Bears

Should the Bears target a game-breaking wide receiver this offseason?

Should the Bears target a game-breaking wide receiver this offseason?

Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson is one of the NFL's most respected pass-catchers. He was also one of the NFC's biggest Pro Bowl snubs after finishing 2019 with 98 catches, 1,147 yards and seven touchdowns.

But even with Robinson as Chicago's go-to-guy in the passing game, there was still something missing. For as fantastic as Robinson is, he doesn't have elite top-end speed that some of the NFL's best game-breakers possess.

Should the Bears focus some of their free-agent budget or 2020 NFL draft capital on a player like that? According to NBC Sports analyst Chris Simms, the answer is yes.

"I think the team is really still well-set up for success," Simms told NBC Sports Chicago. "The two things that jump out to me more than anything else are upgrading some of the offensive line – I think there needs to be one or two changes made there – and then, really, I think they need to find a game-breaker in the pass game on the offense, I really do. Allen Robinson’s really good; there’s a lot of really good with the Bears. But is there that guy that instills fear into a defense? I don’t know if there is, in the run game or the pass.

"What I’m basically saying is they need to find a weapon that’s a gameplan-changer for whoever’s playing defense against the Bears. That’s the one thing I think they really lack. Matt Nagy came from Kansas City, every week when people play the Kansas City Chiefs, they go ‘oh my gosh, how do we stop Tyreek Hill?’ And then you go, ‘oh we stopped Tyreek Hill, wait – there’s Travis Kelce! How do we do that?’ The Bears don’t have one guy yet that keeps a defensive coordinator up late at night to go, ‘how do I stop this incredible talent on their offense?’ So I would like to see that be made, some sort of splash move, whether it’s free agency or the draft, whatever it may be, to kinda get that game-changer on the offensive side of the ball."

It's a sentiment that's easier said than done, but according to Simms, the Bears are a team to watch in March.

"I just think they’re gonna make some huge marquee signing in free agency. I think there’s gotta be some play for a major free agent wide receiver or something like that."

Unfortunately, there aren't many receivers scheduled to hit the open market who necessarily fit that game-breaker description. Amari Cooper (Cowboys) will be too costly. A.J. Green (Bengals) likely will be, too, and even if his contract demands are reasonable, is he really all that different of a player than Robinson at this point?

Are the Bears really going to consider Tavon Austin (Cowboys) or DeAnthony Thomas (Chiefs) as speed players? Did Breshad Perriman do enough in his one season with the Buccaneers to warrant legitimate interest?

It seems more likely Pace will target a playmaker in the NFL draft; it's a deep wide receiver class that will offer players with legitimate upside on Day 3. 

Regardless, with all the attention paid to the offense's struggles at quarterback and offensive line, a field-flipping receiver is a need Pace has to address over the next few months.

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Report: Bears have ‘been in touch’ with Bengals about Andy Dalton trade

Report: Bears have ‘been in touch’ with Bengals about Andy Dalton trade

As the Bears look to acquire a veteran quarterback to push Mitch Trubisky, one name that’s been thrown around is Andy Dalton.

According to The Athletic’s Paul Dehner Jr., the Bears have “been in touch” with the Bengals regarding a potential Dalton trade.

Dalton comes with a hefty cap hit ($17.5 million) and is only under contract through 2020, but Trubisky being on his rookie deal would help the Bears stomach his salary. The 32-year-old threw for 3,494 yards with 16 touchdowns and 14 interceptions last season, sporting 78.3 passer rating.

Adding Dalton would give the Bears insurance in case Trubisky’s 2019 struggles persist next season. Dalton is an established veteran who is familiar with Bears offensive coordinator Bill Lazor. The two worked together from 2016-18, when Lazor was Cincinnati’s quarterbacks coach (2016) and OC (2017-18).

Dehner’s report doesn't offer any specific packages the Bears and Bengals have discussed. However, barring a surprise, Cincinnati will select LSU quarterback Joe Burrow No. 1 overall in the NFL draft in two months. Considering Burrow is set to become the Bengals’ quarterback of the future, trading Dalton will give him the chance to play elsewhere.

The Bears have made it clear Trubisky is entering 2020 as their starter. However, someone like Dalton could usurp him if the former No. 2 overall pick can’t find his footing this season.

Black History Month: The courage to be a black quarterback

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USA TODAY

Black History Month: The courage to be a black quarterback

NBCS Chicago is celebrating Black History Month with special episodes to discuss the impact of the black athlete in sports. In the final episode of the series, Laurence Holmes is joined by his "Football Aftershow" teammate and former Chicago Bear Alex Brown to discuss, making coaching in the NFL more diverse, is the Rooney Rule helping, and the common practice of moving black quarterbacks to other positions.

(4:20) - Alex Brown on being pushed to not play quarterback in high school

(9:15) - Jalen Hurts asked would he be willing to change positions in the NFL

(17:03) - Alex Brown on playing in a Super Bowl that featured 2 black head coaches

(22:12) - Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy not being mentioned for a head coaching job

(26:00) - Does the Rooney Rule work?

(40:35) - Overcoming unfairness

(44:28) - Watching a NFL where there are successful black quarterbacks

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player  below:

Under Center Podcast

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