Ryan Pace

Tom Brady to meet with other teams in 2020 free agency

Tom Brady to meet with other teams in 2020 free agency

Let the games begin! After spending his entire NFL career at Gillette Stadium with the New England Patriots, Tom Brady is entering free agency. Per CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora, Brady is open to talks with other teams for what is to be the last contract of his playing career.

Brady has been a staple of the Patriots franchise for 19 years. There are young New England fans who haven’t ever been alive during a time without Brady under center. The Patriots are certain to undergo changes in the future, with many wondering how much longer Robert Kraft and Bill Belichick will be at the helm of the organization, so it is understandable to see Brady ready to explore his options.

RELATED: Top 30 free agents of the 2020 NFL offseason

At 42-years-old, Brady has been telling those close to him that, unless he is sidelined by injury, he anticipates playing until age 45. Brady is also excited at the prospect of mentoring a young quarterback so that whatever organization he plays with during his final NFL stint, it is set for success after he retires. The question for Bears fans is, could that young quarterback be Mitch Trubisky?

After an uninspiring season, there is much talk about creating some competition at QB for the three-year Bears starter. Some healthy competition could drive Trubisky to play like the draft pick that Ryan Pace hoped he would be. The Bears are currently in the bottom-five of salary cap space in the NFL, meaning they would have to do some serious budgeting to be able to afford Brady, but fans will have to wait and see what Pace intends to do this off-season after a disappointing 2019 campaign.

La Canfora reports that it would “extremely surprising” if Brady were to agree to a new deal with the Patriots before free agency begins in March. There have been other reports of the Brady family moving to Connecticut (still technically in New England, but a move nonetheless) and a deep clean of Giselle Bündchen’s suite at Gillette Stadium, indicating that Brady is indeed ready to move on. We will all just have to wait and see where Brady will end up in 2020. 

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NBC Sports NFL analyst Chris Simms predicts Bears will make 'splash move' in free agency

NBC Sports NFL analyst Chris Simms predicts Bears will make 'splash move' in free agency

The Bears had a season far below expectations, ending 2019 at 8-8 amid a year that started with Super Bowl hopes. There were some positives amid the disappointing season, including the seasons of rookie running back David Montgomery and veteran wide receiver Allen Robinson. Despite the great individual performances, the Bears' offense finished 2019 ranked 29th in the NFL in points and yards per game, and 25th in the league in 3rd down conversion percentage.

Translation: The Bears could use some offensive punch. 

This is a sentiment shared by NBC Sports NFL analyst Chris Simms, who predicted the Bears will make a "huge marquee signing" this offseason.

He elaborated on the idea that the Bears are lacking a true offensive identity, and need to add an offensive weapon who makes opponents say, "We have to double him or we have to put an extra man in the box to stop that part of their running game," and helps them have an easily identifiable strength they can then build off of. 

As of now, the Bears rank in the bottom-five in terms of cap space. Fortunately for them, there are several moves they can make to free up a considerable amount of salary cap space. As far as what the Bears would do if they clear enough space to truly go big-game hunting in free agency?

The free agent wide receiver group includes names like Amari Cooper (Cowboys) and A.J. Green (Bengals) and less established names coming off of decent campaigns like Robby Anderson (Jets), Breshard Perriman (Buccaneers), Tavon Austin (Cowboys) or DeAnthony Thomas (Chiefs).

On the running back front, Kenyan Drake (Cardinals), Melvin Gordon (Chargers), Austin Ekeler (Chargers RFA) and Carlos Hyde (Texans) will be available. And, of course, Titans running back Derrick Henry — who gashed the New England Patriots for 182 rushing yards and a touchdown in the Titans' wild card upset — sits as the elite option among the 2020 NFL free agent running back group.

If Simms' prediction comes true, March will be an exciting time for Bears' faithful. Like Simms stated, teams should "watch out" for the 2020 Bears because in terms of being true, elite, contenders again, "They're not far away."

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

Connecting the dots between Ryan Pace and Georgia QB Jake Fromm

Connecting the dots between Ryan Pace and Georgia QB Jake Fromm

Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm officially declared for the 2020 NFL draft this week, adding another talented prospect who the Bears will have no choice but to strongly consider selecting if he's still on the board when they're on the clock at pick No. 43 in the second round.

Fromm will have some believers suggesting he's a first-round player, but his limited arm strength and underwhelming physical traits are more in line with second-round quarterbacks. It's not a knock on his NFL projection; it's just a reality of the NFL draft process.

What Fromm does possess, however, is the kind of experienced resume that Bears GM Ryan Pace suggested was an extremely important variable in quarterback evaluation ahead of the 2017 NFL draft. Pace did an about-face on that theory when he selected Mitch Trubisky with the No. 2 pick overall, a decision that at this point seems to be proving his theory that collegiate starts actually do matter when evaluating quarterbacks.

Fromm checks the experience box with 43 starts as a Bulldog, many of those coming in college football's best conference. But there's another important factor at play here: Pace has a history of tapping into the Georgia program on draft day. His affection for the Bulldogs is indirectly connected to Fromm, too.

Look at the facts:

2016 - Pace spends a first-round pick (No. 9 overall) on Leonard Floyd
2017 - Pace spends a seventh-round pick on wide receiver Javon Wims
2018 - Pace spends a first-round pick (No. 8 overall) on Roquan Smith
2019 - Pace spends a fourth-round pick on wide receiver Riley Ridley

See a trend?

The Bears' scouting department has spent a lot of time on Georgia's campus breaking down the Bulldogs' tape. Chicago used two draft picks on Fromm's receivers, which means they've spent even more time evaluating nearly every throw Fromm's attempted since 2017.

Pace was particularly high on Ridley, whom he called a no-brainer selection in the fourth round last year. He said the Bears' front office was shocked to see his name was still on the board. He paid close attention to that Georgia passing game.

This doesn't mean Pace will have the same affection for Fromm, but it does mean he's watched a whole lot of him and should have little doubt about the kind of pro he can be.

And consider this: If the Bears do end up drafting Fromm, he'll join an NFL roster with experience throwing to two of the team's expected five receivers who will be active on gameday. That can't be overlooked. It will make his transition to the NFL much easier; he can focus on building timing and chemistry with Allen Robinson and Anthony Miller while already having the confidence in knowing how and where to target Ridley and Wims.

We're a long way from Pace making a decision on which quarterback he'll add to the depth chart this offseason. It's possible he goes the free-agent route instead of a rookie. But if the draft is his target, Fromm will be high on his list.