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


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 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.

Kevin White's NFL career was an 'every day battle, mentally and physically'

Kevin White's NFL career was an 'every day battle, mentally and physically'

Many Bears fans already know the toll that Kevin White's injuries took on him physically. Leg breaks, hamstring tears, and shoulder fractures all contributed mightily to White's underwhelming time in Chicago, but the lesser known side of things centers on the emotional toll those injuries took. Talking with our Bears Insider JJ Stankevitz, White went into detail about what it was like for him to be living through that: 

It was hard. I would be lying if I said it wasn’t hard. It was hard because I love the game so much and want to be great so bad and did the right things, be a good person — forget about football, I try to be a super good person. And it was just like oh my gosh, when am I going to get my chance or my turn? Or when am I going to be like, oh my gosh I got through it and now I’m with this team or got this contract and I was able to score the winning touchdown or whatever. So I just kept thinking that’s gonna come, it’s gonna come, it has to happen. Just stay the course, keep fighting, keep battling. You got the talent, just stay healthy so we can show it. So that’s what every day kept me going.

... Like, you don’t understand what that player has to go through day in, day out. Even sleeping, it’s hard to sleep because your mind is like, I’m ready to play, I wanna go. Your body is like, no shot. So you gotta sleep on that. Then you get kind of bored, or sometimes you know what the media’s saying, fans are saying, it kind of gets you like, I’m gonna go out there and run a route. I want to be able to do it right now. Like I want to be able to do it now. So you gotta be able to deal with that mentally. Physically, your body’s not ready, so you gotta do treatment and extra things every single day. You don’t just go in for treatment from 9 to 11 and then you’re done for the day. That’s not it. It’s an every day battle, mentally and physically. 

It's fascinating – not to mention a bit heartbreaking – to get such a first-hand account of what failure in the NFL feels like. You can listen to the entire interview on the latest episode of the Under Center Podcast: 

NFL head coaches can reportedly return to team facilities next week

NFL head coaches can reportedly return to team facilities next week

No one steals thunder quite like the NFL. 

On a day when the NHL is planning to publicly announce how their season will return, it's being reported that the NFL may take a significant step towards their own reopening – and soon. 

Yahoo Sports' NFL columnist Charles Robinson is reporting that NFL coaches may return to team facilities as early as next week, and the league has its eyes on OTAs in mid-to-late June:

The sources told Yahoo Sports that if coaches resume their in-house work next week, minicamps including players could be scheduled as early as June 15 or as late as June 27, depending on COVID-19 data and whether a handful of franchises get a “go ahead” signal from state governments to resume full operations. Resuming full operations and getting a minicamp scheduled would represent the league's biggest step to date toward keeping the 2020 NFL season on track for a regularly scheduled fall kickoff.

Robinson's source adds that 'June 15 and June 27 are the dates that have been identified as potential full-squad minicamp windows,' and the 'key hurdle' is the timeline in which California governor Gavin Newsom begins to reopen the state. Newsom has already expressed a willingness to have professional sports team return under strict and specific guidelines. 

The news is a good sign for the return of the NFL on a normal schedule – a reality that's looked increasingly likely over the past couple weeks.