Indianapolis Colts

2020 Bears schedule: Can Philip Rivers revitalize Colts by Week 4 matchup?

2020 Bears schedule: Can Philip Rivers revitalize Colts by Week 4 matchup?

The Game

The Bears will host the Indianapolis Colts on Oct. 4 for a noon tilt. The Bears last faced Indianapolis on Oct. 9, 2016, when the Andrew Luck-led Colts (coached by current Bears defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano) beat Brian Hoyer and the Bears 29-23 on a late T.Y. Hilton touchdown catch. Pagano’s unit, led by Khalil Mack, will get their chance to hunt Rivers in Week 4.

Player to Watch

Perhaps no team in the AFC South has improved more this offseason than the Indianapolis Colts, with a transaction log headlined by the addition of veteran QB Philip Rivers on a one-year deal. Head coach Frank Reich’s group finished 9-7 and second in the AFC South last season with lackluster QB play, and even though Rivers is in the twilight of his career, he’s still an upgrade over Jacoby Brissett. Rivers made complete sense for Indy to take a gamble on considering his history with Reich and his staff from their time together with the Chargers.

MORE: Bears 2020 schedule: Game-by-game predictions

Additions & Subtractions

Aside from Rivers, the Colts also made a big splash by trading for and then extending All-Pro defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, who is now the second-highest paid defensive tackle in football (trailing only the Rams’ Aaron Donald). Buckner has missed just one game over his four-year career and has collected 19.5 sacks in the last two seasons, so the Colts are expecting him to cause a lot of problems for opposing offensive lines for years into the future.

Key Storyline

The October matchup will be a reunion between the Bears and tight end Trey Burton, who was cut in March after having multiple injury issues that tainted his time in Chicago. In Indianapolis, Burton will try to help fill the void left by Eric Ebron, who left for Pittsburgh in free agency.

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Trey Burton says he was 'misdiagnosed' last year, excited for fresh start

Trey Burton says he was 'misdiagnosed' last year, excited for fresh start

Tight end Trey Burton had a rough tenure in Chicago. The former Bear and new Indianapolis Colt was often injured in his Bears tenure. In over two years with the Bears, Burton started in 21 games (played in 24). and collected 68 receptions for 653 yards and six touchdowns. Part of the reason the Bears ultimately decided to part ways with Burton was the nagging injuries that made it difficult to evaluate his play in the first place.

But things could've gone much better for Burton last season, and in an interview with Colts Insider Jim Ayello of the Indianapolis Star, the 28-year-old tight end said that a hasty return to play was part of why things didn't work out. 

I was misdiagnosed with an injury before the season last year... I had (last-minute) surgery that was pretty serious and very extensive, and I tried to get back to playing. I was kind of rushed back into playing and didn't necessarily have the time to recover I should have had.

RELATED: Why Bears envision Cole Kmet as key fix for Matt Nagy's offense

Despite not living up to his contract in his brief time in Chicago, the unconventional timing of the release caught him, and many NFL pundits, off guard.

Burton went on to say that after having several productive conversations with the Bears, he was looking forward to working towards a big year in Chicago. Burton stated that the "surprise level was high" when the Bears released him, and now he is looks forward to proving that cutting him was a mistake. 

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Former Bears TE Trey Burton agrees to terms with Indianapolis Colts

Former Bears TE Trey Burton agrees to terms with Indianapolis Colts

Bears’ TE Trey Burton has found a new home in Indianapolis. It was announced today through his management agency the 28-year-old has agreed to terms with Colts. 

 

Burton had been recently cut this offseason after being held back by injury throughout the 2019 season. After the Bears’ season ended this past winter, Burton underwent hip surgery. Burton had two years left on the four-year deal he signed in March 2018.

RELATED: Trey Burton’s release from Bears necessary in drastic tight end makeover

The Bears have to pay $4 million of Burton’s base salary for 2020 and will wind up paying him $22 million in total. However, Pace managed to designate Burton’s release as a post-June 1st transaction, freeing up $2.8 million in salary-cap space for 2020.

The Bears current plan to rebuild the tight end room following Burton so far has been through free agent signings. They signed Jimmy Graham to a $9 million two-year and signed Demetrius Harris to a one-year contract in March.

Burton landing in Indianapolis is a logical choice since he worked with coach Frank Reich before when Reich was an offensive coordinator with the Eagles. Burton will face the Bears in 2020 when the Colts are scheduled to play at Soldier Field. 

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Bears.