Bears

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' 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 OverTheCap.com, 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.