Bears

New England Julius? Free-safety Julius?

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New England Julius? Free-safety Julius?

Thursday, Dec. 9, 2010
Posted: 2:42 p.m.

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

Great piece by Comcast SportsNet colleague Tom Curran out east on CSNNE.com about the possibility of Julius Peppers being in the "other" uniform this Sunday.

Peppers opened the door to talk of him in New England a year before he became a free agent when he talked about interest in a 3-4 defensive scheme in April 2009, Tom chronicles. "I thought about a number of teams including New England," Peppers said Wednesday. "In free agency you look at all your options. You want to play for one of the better franchises and I definitely had interest in playing for those guys."

The Patriots did sign a Bears pass-rushing force once when the Bears did not want to pay linebacker Rosevelt Colvin what New England was willing to after Colvin, who beat out Brian Urlacher for the SAM linebacker spot in Brian's rookie season. But the Patriots also lavished money on rush-linebacker Adalius Thomas in free agency subsequent to that and Thomas was a huge-money bust, doing a "New England faceplant in his three well-compensated seasons," Tom says.

How well Peppers in fact might have fit in a 3-4 scheme is open to question, if only because 3-4's typically do not get high sack totals from their ends. Peppers, however, likely would have been far more of a devastating factor in New England's 3-4 at 283 pounds than Thomas was at 270.

"You can put him pretty much anywhere, except corner, maybe," Bill Belichick said. "But anywhere else. He can definitely play on his feet and play linebacker. I mean, he'd be wasted there but you could put him there... You could put him at tight end. Probably make a left tackle out of him. I wouldn't want to tackle him if he was carrying the ball."

New England Robbie?

Where Peppers might have been a Patriot, Bears kicker Robbie Gould actually was one

Gould, pretty clearly the greatest kicker in franchise history, went to New England as an undrafted free agent out of Penn State in April 2005. The problem is that the Patriots had Adam Vinatieri, a Super Bowl winning kicker, and Gould was there to give Vinatieri a break, not a job.

Gould handled all kickoffs and one extra point in the first preseason game, kickoffs in game two, and second-half kickoffs in game three. He was slated to handle all kicking in game four but an injury elsewhere on the roster forced the Patriots to add a position player and cut Gould.

Bitterness over the cut? Not even a little bit.

"New England is a great place, like here, and they were always straightforward with me," Gould said. "And Bill Belichick, I love the guy. He's probably the greatest coach of all time."

"Iceman" Belichick?

New England coach Bill Belichick has been called many things but he may be in line for some sort of new nickname besides "Hoodie" (after his trademark hooded sweatshirt).

Linebacker Lance Briggs called on a movie reference to describe the persona Belichick and his defensive posses have.

"I like to think of them like 'Top Gun,'" Briggs said, using the blockbuster Tom Cruise film for a Belichick likeness, in particular the hyper-cool fighter pilot nicknamed "Iceman" and played by Val Kilmer.

"Remember Iceman. It's like he didn't make mistakes. He was just patient. He waits for you. As soon as you slip up a little bit -- bam -- he's got you."

IceBill?

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.

Here's where Allen Robinson ranks on list of 2021 NFL free agents

Here's where Allen Robinson ranks on list of 2021 NFL free agents

Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson still doesn't have his contract extension. The COVID-19 pandemic is an obvious explanation for the delay in re-signing Chicago's most important offensive weapon to a multi-year deal, but as the calendar inches closer to the start of the 2020 regular season, the odds of inking A-Rob to a new contract get worse.

At some point, Robinson might decide it's better to play out the final year of his contract and improve his open-market value in 2021. The addition of Nick Foles should be a boon to Robinson's production, assuming he takes the field at some point this season. Robinson had nearly 100 catches and more than 1,100 yards catching passes from a devolved Mitch Trubisky and duck-and-chuck backup, Chase Daniel. Just imagine the kind of numbers Robinson would put up with steady quarterback play.

And with more production comes more cash.

READ: Todd McShay has Bears taking a QB in latest NFL Mock Draft

The Bears have to be very careful with their handling of Robinson. If they allow him to hit the open market, he won't be back. Teams will line up for his services and the bidding will get out of control. In fact, Robinson would command a contract that would put him at or near the top of the wide receiver market.

And this isn't just a Bears-biased opinion of Robinson. He's already regarded as one of the top players scheduled to hit free agency next winter, according to NFL.com.

7. Allen Robinson 

Robinson, who turns 27 later this month, would be known as one of the 10 best receivers in football if he played with better quarterbacks.

Ryan Pace has proven during his tenure in Chicago that he isn't afraid to pay his own players. He already did it this offseason with Eddie Jackson when he signed the Pro Bowl safety to a four-year, $58.4 million deal.

It isn't time to panic yet. Pace tends to take his time with these transactions and is infamous for getting big-money extensions signed by his guys on the eve of the regular season. Maybe Robinson will be the next guy in line.

He better be.

 

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NFL Mock Draft 2021: Todd McShay has Bears taking a quarterback

NFL Mock Draft 2021: Todd McShay has Bears taking a quarterback

ESPN NFL Draft analyst Todd McShay published his first mock draft of the 2021 NFL draft cycle on Wednesday, which is exactly what all football fans need after the Big 10 and Pac 12 conferences announced they're delaying football until the spring. The remaining Power 5 conferences could follow suit in the coming days. Draft season is already here, folks.

McShay's mock draft was a mix of chalk and surprises. Trevor Lawrence (QB, Clemson) was the first pick to the Jaguars, which almost every draft analyst assumes is a lock at this point. Lawrence is a franchise-changing quarterback prospect and whoever owns the first overall pick is going to take him. You can safely move on to the second pick, which is where McShay's first major curveball came.

At No. 2 overall, McShay has the Washington Football Team selecting Alabama cornerback Patrick Surtain II. 

Surtain is a surefire first-round pick but it isn't a slamdunk that he's the top cornerback in this year's draft class, let alone a top-five player overall. Instead, that distinction should go to Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell and Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, who McShay has off the board at the third and fourth overall picks to the Bengals and Panthers respectively.

READ: 4 reasons to feel optimistic about the Bears in 2020

As for the Bears, McShay is one of many who are buying into the quarterback narrative. Chicago is expected to be one of the teams on the shortlist of clubs targeting a passer in Round 1 next April (assuming the draft is in April). In this mock, McShay sends the Bears Trey Lance, the North Dakota State star who enjoyed a 41-touchdown, zero-turnover season as a passer and runner in 2019.

"Lance is big, athletic and tough, and he absolutely dominated the FCS last season," McShay wrote of the Bears' pick at No. 14 overall. "He threw zero interceptions on nearly 300 pass attempts in 2019 and offered dual-threat production, rushing for 50-plus yards in nine of his 16 games. The Bears need a guy they can build around, and they can't afford to whiff this time around.

"Chicago's thoughts on Mitchell Trubisky were made clear when it didn't give him his fifth-year option and signed a soon-to-be 32-year-old Foles who is coming off an injury-plagued, poor 2019 season. Lance is a third-year sophomore with some questions still to be answered -- including whether he'd want to declare for the draft at all -- but the Bears would love to get this talented signal-caller in the middle of the first round based on his ceiling."

Lance will be a fascinating player to monitor over the next few months. He, unlike some of the other top prospects from bigger programs, needs another season of tape to solidify his grade as an early first-round pick. It doesn't look like he's going to get it.

RELATED: Is Mitch Trubisky the Bears' biggest liability this season?

Lance is making a jump from a lower level of competition at the game's most complex position. He only has 288 pass attempts on his collegiate resume. Compare that to Trubisky, who entered the NFL with 386 college pass attempts and was considered inexperienced and raw during the 2017 draft cycle.

Can Ryan Pace (or whoever is the Bears' general manager during the 2021 draft)  roll the dice on another quarterback who has just one season as a starter? It seems like an easy answer (which is 'No' in case you're wondering). 

Buckle up. It's going to be an extremely long draft season with dozens and dozens of mock drafts between now and April. Players like Lance will move up and down the first round, and pundits will cycle through names for the Bears' first-rounder like Chicago's gone through kickers in recent years. 

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