Bears add offensive line depth as busy Saturday of signing continues

Bears add offensive line depth as busy Saturday of signing continues

Bears fans are probably following Kyle Long on Twitter anyway, but just as an early Thursday post foreshadowed Jay Cutler's official departure later in the day, his Saturday string suggested Falcons free agent offensive tackle Tom Compton was in town. He also hinted that Vikings wideout/Pro-Bowl kick returner Cordarrelle Patterson was here as well (and he did, indeed, visit the Bears).

Compton was signed to a one-year deal to be a swing backup/competition for Charles Leno Jr. and Bobby Massie. His only season in Atlanta provided depth for the only o-line in the NFL that started all 16 games together, en route to a trip to the Super Bowl. The original sixth round pick of Washington out of South Dakota in 2012 has started 11 of 60 career games, nine of those with Washington in 2014.

That move came shortly after wide receiver Kendall Wright signed a one-year, $4 million deal to reunite with offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains, under whom he had his most success in his first two NFL seasons in Tennessee in 2012 and `13. He led Tennessee in catches (64, for 626 yards) after being selected 20th overall (the same year the Bears selected Alshon Jeffery in the second round). Next came his franchise-record 94 receptions for 1,079 yards in his sophomore campaign. But since then, the 5'10 Baylor product has seen his numbers (57, 36, and, most recently, 29 catches for 416 yards this past season) and playing time diminish, despite the drafting of Marcus Mariota in 2015. He figures to compete with Friday signee Markus Wheaton in the slot, especially if Eddie Royal is released.

The Saturday signing flurry began with three cornerbacks coming aboard. The reported agreement Friday with ex-Jaguar and Giant Prince Amukamara became official. That was followed by the re-signing of former Buccaneers second-rounder Johnthan Banks, who's been injury-prone the last couple of seasons and joined the Bears briefly at the end of last year. Then came 6'2 Marcus Cooper, who had four interceptions (one for a touchdown) in a career-high 13 starts for a second-ranked Arizona defense that was stung by injuries to the secondary.  His first three seasons were spent amidst another talented defensive backfield in Kansas City, and received a three-year deal from the Bears.

That trio joins Tracy Porter, Cre`von LeBlanc, Deiondre Hall, Kyle Fuller, Bryce Callahan, Sherrick McManus,  De'Vante Bausby and Jacoby Glenn in a cornerback group that will be heavy on competition, if not another addition at a position that is considered one of the strengths of this year's draft. Then again, it may indicate Ryan Pace may focus elsewhere in late April.

Bears' offense ranks among the NFL's worst analytically, new study finds

Bears' offense ranks among the NFL's worst analytically, new study finds

The Bears' offense was bad last year. I know that. You know that. The Bears (hopefully?) know that. 

But *extremely 30 For 30 voice* what if I told you just how bad they really were? Would you be interested in that? You wouldn't be? Sorry, got a quota to hit. 

In a fascinating new study written by Rotoworld's Hayden Weeks, the lack of modern wrinkles in Chicago's offense are made painstakingly clear. Weeks took an analytically-slanted look at every NFL offense, and friends, it's a rough read: 

4th Down Aggressiveness: 23rd
Pass Rate on Early Downs: 9th
Pass Rate While Trailing: 13th
Play-Action Rate: 27th
Downfield Pass Rate: 16th
Middle of the Field Pass Rate: 5th
Pre-Snap Motion Percentage: 30th
Outside Run Rate: 20th
Shotgun Run Rate: 5th
Offensive Pace: 22nd

Overall, Weeks ranks the Bears as the 22nd best offense in football based on the above metrics. If there's any hope whatsoever, it comes from his short write up of Nagy's offense – but still, temper your expectations: 

If I incorporated the front office, the Bears would be much lower, but I think Nagy holds his own in terms of in-game analytics usage. He’s just been dealt a horrible hand at quarterback and with the offensive line. Nagy opted for a decent pass rate on early downs (9th) and while trailing (13th), plus uses shotgun a lot and targets the middle of the field (5th). There are a few things holding him back from jumping into Tier 3, however. The Bears weren’t aggressive enough on fourth downs (23rd) and didn't use play action (27th) or pre-snap motion (30th) nearly enough. Maybe the quarterback change sparks change.

Bears: Use play action! Just try it! I promise you'll like it. 

Did Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes' mega-deal actually leave money on table?

Did Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes' mega-deal actually leave money on table?

Patrick Mahomes forever altered the sports contract landscape with his landmark 10-year, $450 million extension that became official this week. It made all the sense in the world to lock up the 2018 MVP whose team could very easily be coming off back-to-back Super Bowl titles if not for a nail-biting loss to the eventual-champion Patriots in the 2019 AFC Championship game. But Brad Spielberger, who does extensive salary cap research and writing for, believes Mahomes could have massively cashed in again if he took a different approach to these negotiations

Coming in, we knew this was going to be a groundbreaking deal in some respects... I really didn’t think he was going to give up that many years of control – it’s basically a lifetime contract. Again, I know it’s maybe up to half a billion dollars, so it sounds crazy to maybe question his thinking there, but in 5, 6, 7 years down the road, he probably could have gotten another deal that would have made this one look small in comparison.

Every team in the league would love this deal… every front office in the NFL would say, the fact that they have this much time on this deal is the best part about it. Again, it’s a monstrous deal and there are outs at certain points so it’s not so strict as to say he can’t get out of it or he can’t work with it. If I’m his agent, I would push for 5 years, $200M fully guaranteed; let’s go mega-Kirk Cousins on steroids, let’s change the game, and then let’s see if we can sign a deal for $50M a year when that one runs out.

The scenario painted there is an interesting one, and might have allowed Mahomes to reset the quarterback market twice in a decade… but we’ll never know. For more from Spielberger, including how the Mahomes deal impacts the Dak Prescott and Deshaun Watson negotiations and what the Bears’ offseason moves tell him about the mindset of Ryan Pace’s front office, listen to the most recent edition of the Under Center podcast here or below.