The NFL's free agency 'tampering period' is underway and reports have surfaced regarding which players could be on the Bears' radar.
In addition to interest in free agent quarterback Mike Glennon, the Bears are expected to pursue one of the league's most explosive kick returners.
According to SiriusXM NFL Radio's Alex Marvez, the Bears will make a push to sign former Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson.
The 25-year-old Patterson was a first-round pick out of Tennessee in the 2013 NFL Draft by the Vikings, but never quite lived up to his pre-draft billing after an impressive rookie season.
Patterson, a two-time Pro Bowl and two-time First-Team All Pro returner, has brought back 134 kicks for 4,075 yards with a 30.4 average and five touchdowns.
In four seasons with the Vikings, Patterson has registered 132 receptions for 1,316 yards and seven touchdowns. Patterson also has 31 carries for 333 yards and four touchdowns.
The Bears can officially begin signing unrestricted free agents when the new league year begins on Thursday, March 9 at 3 p.m.
New Bears' QB coach John DeFillipo knows a thing or two about coaching highly-drafted QBs.
Back in 2009, DeFillipo got his first taste of life as a QB coach when his employer, the Jets, drafted Mark Sanchez with the 5th overall pick in that year's draft.
What followed was Sanchez's best season. During a rookie campaign in which Sanchez became only the 2nd QB in NFL history to win multiple playoff games, DeFillipo coached the QB to career-bests in touchdowns (20) and yards per completion (12.5).
Now at Halas Hall, the Bears are hoping he can work the same magic on their own highly-drafted QB. For what it's worth, Sanchez is buying in.
"He’s a great offensive mind," Sanchez said. "Coach Nagy knows exactly what he’s doing with these hires. He understands what Mitch needs, how he needs to progress, how he needs to grow as a quarterback, and continue to make good decisions, continue to understand what defenses to make it difficult on him, and I know that John DeFillipo can help with that. He was a great resource for us as one of our assistants my rookie year in New York, had a ton of success in this league. He’s been around to plenty of places, lots of great experience, and all that experience is going to lend well in helping Mitch grow."
Since his time in New York, DeFillipo has made stops in Oakland, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Minnesota, and most recently, Jacksonville. He was hired by the Bears back on January 16th, and will take over for Dave Ragone who was promoted to Passing Game Coordinator.
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NFL free agency is less than two months away, and with questions surrounding the future of Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky, it's natural to assume Chicago will be in the market for a veteran quarterback.
The prevailing opinion is that GM Ryan Pace will add a quarterback who doesn't pose an immediate threat to Trubisky's starting job but who can also be the Bears' version of Ryan Tannehill and enter the lineup midseason to salvage and spark a deep playoff run. Ironically, the guy Tannehill replaced in Tennessee -- Marcus Mariota -- is a name that's consistently mentioned when searching for who Pace could target.
According to NFL.com's most recent QB Index, Mariota to the Bears is a logical fit.
Look, if Mariota is really set on getting right back in the saddle as a starter, the best team for him would be the Chicago Bears, whose incumbent QB Mitchell Trubisky -- another former No. 2 overall pick -- is heading down a Mariota-like path in a hurry. If the Bears really are committed to Mitch as the starter -- and that is their story for now -- they could take a flier on Mariota (backup Chase Daniel is a free agent) and hope he can pull a Tanny on Trubisky if the young passer gives them no choice but to give someone else a shot before it's too late in 2020.
Mariota wouldn't inspire much excitement in Chicago, considering his career has largely been a disappointment through five seasons. He's 29-32 as a starter and has never played a full 16 games in any one season. He's fallen shy of 3,000 passing yards in three of his five seasons with the Titans and has 19 or less touchdown passes in four of his five years in the league.
But here's the thing: the Bears can't enter 2020 with a Trubisky-or-bust approach. Mariota, for as underwhelming as he may appear right now, still offers a degree of insurance against the bottom falling out from under Trubisky.
Sure, Mariota hasn't done much with the opportunities he's been given in Tennessee, but the same can be said for Trubisky. Maybe a quarterback competition would bring the best out of both of them and help whoever becomes the starter reach their true potential.
Or maybe the Bears are one step closer to quarterback purgatory that can only be fixed once they pick high enough in the NFL draft to land another blue-chip prospect. And if that's the case, here's to hoping they get it right next time.