Bears

New Bears deal with Dr. Pepper includes patio at Soldier Field

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New Bears deal with Dr. Pepper includes patio at Soldier Field

The Bears have agreed to an exclusive sponsorship deal with Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, the team announced Monday. This ends a long relationship with the Coca-Cola Company at Soldier Field.

The new deal is for seven years and worth 3 million annually according to sources cited by chicagobusiness.com. Dr. Pepper becomes one of the team's nine "Hall of Fame" corporate sponsors.

As part of the agreement, the Bears will open a new "Dr. Pepper Patio" this season at Soldier Field located in the south stands that will include live entertainment and new food and beverage options. There will also be a lounge area and other amenities.

"We were very attracted to (Dr Pepper's) marketing acumen," said Chris Hibbs, the Bears' vice president of sales and marketing.

The partnership will be made official on Tuesday, and it is expected that Dr. Pepper will also be a large sponsor of Bears training camp in Bourbonnais.

Should the NFL’s playoff changes mean the Bears should be more aggressive in a quarterback trade or free agent signing?

Should the NFL’s playoff changes mean the Bears should be more aggressive in a quarterback trade or free agent signing?

If the NFL’s proposed collective bargaining agreement is ratified, seven teams from each conference will make the playoffs in 2020— a change that will immediately alter the league's player movement landscape in the coming weeks and months.

Under the proposed structure, the Los Angeles Rams would’ve been the NFC’s No. 7 seed in 2019, with the 8-8 Bears finishing one game out of a playoff spot (really, two games, given they lost to the Rams). But as the Tennessee Titans showed last year, just getting into the dance can spark an underdog run to a conference title game. The vast majority of the NFL — those not in full-on tank mode — should view the potential for a seventh playoff spot as a license to be more aggressive in the free agent and trade market as soon as a few weeks from now.

So, should the Bears look at this new CBA as reason to be more aggressive in pushing to acquire one of the big-name quarterbacks who will, or could, be available this year? After all, merely slightly better quarterback play could’ve leapfrogged the Bears past the Rams and into the playoffs a year ago.

The prospect of Teddy Bridgewater or Derek Carr or Andy Dalton representing that upgrade feels tantalizing on the surface, right?

But the CBA’s addition of a seventh playoff team does not, as far as we know, also include an addition of significantly more cap space available to teams in 2020, even if the salary cap has increased 40 percent over the last five years. An extra $25 million is not walking through that door to add to the roughly $14 million the Bears currently have in cap space, per the NFLPA’s public salary cap report.

So that means every reason we laid out why the Bears should not make a splash move at quarterback remains valid, even with the NFL lowering its postseason barrier to entry.

The Bears’ best bet in 2020 remains signing a cheaper quarterback like Case Keenum or Marcus Mariota (who shares an agent with Mitch Trubisky, potentially complicating things) and banking on roster improvements being the thing that gets them back into the playoffs. Adding a quarterback for $17 million — Dalton’s price — or more would hamstring the Bears’ ability to address critical needs at tight end, right guard, inside linebacker and safety, thus giving the Bears a worse roster around a quarterback who’s no sure bet to be good enough to cover for the holes his cap hit would create.

Does it feel like a good bet? No, and maybe feels worse if it’s easier to get in the playoffs in 2020. But a Trubisky-Keenum pairing, complete with a new starting right guard to help the run game and more than just Demetrius Harris to upgrade the tight end room, is a better bet than Dalton or Bridgewater and a worse roster around them.

Also: This new playoff structure will tilt the balance of power significantly toward the No. 1 seeds in each conference. The last time a team made the Super Bowl without the benefit of a first-round bye was after the 2012 season, when the No. 4 seed Baltimore Ravens won the title. Otherwise, every Super Bowl participant since hasn't played on wild card weekend. 

So while the Bears may become closer to the playoffs if the new CBA is ratified, they won’t be closer to getting a No. 1 seed. And that holds true even if they were to find a way to sign Tom Brady.

Getting in the playoffs can spark something special. But the Bears’ best path back to meaningful January football still involves an inexpensive approach to addressing their blaring need for better quarterback play. 
Is it ideal? No.

But it’s far less ideal to be in this situation three years after taking the first quarterback off the board with 2017’s No. 2 overall pick. 

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Kyle Long talks Bears offensive struggles on NFL Total Access

Kyle Long talks Bears offensive struggles on NFL Total Access

Recent NFL retiree and social media enthusiast Kyle Long recently appeared on NFL Total Access and spoke about the Bears’ recent offensive struggles.

Long emphasizes the blame for the 2019 season shouldn’t entirely rest on Trubisky’s shoulders, but entire offensive line. Long’s not just trying to let Trubisky off the hook here, football is a team sport after all, and if you look at the Bears’ offensive report card for this past season, you’ll see that the problem is not just under center. Some of the weight of the lack of OL production falls on Long himself, who continued to be plagued by injuries before retirement and needing to be replaced by Rashad Coward. Long brings this up himself in the interview, stating “I hold myself responsible as somebody who wasn’t able to stay healthy.”

Besides Long, Bobby Massie earned the lowest Pro Football Focus grade of his career (63.2), while Charles Leno, Jr. earned his second-worst (58.6) at tackle.

So, while it’s easy to point fingers at Trubisky and make him a scapegoat, the reality of the situation is that the Bears’ 2019 offensive struggles weren’t born in a vacuum, and there is a lot of room for improvement before the 2020 season begins.

You can read Long’s full quote below:

If the Bears can’t run the ball, they’re not able to pass the ball, and that holds true for any team in the league. You take the pressure off the quarterback with the run game and you keep the opposing offenses off the field.

When Mitch was drafted, he came into a team with a power back that was an All-Pro and you had two pro bowl guards and you had a litany of people around him on the outside and the coaching staff that made his job relatively easy. Granted he was a young player, he had tremendous success, so the expectations were high. Coming into the 2nd year, there was a change in scheme, now you’re looking at a different offensive coordinator in his 2nd year as a starter. With (Mark) Helfrich and the run game and injuries up front, it made it really difficult for Mitch to be able to settle in and have that comfort level to be able to fire the ball where he wants to, when he wants to.

You can watch the whole interview here.  

 

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