Bears

Hillenmeyer: NFL lockout different than NHL's

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Hillenmeyer: NFL lockout different than NHL's

Monday, March 28, 2011
Posted: 2:30 p.m.

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

The Bears released Hunter Hillenmeyer early this offseason but that doesnt mean that the veteran linebacker and players rep is without perspectives on the current situation involving his sport.

Hillenmeyer, writing on NBCChicago.com's Grizzly Detail blog, draws parallels (and differences) between the lockout of the NFL and the one imposed by the National Hockey League, beginning with the fact that both involved outside counsel union breaker Bob Batterman.

Hmmm.

Both lockouts followed moves to de-certify the player unions, and the NHL players was upheld. Hunter brings in his personal perspectives, formed while he was actively involved in the final days of talks and was witness to the proposals put forward by the players group.

A noteworthy difference between the NFL and NHL situations lies in the fact that hockey owners were hemorrhaging cash during negotiations, something clearly not the case in footballs situation. And Hillenmeyer reiterates that NFL players are willing to accept less than the percentage of revenues than hockey players wanted, and that NFL players will be content with staying with the same deal, under which all sides were making money.

Not to take a side, but its tough to argue with that fact. Not many labor groups have been willing to accept status quo in negotiations, and it may be difficult to see a judge in this case ignoring that fact when the Apr. 6 case comes up for adjudication.

Medically speaking

One of the ticking issues in the owner-player situation is former players and their health benefits. A representative of the NFL players is reporting that a Federal judge has issued an injunction requiring all teams and owners to stop seeking to reduce the worker comp benefits due former players for injuries suffered while playing the game.

And as for current players, colleague Tom Curran at CSNNE.com has established with the NFL that players may in fact see team doctors during the lockout, as long as it is not at team facilities. That follows Tom seeing a story in the Boston Globe in which a team physician alluded to one of the Patriots showing up at his office.

Even the players themselves were off on this one, as the website of the former union laid out as one of the lockout terms that players couldnt see medical staff. For the likes of Jay Cutler and his knee, this is good news, for both player and team.

John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com's Bears Insider, and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.

Bears show interest in Tulsa pass rusher Trevis Gipson

Bears show interest in Tulsa pass rusher Trevis Gipson

It's early (extremely early) in the 2020 NFL Draft process, and the Bears' team needs between now and when their first pick (No. 43 overall) is on the clock are certain to change. The general consensus right now is that offensive line, tight end and quarterback will be early draft targets, but edge rusher can't be overlooked.

Leonard Floyd's failure to emerge as the pass rusher the Bears need to complement Khalil Mack is a bigger problem than GM Ryan Pace or coach Matt Nagy want to admit. In fact, Floyd's ineffective style of play could cost Chicago a chance at becoming a truly elite defense and potentially limit the astronomical upside Mack has as a generational talent.

If the Bears decide to pull the fifth-year option from Floyd, they'll have no choice but to attack the position early in the 2020 draft. It appears like they're doing their homework for that scenario, too.

Bears scouts met with Tulsa edge rusher Trevis Gipson at length following Wednesday's Senior Bowl practice, an indication that the position is at least high enough on their wish list that extensive homework on pass rushers is being done.

Gipson helped his draft stock at the Senior Bowl and was an early winner among edge rushers at the game. His practice reps confirmed his tape; the dude knows how to get to the quarterback. He had eight sacks in 2019 and plays with a high-energy style that's certain to entice Chicago's coaching staff. He isn't an elite athlete, but he has an appealing frame (34-inch arms) and powerful hands.

Gipson began the week as a late-Day-3 prospect. He helped his stock and may have jumped a round or two along the way.

Bears' rookie class ranked 8th-best in NFL

Bears' rookie class ranked 8th-best in NFL

The Bears didn't have much of a rookie class in 2019. Last April's draft produced just five picks, two of which didn't appear in a regular-season game for the Bears.

But the production of running back David Montgomery was enough to carry the rookie class to a top-10 ranking, according to Pro Football Focus.

The Bears checked-in at eighth.

The Bears have a strange class. They had only five picks, none before Round 3, with three of those five selections coming after Round 6. As a result, their expected return was low. Running back David Montgomery was really the only Bears' rookie to play significant snaps, and he managed to provide enough return from his third-round selection to land them at No. 8.

It's pretty remarkable that Chicago's 2019 rookie class — essentially, Montgomery — garnered this much respect from PFF. Wide receiver Riley Ridley showed signs of life late in the season and cornerback Duke Shelley will be given an opportunity to carve out a role on defense next season, but with running back Kerrith Whyte, Jr. and cornerback Stephen Denmark making no impact whatsoever (Whyte is no longer with the team), the 2019 class won't be remembered as one that laid a championship foundation in Chicago.

Sure, Montgomery has a chance to become one of the NFL's more talented starting running backs (he ended his rookie season with 889 yards and six touchdowns), but if Ridley and Shelley don't turn into legitimate contributors in 2020 or 2021, the class will go down as an epic failure for GM Ryan Pace.

Remember: The Bears didn't have a first-round pick because of the trade for outside linebacker Khalil Mack. That's a win for Pace, but it doesn't change the fact that he had five selections at his disposal and ended up with what appears to be just one impact player after their rookie seasons.