Bears on outside looking in on trade talks involving No. 1 QB target: Kirk Cousins

Bears on outside looking in on trade talks involving No. 1 QB target: Kirk Cousins

INDIANAPOLIS – The Bears may be close to being shut out of their No. 1 quarterback target this offseason: Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins. 
Cousins and Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo are the central figures in a reported three-team deal being discussed, one that does not include the Bears at this point.
Under the proposed deal, first reported by Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, Washington would send Cousins to the 49ers, longtime Dallas fixture Tony Romo would move up to Washington, and the 49ers would send the No. 2-overall pick to the Cowboys.
Cousins had been the Bears' best-case scenario going into the offseason and before Washington placed the exclusive-rights franchise tag on Cousins for the second straight season. But while the Bears are unwilling to give up the No. 3-overall pick for New England's relatively unproven Jimmy Garoppolo, Barrington-native Cousins has gone from an insurance pick behind Robert Griffin III in the 2012 draft to a playoff quarterback with more than 9,000 passing yards and 54 touchdown passes over the past two seasons.
The kind of proven production presumably worth a No. 3 draft pick. The Bears, however, don't appear to be in the proposed-trade mix, which would reunite Cousins with his former Washington offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, hired last month as 49ers head coach.
Washington's use of the exclusive tag meant that only the Redskins have the rights to negotiate a contract with Cousins. Chief negotiator Eric Schaffer met with Cousins agent Mike McCartney Wednesday night in Indianapolis, ESPN reported this week, but sources confirmed that negotiations have not moved far beyond $20 million per year over five, with less guaranteed money that the Cousins camp is seeking.
A trade scenario that would have Romo going to NFC East rival Washington is ostensibly problematic, although the Redskins set something of a precedent there by trading to acquire Donovan McNabb from Philadelphia in his next-to-last season.

Bears still see Dion Sims as a valuable piece to their offensive puzzle

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Bears still see Dion Sims as a valuable piece to their offensive puzzle

Dion Sims is still here, which is the outcome he expected but perhaps wasn’t a slam dunk — at least to those outside the walls at Halas Hall. 

The Bears could’ve cut ties with Sims prior to March 16 and saved $5.666 million against the cap, quite a figure for a guy coming off a disappointing 2017 season (15 catches, 180 yards, one touchdown). But the Bears are sticking with Sims, even after splashing eight figures to land Trey Burton in free agency earlier this year. 

“In my mind, I thought I was coming back,” Sims said. “I signed to be here three years and that’s what I expect. But I understand how things go and my job is come out here and work hard every day and play with a chip on my shoulder to prove myself and just be a team guy.”

The Bears signed Sims to that three-year, $18 million contract 14 months ago viewing him as a rock-solid blocking tight end with some receiving upside. The receiving upside never materialized, and his blocking was uneven at times as the Bears’ offense slogged through a bleak 11-loss season. 

“The situation we were in, we weren’t — we could’ve done a better job of being successful,” Sims said. “Things didn’t go how we thought it would. We just had to pretty much try to figure out how to come together and build momentum into coming into this year. I just think there were a lot of things we could have done, but because of the circumstances we were limited a little bit. 

“… It was a lot of things going on. Guys hurt, situations — it was tough for us. We couldn’t figure it out, along with losing, that was a big part of it too.”

Sims will be given a fresh start in 2018, even as Adam Shaheen will be expected to compete to cut into Sims’ playing time at the “Y” tight end position this year. The other side of that thought: Shaheen won’t necessarily slide into being the Bears’ primary in-line tight end this year. 

Sims averaged 23 receptions, 222 yards and two touchdowns from 2014-2016; that might be a good starting point for his 2018 numbers, even if it would represent an improvement from 2017. More important, perhaps, is what Sims does as a run blocker — and that was the first thing Nagy mentioned when talking about how Sims fits into his offense. 

“The nice thing with Dion is that he’s a guy that’s proven to be a solid blocker,” Nagy said. “He can be in there and be your Y-tight end, but yet he still has really good hands. He can make plays on intermediate routes. He’s not going to be anybody that’s a downfield threat — I think he knows that, we all know that — but he’s a valuable piece of this puzzle.”

Bears logo ranked in bottom five of NFL in recent fan poll

USA Today

Bears logo ranked in bottom five of NFL in recent fan poll

The Chicago Bears logo has withstood the test of time. In a sports era full of uniform changes, the Bears have maintained the classic orange 'C' for most of their nearly 100 years in Chicago.

Unfortunately, tradition doesn't equate to popularity.

Chicago's logo ranked 28th in the NFL, according to a recent poll of nearly 1,500 football fans. Only the Redskins (29), Bengals (30), Jets (31) and Browns (32) were worse.

I’m not sure how I feel about the underbite on the “C.” I can see how this would be a polarizing feature of this logo. I wish to an extent that it met up more evenly. I think they could have had the bottom meet up in a more even fashion and still maintained the sharpness, of the “C,” which I like. I don’t mind the point [ON THE BACK SIDE OF THE “C”], without the point it would be super boring. The point actually does add something from a design standpoint that makes it stand out.

Bears fans will take exception with the results. Wins have been hard to come by in recent seasons, but there's still something special about seeing the familiar navy and orange on Sundays in the fall. The 'C' is arguably the biggest part of that. Sure, it's not a complex design overflowing with colors, but it represents a long and storied history. 

It's interesting that each of the bottom five teams have struggled to string together winning seasons. On the flipside, teams like the Saints, Falcons, Rams, Vikings and Eagles rank in the top six. Maybe it's recency bias.

In the NFC North, the Lions rank No. 2 (which is a shocker) and the Packers are No. 20.