Those plans changed bigtime on Monday afternoon.
The day started with a report that Adrian Amos would get a big contract somewhere other than Chicago. That wasn’t very surprising. It always felt like another team would overpay Amos, who was PFF’s darling a year ago.
Le’Veon Bell rumors then surfaced and the day took a weird turn.
— Matt Verderame (@MattVerderame) March 11, 2019
The Bears would most likely not be able to afford Bell, who should get a big deal from a team like the Jets. This move was most likely made by his agent to drive up his client’s price. Yes, every Bears fan would want to see Bell in Chicago. Financially though, it’s just doesn’t seem possible.
To the surprise of many, the Bears signed former Seahawks RB Mike Davis. They backed that up by signing former Buster Skrine. The addition of the nickel-corner means Callahan’s time in Chicago is over.
Both moves were surprising to Bears fans for different reasons. Here, I will break down the signings and give my initial thoughts.
Like most Bears fans, this move really caught me off guard. I wasn’t expecting Bell, but Mike Davis? Then the details of the deal came out and it made a lot more sense.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 11, 2019
$6-7 mil for two years?
I’ll take that, especially for a player that has upside and appears to be more athletic than Jordan Howard, who the Bears are trying to trade.
The eye test tells me Davis is an explosive and balanced runner as you can see in the play below.
Now, the question is will Davis be the starter or just add depth and assume the Benny Cunningham role? To me, it’s the last two. You can never have enough depth in the NFL, especially when you’re trying to trade your starting RB.
In 2018, Davis appeared in 15 games for the Seahawks, rushing for 514 yards and four TDs. Davis also set career highs last season in catches (34) and yards per carry (4.59). To put that into perspective, Howard caught just 20 passes last season.
The Matt Nagy offense needs RBs that can catch the ball. Davis can do that.
I would assume the Bears still kick the tires on a few other free agent RBs out there like TJ Yeldon or Spencer Ware, but they seem to be set on drafting another one this season. Having a draft pick, Cohen and Davis as your three RBs, with Ryan Nall as the fourth isn’t a bad thing.
Still, the Bears may not be done adding at this position in FA.
This move told us that the Bryce Callahan price was too much for the Bears. They still seemed to be concerned with his injury history, which is warranted. Nagy also seems to have a soft spot for the former New York Jet.
He had this to say about Skrine in October:
“He’s one of the better nickels in this league, if not the best. I mean, he’s good. He’s a good nickel in there.”
Clearly, Skrine was always going to be the Bears target if Callahan’s price got too high and that’s exactly what happened. The numbers tell us that Skrine is far from elite at the nickel position. Johnathan has some great stats here:
1And now to look at Buster Skrine. According to @TheQuantEdge, teams had a passer rating of 113.3 throwing at him in 2018. Completed 63% of passes, averaged 7.4 yards/target, and had 5 TD/0 INT. He also picked up 7 penalties, which was just short of Amukamara's amount.
— Johnathan Wood (@Johnathan_Wood1) March 12, 2019
Again, that’s not ideal for a nickel corner. Skrine is going to be asked to cover elite players in the slot without much help. He will be on an island at times, and that is concerning to say the least. The hope is that playing on a talented defense like the Bears will helo Skrine’s game. Again, that’s the hope – key word there.
The good news is that Skrine’s contract is very friendly.
Buster Skrine Bears deal: $16.5M, $8.5M gtd, $4.25M signing bonus, salaries $2.25M (gtd), $4.65M ($2M gtd), $4.15M; $100K annual workout bonus, $500K third day 2021 league year
— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) March 12, 2019
It’s basically a two-year deal.
Let’s not forget that Bears also have Sherrick McManis, who did a fine job when Callahan when down for the year.
Skrine is far from perfect, but he is a veteran that should benefit from playing on a much better defense.
The Bears were actually able to score a TD on Skrine in 2018. The coverage was good, Mitch Trubisky just made a better throw.
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) October 28, 2018
Bears fans need to relax (I’m starting to sound like that QB for the Packers…what’s his name again?). It’s just day one. If I know Ryan Pace, he’s setting himself up to make one or two bigger moves.
What could it mean?
Maybe bringing one these players still on the open market:
–Eric Berry (if the Chiefs move on)
If I had to guess, I would say the Bears find a way to lock up Gipson and Houston. That would be my ideal situation anyway.
If you want more thoughts on what the Bears did on Monday checkout Danny Ocean’s initial reaction here.
— The Loop Sports (@TheLoop_Sports) March 11, 2019