Bears

Wherever Bears play Kyle Long, money time may be at hand

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Wherever Bears play Kyle Long, money time may be at hand

The Philadelphia Eagles created a mild stir last week when they popped for a six-year contract with Lane Johnson despite their (current) right tackle still have two years remaining on his rookie deal, including the fifth-year option.

Johnson’s deal is reportedly worth potentially $63 million, including $35.5 million guaranteed. And this is for a right tackle. Some thinking is that Johnson, the No. 4-overall pick in the 2013 draft, will eventually move to left tackle when Jason Peters, whom Kyle Long coincidentally replaced on the Pro Bowl roster, is done in Philadelphia.

It would not be a complete surprise for Long, who came into the NFL 16 picks after Johnson did in 2013, to get his inevitable extension sooner rather than later, like Johnson. The Bears have managed their cap situation with aplomb and the overall money pool is due to deepen, too.

The going rate for good tackles, which the Eagles clearly regard Johnson as, is north of $10 million. Besides Johnson, Ryan Clady’s five-year deal with the Denver Broncos came in at $52.5 million over five years, and Clady has been a Pro Bowl starter. Long has three straight Pro Bowls in his NFL career; Johnson, for comparison purposes, has none. At guard or tackle.

Long, who came into the NFL with Johnson and the ’13 class really wasn’t all that keen on going from being a two-time Pro Bowl guard to an apprentice right tackle. But former offensive coordinator Adam Gase praised Long for his willingness to make the position change. The Bears have taken care of key players – Jay Cutler, Roberto Garza, Matt Slauson, others – with early extensions.

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Right or left? Think twice about it

Left tackle has become the glamour position on offensive lines, pretty much over the last 30 years with finding someone to deal with blind-side speed rushers from the defensive right side like Lawrence Taylor (primarily), Bruce Smith, Richard Dent and so on. Blind-side hits produce the occasional loose football.

But so many Hall of Fame defensive ends have been left, not right, ends – in no particular order, including Reggie White, Deacon Jones, Howie Long, Willie Davis, Michael Strahan, Dan Hampton, Jack Youngblood and so on. The front-side rusher is the one in the quarterback’s face, the one he can see and panic at the sight of coming around his right-tackle’s outside.

Accordingly, the Hall of Fame has welcomed Bob Brown (“Boomer”), Ron Yary, Rayfield Wright, Forrest Gregg, Jackie Slater and others from the right edge of the offensive line.

Nearly all of the top salaries for tackles are for left tackles; Johnson only right tackle among the top 19 salaries for tackles. Long being the second would not be a premature move by the Bears with one of their franchise players, regardless of position.

ICYMI: The Bears lose in OT, the Bulls season nears, the Blackhawks make history

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USA TODAY

ICYMI: The Bears lose in OT, the Bulls season nears, the Blackhawks make history

The Bears suffered a heartbreaking defeat (that makes two of those), but the Bulls are days away from the start of a new season and the Blackhawks did something that has never happened before in sports history.

Bears

The Bears had a slow first half, failing to score against the shorthanded Dolphins, but picked things up in the third quarter. It all fell apart late in the fourth quarter and then again in overtime in a 31-28 defeat. Miami went up against the Bears without starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill, but Brock Osweiler threw for 380 yards and three touchdowns. What does that say about the Bears' defense?

Matt Nagy was a bit chippy with the media after the game, but there were still positive signs from the offense.

Plus, Dwyane Wade was there and repped the Bears on the road.

Bulls

The Bulls wrapped up the preseason Friday with a 98-93 loss to the Nuggets. Wendell Carter Jr. and Bobby Portis both showed well in the preseason finale and Jabari Parker flashed his potential as well.

With the preseason complete, Mark Strotman graded each player on the Bulls roster. You may not want to calculate the team GPA.

The roster is being finalized as well, with Ryan Arcidiacono making the team and local product Tyler Ulis getting picked up off waivers.

Blackhawks

Saturday was an eventful day for the Blackhawks. First, it marked the 1,000th career game for Duncan Keith. Keith talked about the emotional night after the game.

As for the game itself, the Blackhawks beat the Blues 4-3 in overtime. That was the second time the Hawks beat the Blues in OT this season, adding to a 5-4 OT win in St. Louis on Oct. 6.

Unbelievably, that was the fifth straight OT game for the Blackhawks. Every game has gone to overtime this season, and not one of those has even gone to a shootout. No NHL team has done that since the league introduced a regular-season overtime period in 1983-84, per the Elias Sports Bureau. Overtimes are more rare in other sports, but that also holds true for the NBA, NFL and MLB.

The Hawks don't play against until Thursday, when the host Arizona.

Bears notes: Was Trey Burton’s penalty justified?

Bears notes: Was Trey Burton’s penalty justified?

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — In a game full of pivotal moments, one seemed to irk the Bears in particular following Sunday’s 31-28 overtime loss to the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium.

Driving on the Dolphins three-yard line, the Bears lined up in a T formation with Jordan Howard, Trey Burton and Tarik Cohen lined up left to right in the backfield behind Mitch Trubisky, who was under center. Burton motioned out of the backfield and to the right, and ran his route into linebacker Kiko Alonso.

Trubisky threw a short pass to a wide open Cohen for a touchdown, with Alonso late getting to the running back after being hit by Burton. But that score was taken off the board for offensive pass interference, with officials ruling what Burton did amounted to an illegal pick play.

“Trey did everything I asked him to do,” Matt Nagy said, sharply.

On the next play, Trubisky forced a pass into double coverage in the end zone, which was easily picked off by Dolphins safety T.J. McDonald. Miami turned that interception into eight points on Albert Wilson’s 43-yard touchdown and an ensuing two-point conversion.

The way Burton understood the rule was that offensive pass interference was only assessed on a pick play if he intentionally ran into a defender without running a true route. That’s what Burton felt he did; the officiating crew disagreed.

“I thought I ran a route and the guy ran into me,” Burton said. “I thought they changed the rule this year or last year — if you run the route, it doesn’t matter if you pick the guy or not, you’re good. Obviously they called it.”

A Rough Return

The conversations surrounding the Bears Sunday into Monday would be awfully different had a number of things happened — Trubisky doesn’t throw that interception, the Bears’ defense gets a stop, Tarik Cohen doesn’t fumble near midfield, etc. In that same group: If Cody Parkey hits what would’ve been a game-winning 53-yard field goal in overtime.

Parkey, instead, missed that kick wide right. His career long is 54 yards, which he hit last year while with the Miami Dolphins (and that was a game-winner with about a minute left against the Los Angeles Chargers).

“I had the distance, I just didn’t kick it straight enough, bottom line,” Parkey said. “But you’ve got to move on. I’ve made game winners, I’ve missed game winners. As long as I keep playing, I’m just going to keep trying to kick my best.

“… I control what I can control, and unfortunately I missed a field goal. I’d like to have that one back, but it is what it is and I’m just going to focus on the next game. That’s all I can do.”