Bears

Here's how the new CBA impacts the Bears' roster

Here's how the new CBA impacts the Bears' roster

The NFLPA voted to approve the ratification of a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) on Sunday, bringing labor peace to the NFL through 2030.

The headline items from the new deal are the expanded playoff format (which begins in 2020) and the potential for a 17th regular-season game beginning in the 2021 season. But there will be significant impacts that extend beyond the schedule and revenue sharing.

Rosters will look different, and general managers will have more flexibility to work with.

Gameday rosters increase from 46 to 48 players

Naturally, with more games come more injuries. And the only way for teams to prepare for those injuries is by having more players available. One of the most difficult decisions that face coaches each week is who the final two or three players should be on game day. Now, with two more players available for active duty, the end result will be a more well-rounded Sunday squad.

One extra offensive lineman 

So, here's the catch. One of those two extra gameday spots has to be an offensive lineman. Teams can now carry three backups on Sundays (or Monday night...or Thursday night) instead of the traditional two.

12-man practice squad in 2020; 14 in 2022

One of the biggest benefits for roster building is the expansion of the practice squad from 10 players to 12 in 2020. It grows to 14 players in 2022. And practice squads will be more appealing to players than any competitor leagues, too, with salaries for those players rising from $8,000 per week to $11,500. This is especially good news for teams like the Bears who have a well-established roster of starters and veteran backups but may want to have developmental options in the pipeline. The larger practice squad gives them the chance to do that (especially at quarterback).

Two practice squad promotions each week for an expanded 55-man roster

Speaking of those practice squads, NFL teams will be given the option to promote two practice squad players to their new 55-man active roster every week. Remember: the current structure allows for 53 players on the active roster which gets cut to 46 on game day. With the two practice squad promotions, the active roster grows to 55.

The best news? NFL teams can send those players back to the practice squad without having to clear waivers (and risk losing them to another team). Each player can be called up and sent back to the practice squad twice without the risk of waivers.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell releases statement on death of George Floyd

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USA TODAY

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell releases statement on death of George Floyd

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell released a statement Saturday evening regarding the tragic death of George Floyd.

"The NFL family is greatly saddened by the tragic events across our country," Goodell's statement reads. "The protesters' reactions to these incidents reflect the pain, anger and frustration that so many of us feel.

"Our deepest condolences go out to the family of Mr. George Floyd and to those who have lost loved ones, including the families of Ms. Breonna Taylor in Louisville, and Mr. Ahmaud Arbery, the cousin of Tracy Walker of the Detroit Lions."

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As protests break out nationwide, Goodell said "there remains much more to do as a country and league," to combat racial inequality.

"These tragedies inform the NFL's commitment and our ongoing efforts. There remains an urgent need for action," he said. "We recognize the power of our platform in communities and as part of the fabric of American society. We embrace that responsibility and are committed to continuing the important work to address these systemic issues together with our players, clubs and partners."

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Leadership lessons Ryan Pace learned from time with Sean Payton, Saints

Leadership lessons Ryan Pace learned from time with Sean Payton, Saints

Every organization in the NFL is working hard to adapt their workflows while under COVID-19 restrictions. Rookie minicamps have already been missed. Organizations are still unable to meet as a full team, and that’s obviously a challenge. But Bears GM Ryan Pace may have a leg up due to the lessons he learned while working in the New Orleans Saints’ front office.

Pace joined Mike Florio on Pro Football Talk’s podcast “PFT PM” to explain exactly how that time in New Orleans helped to shape him as a leader, both in “normal” times and times of crisis.

“There’s no excuses in our league,” Pace said on the podcast. “That happened in New Orleans during Katrina-- really every time a hurricane came towards that city, we adapted.

“What I felt from the leadership from (Saints head coach) Sean (Payton) and (Saints GM) Mickey (Loomis) is there was never an excuse. It was: let’s adapt and let’s adjust, and that’s what we did. From 2005 to 2006, I mean that was a major shift in that team under trying times.”

Pace is referring to the Saints firing Jim Haslett and hiring Sean Payton, and installing Payton’s new systems, all while recovering from Hurricane Katrina. The Saints were incredibly successful working through those hard times too, improving from 3-13 in 2005 to 10-6 and NFC South winners in 2006.

Beyond learning to not let hard times affect his team’s success on the field, Pace says he learned a lot about how to run a team from Payton and Loomis.

“First of all, (Payton’s) very aggressive, he's not afraid to make hard decisions. He’s decisive and Mickey’s the same way: aggressive and decisive, no regrets, never looks back, not afraid to think outside the box, but also very conscious of the culture of that team.

“I think any time you drift away from that-- and it’s easy to do, and enticing to do-- but usually when you do that, once you realize you’ve done that to the locker room, the damage is already done. You try to correct yourself or police a player, the damage is already done in the locker room. So I think it’s being aggressive with the moves you make, not looking back, operating with decisiveness, but then being very conscious of the culture in the locker room.

“It’s a fine line. 12-4 to 8-8, it’s a fine line I think, because the people, the staff, the people in your building are conscious of that.”

Pace has certainly acted decisively when building his roster, trading up to draft Mitchell Trubisky, Leonard Floyd, Anthony Miller and David Montgomery.

But he later says, there’s more nuance than simply acting decisively to become an effective leader.

“When you’re making a hard decision, what’s best for the organization?” Pace said. “Not letting your ego get in the way because ‘Hey, this was your idea,’ ‘You selected this player,’ whatever it is, what’s best for the team? And sometimes those are decisions when you have to remove emotions.”

Pace has shown the ability to set aside his ego to make those hard decisions too. Most recently he opted not to pick up Trubisky’s fifth-year option. He already cut Leonard Floyd. And after he didn’t offer Kyle Fuller a fifth-year option, he paid even more to keep Fuller since the cornerback proved he deserved to stay.

“For me, to be honest, I think that’s come pretty natural and pretty easy, and I think it’s because of my experience in New Orleans.”

RELATED: Why Ryan Pace ultimately decided to trade for Nick Foles

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