After trade flirtations, Bears invest No. 7 pick in WVU WR Kevin White


After trade flirtations, Bears invest No. 7 pick in WVU WR Kevin White

Ryan Pace took the next major step in his young tenure as Bears general manager on Thursday, using the No. 7 pick of the 2015 draft to select West Virginia wide receiver Kevin White, expected to start opposite Alshon Jeffery as well as replace the production traded to the New York Jets in the person of Brandon Marshall.

Pace and the Bears had options. The first six picks saw teams take two quarterbacks, a wide receiver, an offensive lineman and a defensive lineman, plus valued pass rusher Dante Fowler.

So when the Bears’ turn came, they had the options of White and edge rushers Vic Beasley from West Virginia and Kentucky’s Bud Dupree.

[NFL DRAFT PROFILE: Bears WR Kevin White]

White is 6-3, 210 pounds, and caught 109 passes for the Mountaineers last year for 1,447 yards and 10 touchdowns.

“I’ve been through so much,” White said. “I’m ready to turn this city around.”

The process was not without some drama, real or imagined.

The Bears were a big part of the pre-draft blizzard of rumors and speculation. General manager Ryan Pace had said on Wednesday that he and the Bears had talked to all of the teams above them and some of those below No. 7, so it was not a complete surprise that the Bears were reported to be one of the teams talking to the Tennessee Titans and their No. 2 overall pick.

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One scenario had the Bears looking to deal quarterback Jay Cutler as part of a package to move up in order to pick Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, whom the Bears had brought to Halas Hall as one of their pre-draft visits. The Titans reportedly did not want Cutler in the deal, although Tennessee GM Ruston Webster denied the reports.

Multiple options

The Bears’ pick at No. 7 could have been used justifiably on either side of the football.

The Bears finished 30th in yardage allowed last season and 31st in points given up, coming on the heels of a dismal 2013 in which they also were 30th in both points and yardage allowed. They ranked no higher than 16th in any of the main defensive categories last season and the problems were both deep and consistent: 11 Bears opponents scored 20 or more points, including three with more than 40.

The offense failed to average 20 points per game for the first time since Kyle Orton and the 2005 playoff season. Over the final five games the Bears scored 17-15-14-9 points, with the lone exception being 28 against the Dallas Cowboys when the Bears trailed 38-7 before scoring 21 points in a throwaway fourth quarter.

Predicting the value of Roquan Smith's rookie contract with Bears

Predicting the value of Roquan Smith's rookie contract with Bears

Chicago Bears first-round pick Roquan Smith remains unsigned, a situation that prior to the rookie wage scale would've been cause for concern. With contracts now based on slotting, or where a first-round pick is selected, there's little reason or room for agents to haggle over terms. A holdout isn't expected.

There have been some exceptions to this general principle, however. Joey Bosa, who was selected with the third pick by the Chargers in 2016, held out until August 29 over offset language and his signing bonus. So, while a holdout for Smith is unlikely, it's not impossible.

Assuming he agrees to a contract on time, here's what the terms of his deal should look like, according to CBS Sports:

2018 Cap Number: $3,349,485
Signing Bonus: $11,517,940
Four-year value: $18,477,168

If the numbers are correct, Smith will have the 17th-highest cap hit for the Bears in 2018, according to Spotrac. By comparison, Danny Trevathan has a $7.15 million cap hit this season.

Drafting well is critical for long-term success. If a general manager misses on first-round picks, the cap consequences mount over time. Consider Kevin White, the seventh-overall pick in 2015. He has zero touchdowns in his pro career but has a $5.27 million cap hit this year. Leonard Floyd, the team's first-rounder in 2016, has a $4.30 million cap hit and Mitch Trubisky, last year's second pick overall, is $6.59 million. Pace's four first-round picks, when counting Smith's expected deal, are four of the top-17 paid players on the payroll even though none of them have the production to back it up.

Smith, however, is as close to a bust-free prospect as the Bears have drafted in Pace's tenure. He was considered one of the best pure football players in the entire 2018 draft class and will start immediately alongside Trevathan as a rookie, assuming he's under contract in time to contribute in Week 1.

Which Bears have the highest player rating in Madden 19?

Which Bears have the highest player rating in Madden 19?

The time has come to start counting down to the release of Madden 19. The most popular football video game franchise of all-time is set to release in early August and as is a tradition with the weeks leading up to the game appearing on store shelves, leaks about features and player ratings have started.

Here are the highest rated Bears players in this year's edition:

Adrian Amos leads the way with an 88 rating, followed by Akiem Hicks (85) and Allen Robinson (85). 

Chicago's offense received a 75 overall rating, which should result in a significant challenge for Bears fans trying to score virtual points later this summer. The defense, however, will be stout, coming in with an overall rating of 81. Amos and Hicks have a lot to do with that.

Ratings are subject to change due to injury. Madden 19 is scheduled for release on August 10.