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Bears Off The Rails

Off The Rails: Ryan Pace Silenced His Doubters on Tuesday

Dare I say the Chicago Bears are back? (I'm scared to officially do it because I've said that about the Blackhawks 100 times this year, and yea, they suck).

Dare I say the Chicago Bears are back? (I’m scared to officially do it because I’ve said that about the Blackhawks 100 times this year, and yea, they suck).

After a wild Tuesday, it looks like the Bears will actually be a respectable football team in 2018 and we haven’t had the draft yet. General Manager Ryan Pace shut up many of his haters by bringing in five players for Matt Nagy and his staff to work with. If anything, the Bears showed their fans they are going for it. Hopefully, the mediocre football is over for the foreseeable future.

Here, I will break down each signing, starting with Mitch Trubisky‘s shiny new toy.

Allen Robinson

This news broke late last night, but wide receiver Allen Robinson is a Chicago Bear. Since the season ended, Robinson was my top target for the Bears because he can do a little bit of everything. Want him to run deep? No problem. How about a slant over the middle? Sure. It doesn’t matter the situation — we know Robinson will do his best to catch the football and do something special after he brings it in.

He reminds me of a cross between Brandon Marshall and Anquan Boldin. Let’s not forget he’s only going to be 25 when the season starts. Robinson will also have fresh legs as he missed all of the 2017 season with a torn ACL. I’ve seen many “old school” Bears fans question the durability of Robinson, but an ACL tear is a fairly common injury nowadays. This isn’t 1985 people.

Robinson should be a fantasy monster in 2018. He is outstanding in the red zone. In 2015, he caught 14 touchdowns. He caught six touchdowns in 2016, which was a down year. Actually, maybe it wasn’t with Blake Bortles playing quarterback.

Again, kudos to Pace for getting his top target.

Taylor Gabriel

Believe it or not, this was my favorite move the Bears made. Robinson and Cameron Meredith will be the guys on the outside, which left a hole in the slot. To fill that hole, Pace signed speedster Taylor Gabriel to a four-year deal.

This beats the hell out of bringing back Kendall Wright, that’s for sure. Gabriel is the speedster the Bears have been looking for and will play the Tyreek Hill role in Nagy’s offense. Warning — this man can move.

 

Last season was a down year for Gabriel who caught just one touchdown pass. This was probably due to Steve Sarkisian being the offensive coordinator. You know, the guy who wears a backward hat in the press box.

 

Swag (is that what the kids are still saying today?). Moving on.

With Kyle Shanahan, who is a capable player-caller, Gabriel caught six touchdowns and was explosive in the Falcons offense. Gabriel and Tarik Cohen are going to give opposing teams nightmares.

Trey Burton

Public service announcement: stop saying the Bears already have two tight ends. Shaheen still has to develop and Dion Sims has rock hands. No seriously, hands that are rocks. Signing Trey Burton was another savvy move by Pace.

Burton was on a team with Zach Ertz, so his sample size was small. With that being said, he seems to be a great guy in the locker room and has the ability to thrive in the right offense. In 15 games last season, Burton caught 23 passes for 248 yards and five touchdowns. Now, that doesn’t scream “I’m worth $32M,” but his 74.2 percent catch percentage is intriguing.

That talent is there, Burton just needs more playing time, which he will get in Chicago. Let’s also not forget he’s a better quarterback than Mike Glennon. 👀👇

Quick look at the Bears offense heading into 2018:

Mitch Trubisky, Jordan Howard, Tarik Cohen, Allen Robinson, Cameron Meredith, Taylor Gabriel, Kevin White, Trey Burton, and Adam Shaheen (dear lord).

Prince Amukamara

You thought Pace was done? Suckers! On Tuesday night, Pace brought back a familiar face in cornerback Prince Amukamara. He will be CB2 behind Kyle Fuller, which means I still expect the Bears to draft a cornerback within the first or three rounds of the draft.

Amukamara received a three-year, $27 million dollar deal. Some believe that’s expensive, but when you break it down it’s only two million more than last year’s one year deal. He was good in Vic Fangio’s system and that’s really all that matters here.

The market for second-tier cornerbacks wasn’t that great, so Pace brought back a familiar face–makes sense. I never thought the Bears would overpay for a Trumaine Johnson (who got way too much money by the way), so this was the next best option.

Cody Parkey

The kicker is the most important position football. Kidding, kind of. Since Pace cut Robbie Gould (gulp), the Bears have been trying to find a kicker that can actually make field goals and stay healthy.

They were unsuccessful with Connor Barth, Cairo Santos, and Mike Nugent in those areas. Insert Cody Parkey.

Parkey had a great start to his NFL career with the Eagles as he made the Pro Bowl and set the single-season scoring record by a rookie. Injuries derailed his career, but the last two seasons have been solid for Parkey, who has made 41-46 field goals during that span.

Ultimately what brought him to Chicago was Bears special teams coach Chris Tabor. Tabor was with Parkey in Cleveland and the two reuniting could be huge for the Bears. Tabor is a Dave Toub protege, so I have the utmost trust in him.

I’m not gonna go all Skip Bayless and say the NFL should just get rick of field goals and extra points. Having a solid kicker is very important in the NFL today. Let’s just hope we don’t see something as bad as this anytime soon.

Barth is Finkle, Finkle is Einhorn.

PS- Love, love, love that the Packers cut Jordy Nelson today. He and Aaron Rodgers have haunted my life for a decade now. One gone, one to go. Hit it!

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Nick is a recent graduate of Northern Illinois University and passionate about everything Chicago sports (except the Cubs). He has run his own website, been featured on Bleacher Report, and tried to sell his soul on eBay (which he hasn’t gotten back). He hopes to one day see his beloved Bears win the Super Bowl and is still trying to figure out why Jay Cutler gets so much hate.

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