract extension, as it turns out. 

The Chicago Tribune’s Brad Biggs reported the details of Massie’s contract on Monday, which you can find here. For 2019, though, the important detail is this: Massie’s cap hit will only be $3.8 million, which is low for a solid veteran. 

It’ll rise in 2020, when the Bears will have some players hitting free agency and/or will have the option to save cap space by releasing others. 2020 is also the last year the Bears will have with Mitch Trubisky at a bargain (his cap hits the next two years are around $7.9 million and $9.2 million). 

Spotrac estimated the Bears will have about $9.3 million in cap space for 2019 before Massie’s contract. That’ll drop to about $5.5 million after Massie’s deal, but will rise to around $11.5 million after the expected release of tight end Dion Sims that’ll save $6 million against the cap. Something to keep in mind with these cap numbers, though: They’re exceedingly fluid and can be manipulated by releasing players or re-structuring contracts. 

Still, if $11.5 million is the ballpark figure the Bears will work with when free agency opens in mid-March, it would seem likely the team won’t be able to retain both cornerback Bryce Callahan and safety Adrian Amos. General manager Ryan Pace won’t be able to go on the spending spree he did last year, but that’s also intentional — he did his 2019 spending in 2018, adding Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, Trey Burton, Cody Parkey, Chase Daniel and Khalil Mack with an eye on the future (Parkey is the only one of those guys who didn’t work out). 

The Bears still may want to re-sign Callahan and/or Amos, but both are first-time free agents (unlike Massie) who may be wise to test the open market. Plus, if the Bears are looking at getting better in 2019, keeping the status quo doesn’t necessarily accomplish that. 

So with the Super Bowl over and the NFL’s attention shifting to the combine and free agency, the critical question facing Pace is this: How does he improve an NFC North-winning roster without the benefit of loads of cap space or first- and second-round draft picks? 

Bringing back Massie while keeping his 2019 cap hit low does serve to accomplish those goals: Massie’s steady, reliable presence at right tackle should benefit Trubisky’s growth in Year 2 running Matt Nagy’s offense. But this contract is merely the first step for Pace, who still has plenty of moves to make over the next three months. 

The Bears have the top-ranked defense in Madden 20, plus other takeaways from today's ratings reveal

The Bears have the top-ranked defense in Madden 20, plus other takeaways from today's ratings reveal

A boatload of Madden ratings dropped on Monday, and with it, more content than you could shake a stick at. 

The Bears, predictably, got a fair bit of love on the defensive side of the ball and were largely ignored on offense. 

No Fangio, No Problem

For a wide variety of reasons, it's trendy to point out that the Bears' defense is headed for some regression this season. Madden disagrees, though, rating the Bears defense (88) as the best in football. They did also give the Houston Texans' defense an 88 as well, but never let the details get in the way of a good story. Here's what they said: 

For Chicago, the unit is fronted by 99 Club member, LOLB Khalil Mack. FS Eddie Jackson (91 OVR) is a Superstar X-Factor like his teammate, Mack. That’s a scary combination for any opposing quarterback. Toss in CB Kyle Fuller (89 OVR) and you can see why this Bears unit should roar out of the gate in Madden 20. 

Year 2 Mitch Doesn't Get Any Love 

Trubisky was rated as the 24th best QB, which is already being debated passionately, regardless of how debatable it actually is. What's lowkey worse is that Chase Daniel, the 9-year NFL vet, got the same rating as Dax Raymond, the undrafted free agent. 

May We Remind You That Khalil Mack Is A Terrific Football Player 

Earlier in the month, Mack was revealed as one of the 4 players who received the infamous 99 rating. That means he's also the top-ranked LOLB, two points ahead of Denver's Von Miller and 16 points ahead of any NFC North LOLB. Enjoy those draft picks, Oakland! 

Akiem Hicks Gets Snubbed And Frankly We've Just About Had It 

Hicks was ranked as the 19th-best defensive lineman, which is just objectively untrue. In some alternate universe, there may be 18 better defensive linemen than Akiem Hicks, but that is just simply inaccurate in this one. He was heated about his rating, and we cannot blame him. 

The Lowest Ranked Bears Player Was ... 

Patrick Scales. Sorry Patrick Scales.

Akiem Hicks not happy with Madden 20 ratings: ‘Tell them to come see me’

Akiem Hicks not happy with Madden 20 ratings: ‘Tell them to come see me’

EA Sports released the full Madden 20 player ratings for every team in the NFL, and not everyone was happy with the numbers they received.

The Bears shared a video of backup quarterback Chase Daniel revealing ratings to his teammates, and defensive lineman Akiem Hicks seemed the most upset of the group.

“Bring some of the scouts out here doing the madden ratings,” Hicks said. “Tell them to come see me.”

Hicks received an overall rating of 87, tied for fourth-highest on the team and 10th-highest among defensive ends.

He has the same rating as Green Bay Packers DE Mike Daniels and Detroit Lions DE Trey Flowers.

In the video, running back Tarik Cohen was disappointed with his 92 speed, which is tied for third-fastest on the team behind wide receivers Taylor Gabriel and Emanuel Hall.

Cohen does lead the Bears with 97 agility and 92 elusiveness, but he thought his throwing power stat should be higher than 51 after his two career passing touchdowns.