For those who have missed Chicago Bears football, Wednesday was a nice treat as both general manager Ryan Pace and head coach Matt Nagy spoke to the media at the NFL Scouting Combine. There was a lot said by both, which could have made it difficult to have heard everything they said.
Here, we will break down both press conferences, starting with Pace.
Pace met the media first and he had a conversation with the Chicago media that lasted about 24 minutes. For the first time since taking over as general manager, Pace actually revealed a good amount of information and was transparent when speaking. It was refreshing, to be honest. John Fox and Pace liked to play things close to the chest.
Things may be changing with the Bears. Let’s break down what Pace had to say.
Kyle Fuller Update
One of the first questions Pace was asked was about free agent corner Kyler Fuller. This was important because Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune reported that the Bears would not give Fuller the franchise tag. Pace shot down the report in a way saying that no decision about Fuller and the franchise tag have been made at this time.
It seems like the Bears and Fuller are working on a long-term deal. Pace said conversations around Kyle Fuller are “aggressive and constantly ongoing.” Make no mistake about it, the Bears are trying to get a deal done with Fuller. However, Pace left the door open for the franchise tag to be applied if a contract doesn’t get done.
Mike Glennon and Willie Young Cut
As I said above, Pace was transparent with the media. He was the one who broke the news that both Mike Glennon and Willie Young would be cut. Glennon’s contract has a clause in it that won’t allow the release to be official until sometime in March. The Glennon move wasn’t surprising at all, but there were some people that thought Young could return.
Later in the day, it was reported that Young’s release by the Bears was listed with a failed physical designation. Clearly, the Bears didn’t feel comfortable with Young and his injury issues. After the termination of Young’s contract, Kyle Long is now the oldest player on the Bears roster at 29-years-old.
After cutting both Young and Glennon, the Bears will have around $80 million dollars in cap space, which is third highest in all of the NFL.
After the release of both Pernell McPhee and Young, adding multiple pass rushers may be the biggest “to-do” for Pace, alongside the wide receiver position of course. My money says the Bears address in the draft, but I wouldn’t rule them out of signing a veteran or two as well. I also wouldn’t mind seeing Lamarr Houston back. He was actually very good when he returned to the Bears.
Pace acknowledged this during his press conference.
Free Agent Philosophy
Having around $80 million in cap space is a good thing, but Pace made it known that it doesn’t mean you can spend the money on whatever you want. Pace is going to be cautious and take calculated risks.
“Just because you have cap space doesn’t mean you can be reckless. We still have to be calculated and strategic with these decisions.”
I’m fine with this way of thinking, although I’m still nervous given Pace’s free-agent history. The Bears have to land the right free agents to take a step forward in 2018.
Eddie Goldman and Adrian Amos Extensions
I told you Pace was being transparent!
Apparently, the organization is having discussions on signing both Eddie Goldman and Adrian Amos to extensions. It would be smart to do both in my opinion. Locking players up before they hit the open market can save teams like the Bears a lot of money when it’s all said and done.
Goldman is an underrated player on the Bears defense. Vic Fangio loves him, and if he can stay healthy he’s a nightmare for opposing offenses. Amos, on the other hand, is coming off of a solid season where he and Eddie Jackson made a great duo in coverage.
Both deserved to be locked up for the foreseeable future.
Coach Nagy’s presser was a little shorter at 15 minutes in length. He briefly spoke of Mitch Trubisky and then touched on the rest of his football team. He made it clear that the Bears are going create their own personality and identity as a football team.
“We’re going to create our own identity. It’s going to be Chicago Bears football.”
The Bears roster has a solid, young core and Nagy is excited about that.
“There’s a strong nucleus…Now it’s a matter of finding some pieces and going with our plan.”
You could tell Nagy was excited about some of the players on the Bears’ roster. He talked about the potential of Kevin White and Adam Shaheen. It’s also important to note that Nagy brought back every single position coach on the defensive side of the football.
That’s huge to have consistency with a unit that finished in the top ten of total defenses in the NFL.
Overall, it was a good day for the Bears brass at the Scouting Combine. There was a ton of information being talked about, but fans should be excited about the future. Hearing Nagy speak was a breath of fresh air compared to listening to Fox and his staff.
As it always is, these four days are very important for the Bears as they try to add talent to their young and exciting roster. With that being said, there are still many, many holes on this football team. From a personal perspective, Pace has a lot of work ahead of him.