Bears

Bears staff changes to be among topics raised as Ryan Pace, John Fox address media on Wednesday

Bears staff changes to be among topics raised as Ryan Pace, John Fox address media on Wednesday

With players and their baggage cleared out of Halas Hall, the focus on Wednesday shifts dramatically to matters involving their bosses as GM Ryan Pace and coach John Fox are scheduled to meet with media around 11 a.m.

How much is formally announced at the start of this pivotal offseason remains to be seen. But foremost among the issues will be the makeup of Fox’s staff, which already has seen one change in what had been among the most successful areas of the football team.

Running backs coach Stan Drayton, who was intimately involved with the development of rookie Jordan Howard’s record-setting first season, will be leaving the Bears for a post at the University of Texas. Drayton had extensive experience at the college level before coming to the Bears as part of the Fox staff, most recently as assistant head coach/running backs at Ohio State from in 2013-14 after joining the Buckeyes as wide receivers coach in 2011.

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

Drayton inherited veteran Matt Forte and was involved in the development of Jeremy Langford and Ka’Deem Carey last year to the point where the organization felt comfortable going with a backfield minus Forte. The Bears’ commitment to running the football this season was inconsistent (39.3 percent of all plays) despite Howard averaging 5.2 yards per carry and he and Langford accounting for 10 rushing touchdowns.

Fox publicly supported offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains’ play calling despite a stated plan to become a running football team. What if any changes Fox makes to his offensive staff has been the source of some speculation, particularly with Mike McCoy being out as head coach in San Diego. McCoy was offensive coordinator under Fox in both Carolina and Denver.

Bears still have league-average amount of salary cap space left

Bears still have league-average amount of salary cap space left

Free agency has slowed to crawl a little more than a week into the process, and the Bears still have some money to spend.

Ryan Pace made multiple moves to clear up additional salary cap space this offseason, but he spent his money cautiously.

Even with five outside signings under contract, he still has the space to make some more moves.

As of Friday, the Bears have just under $17 million in cap space, the 16th-most in the NFL, according to ESPN’s Field Yates.

Pace has more money to work with now than he did before the team started releasing players to clear space.

He still has to keep some cap available to sign their draft picks as well as an emergency fund for the season, but the Bears have more than enough money left to add an impact player or two on the open market.

The pool of talent to pick from continues to shrink, but Pace can still find quality options that could come at a bargain the longer they sit on the open market.

 

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Chicago Football Madness Rd. of 32: Chalk dominates the 1st round, with some notable exceptions

Chicago Football Madness Rd. of 32: Chalk dominates the 1st round, with some notable exceptions

Excitement for the Bears are at an all-time high, so while March Madness and the NCAA Tournament begin, we still have Bears on the mind. So we've created Chicago Bears Football Madness, pitting players from the three best Bears teams and legends head-to-head.

THIS. IS. STILL. MARCH. 

The first round of our inaugural Chicago Football Madness Tournament is over, and friends, it was kind of anti-climatic -- except for Jay Cutler advancing, that rules. 

Out of all the 32 Opening Round matchups, only two underdogs moved on: Robbie Gould and The Fridge. Now, Gould's got a tough matchup against 2-seed Lance Briggs, and there's no rest for the Perry (this joke works, right?) as he takes on Walter Payton. 

Keep sending the votes in! You can find all the matchups over on our Twitter account, or on the website, because we like to give you options. 

RD. OF 32 REGIONS:

1985 Bracket

2006 Bracket

2018 Bracket

Legends/Others Bracket

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Bears.