2020 Bears Schedule: Will Gardner Minshew mania grip Jacksonville again?

2020 Bears Schedule: Will Gardner Minshew mania grip Jacksonville again?

The game

The Bears will make a late-season visit to Jacksonville on Dec. 27. The last time the Bears faced the Jaguars, Jacksonville prevailed 17-16 on Oct. 16, 2016, thanks to a late TD pass from Blake Bortles to former Fighting Illini wide receiver Arrelious Benn. Rest assured, there will be some extra motivation on the sideline this time around, as former Jaguars Nick Foles and Allen Robinson face their ex-teammates.

Player to watch

The Bears will be facing the man who replaced Foles as Jaguars starting QB last season, Gardner Minshew. In 14 games, he threw for nearly 3,300 yards with 21 TD and 6 INT, but Jacksonville ranked just 26th in the league in total scoring and limped to a 6-10 record. Entering his first full season as the unquestioned starter, Minshew will have DJ Chark as a top target after the wideout exploded onto the scene last season.

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

Additions and subtractions

One defensive standout to keep an eye on is Yannick Ngakoue, Jacksonville’s best pass-rusher who had the franchise tag placed on him but has repeatedly demanded a trade. Whether or not a trade partner is found will be the biggest issue facing the team as they head toward training camp, whenever that may be. Jacksonville also added talented but injury-plagued tight end Tyler Eifert in free agency.

Key storyline

Since their tough loss in the 2018 AFC Championship game to the Patriots, the Jaguars have torn their roster to shreds as they move into the next era of their franchise. Standout players sent packing over the last year or so include Calais Campbell, Jalen Ramsey, A.J. Bouye, Marcell Dareus, and of course, Nick Foles.

New GM David Caldwell is nearly done purging the roster, and that means this Jacksonville team will be playing the long game and likely setting themselves up for a top pick in next year’s draft.

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Allen Robinson wants Bears to sign ex-Jaguars receiver Marqise Lee

Allen Robinson wants Bears to sign ex-Jaguars receiver Marqise Lee

Tired: Cordarrelle Patterson recruiting guys over Twitter. (obv just kidding, never stop CP)
Wired: Allen Robinson recruiting guys over Twitter.

On Monday morning, the Jaguars announced that they'd released wide receiver Marqise Lee. Lee had been with Jacksonville since he was drafted there in the 2nd round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Why's that notable? Because Allen Robinson, current Bears #1 receiver and voracious tweeter, was also drafted by the Jaguars in the 2nd round of the 2014 NFL Draft – only 22 picks after Lee. 

Robinson darted for Chicago after the 2017 season, but Lee's been a mainstay in Florida, playing at least 10 games in four of his six seasons. Injuries have hampered him recently, though, causing him to miss the entire 2018 season (leg) and 10 games in 2019 (knee). With that said, according to Ian Rapoport, Lee's healthy and ready to go: 

Allen Robinson surely knows that too, because like 1.5 seconds after the news broke, Robinson tweeted this: 

Side eye emojis! @ing the Bears! Then, just for good measure, he RT'd this rando: 

Does Lee make sense on the Bears? Anyone makes sense at the right price. He's 28 and has a few productive seasons under his belt already, meaning the asking price may be a little north of where the Bears want to go. Even with around $9 million in cap space to work with,  drafting a guy – or seeing what they have in Riley Ridley, shout out Riley Ridley Hive – seems like the more realistic scenario. That being said, there are worse ideas! Maybe the Bears should just lean into being Jacksonville north and hope that the absence of Tom Coughlin makes things go better. 

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Bears lost the Nick Foles trade according to one prominent NFL writer

Bears lost the Nick Foles trade according to one prominent NFL writer

Every city needlessly hates on the national media, but it feels like Bears fans are going to blow a fuse if another prominent NFL writer comes out and rains on Ryan Pace's expensive parade. The latest? ESPN's Bill Barnwell, who weighed in on the recent Nick Foles trade in a column on Wednesday afternoon. You can read the entire thing right here, though he hits on the trade right from the top. In particular, it's the contract that Barnwell takes issues with: 

There's nobody else on a veteran contract like this in football. Foles has most of his third year guaranteed, and when players get three guaranteed seasons, they're usually being paid like superstars. Borderline starters like Foles rarely get more than one guaranteed year on their deals. He is essentially guaranteed to get top-level backup money for two years and what will be mid-tier backup money in the third. That's not necessarily a bad deal in itself and it's much more in line with Foles' established level of play than his prior deal.

He gives the Bears a C- for the deal, which isn't outrageous as much as it's the latest in an endless line of reminders what teams have to deal with when they get their QB evaluations wrong. The real kicker is giving the Jaguars an A- for "getting out of the Foles pickle." As for the blockbuster quarterback competition coming to Lake Forrest at some point in the future, Barnwell suspects that "the Bears still badly want Trubisky to win the job and traded for a quarterback who was just good enough to push him without being good enough to clearly push him aside." An exciting time to be a Bears fan! 

And if you think that's bad, you can probaly just skip over Barnwell's evaluation of the Jimmy Graham signing. Just keep reminding yourself that that C's do actually get degrees, or even concentrate on the B's he gave to the Robert Quinn and Germain Ifedi deals. Just don't read the Jimmy Graham blurb. 

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