Pat Mahomes made 500 million dollars today. It is an unfathomable amount of money unless you're Patrick Mahomes, who's very seriously fathoming it on whatever fancy yacht he's hopefully on right now. (This, to me, is the only conceivable way to properly celebrate earning the largest contract in major league sports history?)
And, as far too many Bears fans non-ironically pointed out today, Ryan Pace saved the McCaskeys $500 million today as well. Never hurts to be in the black right?! Just for the sake of this exercise, let's imagine Ryan Pace *wants* to spend $500 million this week. After giving the first 200 to Jimmy Graham (sorry, I'm sorry), where does that leave Pace? Here's what 500 million could get the Bears:
- Three and a half Khalil Mack contracts, all at once
- 17 Mitch Trubisky contracts, whatever that entails
- 20 Nick Foles contracts, this exercise is a huge bummer
- 5 more renovations of Halas Hall, there can never be enough sand pits
- The Athletic, I can already see the Why I'm Joining headline now
- His own NHL team
- 69 million Soldier Field hot dogs
- 4 months rent in Gold Coast
- 5% of all $2 bills currently in circulation
- 6% of the team that employs him
Want to guess what, as of Monday afternoon, $500 million can't buy him?!
The Chicago Bears have a lot of strong bounce-back candidates entering the 2020 season. Mitch Trubisky immediately comes to mind, as does Khalil Mack, whose streak of double-digit sack seasons ended at four last year.
Perhaps no player needs a bigger bounceback than running back Tarik Cohen, the pass-catching dynamo who was anything but in 2019. Cohen ended the season with a career-high 79 receptions but flipped them into just 456 yards. His 5.8 yards per catch was by far the lowest average of his career and has led to questions about whether he can truly be an offensive weapon in the NFL.
Cohen is in a contract year, so of course, he needs to boost his stock by proving he can flip the field anytime he touches the ball. According to ESPN, he's the most likely candidate to be that bounce-back player for the Bears this season.
After being one of the most dynamic receiving backs in the NFL in 2017 and 2018, Cohen took a big step backward in his third season. Combining 2017 and 2018, he ranked behind only Christian McCaffrey and Alvin Kamara in PFF receiving grade. Last season, however, he ranked 24th of 32 running backs who saw at least 40 targets. He dropped more passes, broke tackles at a lower rate and produced significantly fewer explosive plays. It was completely uncharacteristic based on what we saw from him in his first two years in the NFL, so it would be a surprise not to see him bounce back in some capacity in 2020.
The Bears are set up for Cohen to succeed in 2020. Only David Montgomery is slotted ahead of him on the running back depth chart, and Montgomery's skill set doesn't really conflict with the role Cohen plays anyway. In fact, Chicago could use Cohen and Montgomery at the same time, with Cohen lining up in the slot and playing more receiver than running back.
Regardless of how he's used, the expectations for Cohen to have a statistical resurgence are fair. His 2018 season, when he ran for 444 yards and added 725 more through the air (with eight total touchdowns), is more in-line with what we should see from him in 2020.
On Monday morning, Bears' safety Eddie Jackson went on Good Morning Football and single-handedly blew up every single identical roster projection that are appearing on the internet these days:
There's even a tiny bit of precedent here! Jackson played receiver in high school, and has actually already appeared on that side of the ball for the Bears a few times back in 2018. He's also very clearly one of the team's best playmakers. Defensive players getting offensive snaps has all the exhilaration of position players pitching, without any of the unspoken condescension. He also scores like, 75% of the time he touches the ball (honestly, it's more fun for you if you don't bother fact checking this) and after 2019's offensive performance, beggars can't be choosers. Let Eddie Jackson play offense. Let Akiem Hicks play offense. Let Khalil Mack punt the ball if Khalil Mack wants to punt the ball. It's fun and it makes things exciting and positions are stupid.
For what it's worth, it already sounds like Jackson and Nagy are on the same page about all of this:
Who's against this idea? Seriously. Remember 2018? Santa's Sleigh! Oompa Loompa! Chumbawamba! We could have that again. We could have it all.