Bears Grades: Fourth-down decision proved to be game changer


Bears Grades: Fourth-down decision proved to be game changer

For a team and staff motivated by the prospect of reaching .500 and by doing it at the expense of the team that dismissed them at the end of last season, the Bears were listless and unable either to create winning situations or exploit them when opportunities presented themselves.


Defensively the Bears continued to struggle early. When the Broncos drove for touchdown on their opening possession, it was the fourth time in five games in which the Bears defense has allowed a TD the first time on the field. And even though Vic Fangio’s unit has typically buttoned up after that, the last three Bears losses have been by a total of eight points and not matching opposing fire from the outset has been devastating.

The decision by John Fox to pass on a chip-shot field goal and attempt to convert a fourth-and-goal from the 4-yard line proved game-changing and left the Bears two points short of reaching .500. Fox simply did not believe his offense was going to do much scoring and didn’t appear to think his defense was going to be able to hold the Broncos down.

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

“I think you’re going against a pretty stingy defense,” Fox said. “They scored 17 points and we scored 15 points – that’s not a really high scoring game in our business. We knew it would be tough, so we had to take advantage of getting points when we had the opportunity.”

Moon's Grade: D

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.