Franchise tags not getting NFC North deals done yet


Franchise tags not getting NFC North deals done yet

The Bears put their franchise tag on running back Matt Forte. The Detroit Lions placed theirs on defensive end Cliff Avril. Both teams are not expected to have either player around for the start of their offseason programs.

The tags are intended to ensure teams the right to hold onto one designated player at the average of the top-five salaries of players at their positions. For Forte that is 7.7 million right now and he has not been expected to be at Halas Hall without a long-term deal since declaring hed be hard to find with that.

Avrils price is 10.4 million and he tells the Detroit Free Press that he will be in Detroit next week but not in the offseason workouts.

Players and teams have until July 16 to agree on a contract, after which the player has only the options of reporting and playing for the tag pay or holding out and missing games and paychecks.

This will not be the first time the Bears have gone into their offseason program without an unhappy No. 1 running back. Thomas Jones refused to come in for the 2006 offseason until he was assured a trade out of Chicago would be worked out after that year (it was). The Bears had Cedric Benson available and he was more than happy to take Jones offseason reps at the very least.

The Bears for their part signed Michael Bush away from Oakland as a combination backupalternative to Forte, who had his best NFL season last year despite no offseason program due to the lockout.

Bears among 4 teams under most pressure to secure win in Week 2

Bears among 4 teams under most pressure to secure win in Week 2

The Chicago Bears' Week 2 matchup against the Denver Broncos may not be a do-or-die moment in the season just yet, but it's certainly not a game they can afford to lose.

Since 2007, 98 teams have begun the year 0-2. Only 12 made the playoffs. Assuming math wasn't your major, that's just 12.2 percent.

So if the Bears lose Sunday, their season might already be on life support.

ESPN's Field Yates listed Chicago as one of four teams with notable pressure riding on Week 2's results.

The Browns, Falcons and Steelers, all of whom lost in embarrassing fashion in Week 1, join the Bears as teams who had playoff expectations entering the season. None of them looked like potential contenders on opening weekend, but with few starters playing any meaningful reps during the preseason, rust certainly played a factor.

That won't be the case after Week 2. If Chicago falls victim to a Denver team that's coming off a pretty bad loss to the Raiders, fans will begin to panic. 

And based on the history of 0-2 starts, the panic will be justified.

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Broncos cornerback predicts low-scoring game vs. Bears

Broncos cornerback predicts low-scoring game vs. Bears

If Week 1 was any indication, Sunday's game between the Chicago Bears and Denver Broncos may not exactly qualify as a showcase of offensive football. 

Broncos quarterback Joe Flacco threw for just one touchdown against the Raiders while Mitch Trubisky was blanked against the Packers. Denver's leading rusher, Royce Freeman, managed just 56 yards rushing, which was actually three times more productive than David Montgomery, who had just 18 yards on six rushes.

An argument can be made that the Broncos had a more "productive" day than Chicago because they played a less-talented Raiders defense, but neither offense inspired much confidence that Week 2 will be a high-flying affair.

Broncos cornerback Chris Harris would seem to agree.

“I think it’s going to be a low scoring game, an old-school football game, a tough defensive game and that’s how I see it,” cornerback Chris Harris said Thursday. “We have to go out there and be the better defense this Sunday.”

Broncos defenders will have a little added pressure to outplay Chicago's defense in Week 2. Vic Fangio earned the Denver head job because of his defensive resume, which peaked in 2018 while serving as the Bears' defensive coordinator. There'll be a little extra motivation among Broncos starters to give their coach some bragging rights over his former team.

The opposite is also true; the Bears want to prove their defense is bigger than any single person, including Fangio. A dominating performance will go a long way in establishing that.

All of this likely adds up to a low-scoring Week 2 game.

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