Bears

NFL free agency: Making sense of Derek Carr's Instagram of Khalil Mack

NFL free agency: Making sense of Derek Carr's Instagram of Khalil Mack

There's smoke here and Derek Carr is coming to the Bears, right?

You might want to believe that if you, the Bears fan who’s given up on Mitch Trubisky, read into Carr's caption-free Thursday Instagram post. The photo was of Carr, who’s still employed by the Raiders, with his good friend Khalil Mack. 

Couple Carr’s confusingly similarly named brother, David, posting a hashtag (#megaPowers) on it and the inference is crystal clear, right? This can only mean one thing: Carr will quarterback the Bears in 2020.

That’s the good stuff. 

Welcome to the silliness of NFL free agency, where Stefon Diggs deleting photos of himself in a Minnesota Vikings uniform means the moody receiver definitely wants to be traded (that happened with Jordan Howard two years ago and…Howard was not traded).

Know how to interpret a single emoji in a tweet from an impending free agent or disgruntled star? Congrats! You're qualified to be an NFL insider.

Now: Carr posting a photo with one of his closest buddies means he very well could want a reunion with Mack in Chicago. 

Nevermind the minor details of Carr 1) Still being on a Raiders team that doesn’t currently have his replacement on the roster and won’t until mid-March at the earliest, 2) carrying a $21.5 million cap hit in 2020, about $7 million more than the Bears’ available salary cap and 3) not having any control over where he’d go if the Raiders were to trade him.

RELATED: Bears Free Agent Focus: Eric Ebron

Maybe Carr found a picture of himself and his best friend, and posted it for no other reason than it was a good photo, as those of us on Instagram often do. 

More importantly, The Bears look unlikely to make a splash move at quarterback if you follow the money. Carr is too expensive to trade for while also successfully filling red-line needs at tight end, right guard, inside linebacker and safety. 

Or maybe there is smoke here and the Raiders have made it clear to Carr they’re going to explore the quarterback market (maybe with Cam Newton, maybe with Tom Brady), and he’s starting to agitate for a trade to Chicago. Maybe the Bears are back-channeling some discussions to make sure they’re at the front of Mike Mayock’s mind when he tries to find a landing spot for Carr in the event he and Jon Gruden lure Brady to Las Vegas. The Bears, theoretically, could trade for Carr and sign him to an extension that makes his 2020 cap hit more palatable. 

You can see why the Bears might want Carr, who's had success in the past, is cheap relative to other starting quarterbacks and could be viewed as this franchise's version of Alex Smith. But that’s a long way off.  

And it’s not unprecedented for a vague Instagram post to portend the future. Remember when Allen Robinson posted a photo of himself in a Cubs jersey a month before signing in Chicago?

Or another possibility — and this tracks the most: Maybe Carr is just messing with everyone, knowing his name has been mentioned by the media as a potential trade target. 

As Instagram user angel.et.03 so elegantly put it in a comment: “Carr just f***ing with us at this point.”

Good on Carr if he is. He certainly succeeded.

Then again: Of the 70,000+ likes the photo has, one of them is from the user “fiftydeuce,” — Mack himself.

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What Bears will miss conducting 2020 NFL Draft remotely from home

What Bears will miss conducting 2020 NFL Draft remotely from home


At least the Bears got to use their brand-new, high-tech draft room last year.

As part of a massive renovation and expansion of Halas Hall, the Bears built a new state-of-the-art draft room with general manager Ryan Pace's fingerprints all over it. The media got to sneak a peak at it last year, and it’s truly impressive in how it helps, functionally, to conduct a draft.

The size of the draft board, in particular, is stunning. Nobody's squinting at a grainy screen to watch tape of a prospect.

“It's tied into our scouting database, so there's a million things we can pull up on this wall or however you want to do it,” Pace said last year. “The ability to sit in one room as a staff and, really the draft is one thing, but (for) all these meetings. We can pull up multiple things at the same time at our fingertips.”

A player’s measurables, interviews, comps, etc. are all immediately available to everyone in the room, helping foster the discussions that lead to the Bears making a pick. It’s not like the team can’t function without it, but as Pace said in 2019, “It's kind of endless what we have, and I feel like we're just kind of scratching the surface now, and we have the staff to keep on pushing that.”

A year later, the Bears — like every other NFL team — are mandated to conduct the draft remotely from home. No small gatherings in a large event space. No popping over to a scout’s house for a face-to-face discussion. And certainly no congregating around the gigantic digital draft board in that room at Halas Hall.

RELATED: NFL tells teams to keep facilities closed for "fully virtual" draft

On a teleconference last week, Pace said, “Obviously there are some challenges with that.” He talked about the possibility of using the technology in that draft room with a limited number of people or conducting the draft at an offsite location.

It’s clear that nobody — not in Chicago, not in any front office — really wants to do the draft over a Zoom teleconference. But it’s how the 2020 draft will happen, and the Bears are going to have to make the best of it.

The Bears are confident in their ability to technologically adapt to 2020’s unprecedented but necessary way of drafting. Coaches and scouts have remote access to the Bears’ internal video and scouting systems, and one would figure even the most old-school coach or scout has had to become technologically savvy over the last few weeks. 

‘We appreciate the hard work with our IT and video department, they’re studs, they’ve been amazing,” coach Matt Nagy said. “Coaching staff, personnel, everyone’s been working really hard together. It’s been different but unique, and it’s been fun finding out solutions and new ways with technology of how to do things, whether it’s through the draft or coaching staff meetings.”

My thought here is that the Bears should be fine making their 2020 picks from home. That goes for the other 31 teams in the league, too.

But Pace and his front office like to be active in the college free agent market, which is always a fire drill of sorts as the draft comes to a close. And the social distancing and work from home mandates amid the COVID-19 pandemic have lessened every team’s ability to connect with those undrafted free agents. It’ll make things more chaotic for the Bears’ front office on April 25.

“A lot of our 30 visits are guys that we're projecting as college free agents we're trying to recruit,” Pace said last year (all interviews have to be done over the phone or via FaceTime this year). “Us going out to colleges, spending time at their pro days or having private workouts are for those reasons. Building relationships with their agents. Because the groundwork has to be done before then or you're going to lose out.”

There’s often way too much hype over undrafted free agents (Remember Emanuel Hall last year?). But the Bears have found a number of productive players from those ranks. Bryce Callahan, Roy Robertson-Harris, Cameron Meredith, Kevin Toliver II were all undrafted free agents who made it in Chicago, to varying extents. Signing the next Robertson-Harris or Callahan might be a little harder this year.

The draft, though? It won’t be ideal to conduct it from everyone’s individual office or basement as opposed to a buzzing draft room. But that should be fine… so long as no one’s WiFi cuts out.

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Jay Cutler is waiting out the outbreak in The Bahamas to predictable results

jaycutler.jpg
USA TODAY

Jay Cutler is waiting out the outbreak in The Bahamas to predictable results

Jay Cutler traveled to The Bahamas with family and friends as the COVID-19 outbreak escalated and now it seems like he will be waiting out the pandemic in island paradise.

The former Bears quarterback’s Instagram account, run by his reality star wife Kristin Cavallari, has some shots of what Cutler has been up to. It’s a long way from sitting on the couch and watching Netflix.

First of all, he has his own version of the Wilson volleyball from “Castaway.”

View this post on Instagram

Day 12. Just me and Molten. She's the best.

A post shared by Jay Cutler (@ifjayhadinstagram) on


Then there’s this one, which is up to the viewer's discretion to figure out what’s going on here.

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Day 28. No TP needed

A post shared by Jay Cutler (@ifjayhadinstagram) on


Apparently, Cutler went to the Bahamas with Cavallari, their kids and two friends who also appear on “Very Cavallari,” the currently running reality show that Cutler has unwittingly become the best part of.

There’s more info here on the logistics of how they got stuck there and just how stuck they really are. It’s a wild ride.