Bears

NFL free agency buzz: Bears reportedly in hunt for DL Malik Jackson

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NFL free agency buzz: Bears reportedly in hunt for DL Malik Jackson

Although general manager Ryan Pace created something of an impression this offseason that the Bears weren’t likely to be big-strike players in free agency, one Halas Hall insider told CSNChicago.com that with Pace stirring the brew, “expect the unexpected.”

That may indeed be the case, as one report out of Denver has the Bears on the short list in the serious hunt for one critical, high-priced member of the Denver Broncos defense that took Super Bowl 50 away from Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers.

According to Mike Klis at KUSA in Denver, the Bears are among four teams expressing “serious interest” in defensive end/tackle Malik Jackson, who followed a breakout season of 21 quarterback hurries, 16 hits and 5.5 sacks with a dominant Super Bowl performance that included a fumble recovery for a touchdown.

Others in the competition for Jackson, whose price tag was anticipated to be in the range of $12-14 million per season, reportedly are the Broncos, Oakland Raiders and Jacksonville Jaguars.

[MORE: Martellus Bennett may have sabotaged options for Bears, himself]

If not Martellus Bennett for Bears, Colts' Coby Fleener now more available

The Indianapolis Colts’ re-signing tight end Dwayne Allen for four years and $29.4 million ostensibly points to his teammate Coby Fleener and his 54 receptions for 2015 hitting the open market, given the size of the Allen deal.

The souring relationship with Martellus Bennett was expected to have the Bears kicking the contract tires with a tight end, and Fleener already was high in the rankings of available players at that key position in the offense.

[SHOP: Gear up, Bears fans!]

RGIII out in D.C.; Adam Gase in line?

The Washington Redskins released quarterback Robert Griffin III, ending the story of one of the NFL’s great trade disasters, Washington having effectively sent eight players, including draft picks that turned into Greg Robinson, Alec Ogletree, Stedman Bailey, Michael Brockers and Janoris Jenkins — all on the then-St. Louis Rams roster last season.

One thought: Few teams are not in the market for at the very least a backup quarterback capable of winning games; more than a few could do with upgrades at the No. 1 spot.

Adam Gase’s reputation as quarterback whisperer after his work with Jay Cutler could make Miami an intriguing landing spot for Griffin, where Ryan Tannehill hasn’t missed a game in four years but also hasn’t had one winning season yet.

Bradley Sowell, Taquan Mizzell move to new positions at Bears OTAs

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USA TODAY

Bradley Sowell, Taquan Mizzell move to new positions at Bears OTAs

When the Bears reconvened for their first full team practices of the offseason, two players lined up at new positions on offense with new jersey numbers.

Offensive lineman Bradley Sowell is now wearing 85 and playing tight end, while running back Taquan Mizzell moved to wide receiver and will wear No. 11.

Both players have experience at their new positions from experimenting last season. Sowell actually played more snaps at tight end (30) than offensive line (13) in 2018, according to Pro Football Focus, most notably catching a touchdown pass against the Los Angeles Rams on the play known as “Santa’s Sleigh.”

Mizzell lined up at wide receiver plenty last season too. Out of his 73 total offensive snaps, 33 of them came at a receiver position, according to PFF.

They’re both moving to crowded positions on the depth chart, but the team evidently is confident they’ll make a smooth transition.

Sowell’s move likely clears a spot for converted defensive lineman Rashaad Coward to take over as the third offensive tackle on the depth chart.

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George Halas ranked 37th in the Bears' Top 100

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USA TODAY

George Halas ranked 37th in the Bears' Top 100

Leading into the Bears' 100th anniversary season, they've been releasing parts of a list ranking the top 100 players in franchise history. The players were ranked by a two person panel consisting of Hall of Fame writers Don Pierson and Dan Pompei for the Chicago Bears Centennial Scrapbook.

Here is the list:

26.  Ed Healey
27.  Olin Kreutz
28.  Lance Briggs
29.  Rick Casares
30.  Gary Fencik
31.  Charles Tillman
32.  Paddy Driscoll
33.  George Trafton
34.  Matt Forte
35.  George Musso
36.  Red Grange
37.  George S. Halas
38.  Link Lyman
39.  Harlon Hill
40.  Ken Kavanaugh
41.  Neal Anderson
42.  Richie Petitbon
43.  Wilber Marshall
44.  Johnny Morris
45.  Otis Wilson
46.  Doug Buffone
47.  Dave Duerson
48.  Fred Williams
49.  Ray Bray
50.  Mark Bortz

Perhaps the most shocking name on this portion of the list is the legendary George S. Halas ranked at 37. Halas was the founder, owner, and head coach for the Bears, and the Bears' uniforms bear his initials and his name adorns the practice facility. 

And it is not Halas' son, because the press release very clearly states it is the "founder of the Chicago Bears, George S. Halas."

But one could presume the panel focused strictly on Halas' on-field contributions for this player ranking and had the unenviable task of trying to separate his off the field, broader contributions to the Bears and the NFL.

This segment of the list includes "17 who contributed to a Bears championship (Bortz, Bray, Casares, Driscoll, Duerson, Fencik, Grange, Halas, Kavanaugh, Lyman, Marshall, Morris, Musso, Petitbon, Trafton, Williams and Wilson), seven Hall of Famers (Driscoll, Grange, Halas, Healey, Lyman, Musso and Trafton), 17 All-Pros (Briggs, Casares, Driscoll, Duerson, Fencik, Grange, Healey, Hill, Kavanaugh, Kreutz, Lyman, Marshall, Morris, Petitbon, Tillman, Trafton and Wilson), 16 Pro Bowlers (Anderson, Bortz, Bray, Briggs, Duerson, Fencik, Forte, Hill, Kreutz, Marshall, Morris, Musso, Petitbon, Tillman, Williams and Wilson)."

Also, it looks like Olin Kreutz, who came in at 27th, is going to riot.

But at least he isn't Jay Cutler, who was ranked behind Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery.

The top 25 will be announced on Thursday.

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