Bears

Sources: Bears, Dolphins have discussed Jarvis Landry-for-Jordan Howard swap

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USA TODAY

Sources: Bears, Dolphins have discussed Jarvis Landry-for-Jordan Howard swap

INDIANAPOLIS – New coach Matt Nagy liked the enthusiasm, if not the timing, of Jordan Howard’s recent “prediction” of playoffs for the Bears this season. But whether Nagy likes Howard enough as the centerpiece running back in his still-forming Bears offense is somewhat less certain.

Whispers are that the Bears and Miami Dolphins have had conversations about the Dolphins sending wide receiver Jarvis Landry and a third-round pick to the Bears in exchange for Howard and a swap of the Dolphins pick at No. 11 overall for the Bears’ at No. 8.

Landry carries Miami’s franchise tag but coach Adam Gase was less than adamant about Landry continuing as a Dolphin at all cost despite 400 catches and not missing a single game over Landry’s first four NFL seasons.

“Yeah, if it works out the way that we’ve kind of looked at things,” Gase said this week at the NFL Scouting Combine. “Really, that’s why we franchised him. We’ll just kind of see how it goes.”

Howard was the Bears’ chief offensive threat over the past two seasons, becoming the first running back in franchise history to rush for more than 1,000 yards in each of this first two seasons.

But sources said that the Nagy offensive staff has concerns about Howard’s shortcomings as a receiver and which pose a significant issue for a scheme with a West Coast foundation. The Nagy offense presupposes backs with excellent receiving skills, which Kansas City Chiefs backs typically had during Nagy’s tenure on Andy Reid’s staff and which Howard has not demonstrated in his two Bears seasons.

If Howard is not viewed as the long-term fit at running back, the time for GM Ryan Pace to make a move points to sooner rather than later.

Nagy was generally complimentary of Howard’s play, with a possible qualifier that the staff will be looking at how Howard’s “unique” style fits into the emerging Bears offense. “It's interesting, because you watch him on tape and you see his style of play and it's unique, but it's a good unique,” Nagy said. “He's a tough runner and has a style where he's able to be elusive for his size, but yet he can still make that first-down run on fourth-and-1 or short yardage.

“It's intriguing for us as a staff when we watch tape to see him, to be able to see how we can fit his style of play into our offense. It feels right.”

Howard as receiver, however, has been problematic, in view of his 5 drops among 32 targets last season, with only 23 total receptions. Howard averaged just 5.4 yards per reception last season, with a long of only 12 yards.

By contrast, Kansas City’s lead backs were notably more productive:

2017: Kareem Hunt, 53, rec., 8.6 ypc, long of 78 yards

2016: Spencer Ware, 33 rec., 13.5 ypc, long of 46 yards

2015: Charcandrick West, 20, rec., 10.7 ypc, long of 80 yards ; Jamaal Charles, 21 rec., 8.4 ypc, long of 26

The Bears are in a decidedly makeover mode, and whether Howard indeed fits the offense envisioned by Nagy and coordinator Mark Helfrich remains to play out – just as with Landry and the Dolphins.

Bears still have league-average amount of salary cap space left

Bears still have league-average amount of salary cap space left

Free agency has slowed to crawl a little more than a week into the process, and the Bears still have some money to spend.

Ryan Pace made multiple moves to clear up additional salary cap space this offseason, but he spent his money cautiously.

Even with five outside signings under contract, he still has the space to make some more moves.

As of Friday, the Bears have just under $17 million in cap space, the 16th-most in the NFL, according to ESPN’s Field Yates.

Pace has more money to work with now than he did before the team started releasing players to clear space.

He still has to keep some cap available to sign their draft picks as well as an emergency fund for the season, but the Bears have more than enough money left to add an impact player or two on the open market.

The pool of talent to pick from continues to shrink, but Pace can still find quality options that could come at a bargain the longer they sit on the open market.

 

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Chicago Football Madness Rd. of 32: Chalk dominates the 1st round, with some notable exceptions

Chicago Football Madness Rd. of 32: Chalk dominates the 1st round, with some notable exceptions

Excitement for the Bears are at an all-time high, so while March Madness and the NCAA Tournament begin, we still have Bears on the mind. So we've created Chicago Bears Football Madness, pitting players from the three best Bears teams and legends head-to-head.

THIS. IS. STILL. MARCH. 

The first round of our inaugural Chicago Football Madness Tournament is over, and friends, it was kind of anti-climatic -- except for Jay Cutler advancing, that rules. 

Out of all the 32 Opening Round matchups, only two underdogs moved on: Robbie Gould and The Fridge. Now, Gould's got a tough matchup against 2-seed Lance Briggs, and there's no rest for the Perry (this joke works, right?) as he takes on Walter Payton. 

Keep sending the votes in! You can find all the matchups over on our Twitter account, or on the website, because we like to give you options. 

RD. OF 32 REGIONS:

1985 Bracket

2006 Bracket

2018 Bracket

Legends/Others Bracket

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Bears.