Every offseason has its own individual character, different players, different issues. Call it a rite of spring as the NFL begins its year in March with teams deciding whom they want, and vice versa. But some contain more precipitous personnel decisions than others, and this would very much be one of those “more precipitous” offseasons for a Bears team seeking to continue on what it considers an upward franchise course.
The reasons are simple and obvious.
The Bears face decisions with all three quarterbacks who started games for them in 2016, and whether Matt Barkley, Jay Cutler, Brian Hoyer, any or all, is in a Bears uniform for 2017.
Hoyer, for one, would very much like to be, after stints with four other teams (New England, Arizona, Cleveland, Houston) and then stepping in after Cutler was injured and throwing 200 passes without an interception and averaging 330 passing yards in the four full games he played in place of Cutler before breaking his arm at Green Bay.
“[Re-siging] will be something that I sit down and talk to [the Bears] with, and my agent, obviously,” Hoyer said. “But my comfortabiliy level here with the coaches, having had a chance to play, I hope it's something I can be a part of.”
Cutler is under contract but not expected to be with the Bears in the final analysis, leaving via either trade or release after eight largely unsuccessful seasons following the Bears giving two No. 1 picks in trade to bring him from Denver.
Barkley is coming out of contract, but a once-promising situation deteriorated amid a blizzard of turnovers (10) over his final three starts after surprising much of the NFL with his play. He established friendships in the locker room and earned respect in the huddle.
As far as re-signing with the Bears, likely as a backup to Hoyer if the Bears are able to retain Hoyer, “that won’t happen today,” Barkley said. “That’ll come with time. But I definitely want to be here, definitely want to be with this staff, these players. There’s definitely something special brewing here. Hopefully I can be a part of that.”