The Bears inked Cordarrelle Patterson to a two-year $10 million deal on Wednesday. He is a player who has given Chicago headaches from his days with the Minnesota Vikings and (more recently) the New England Patriots.
While he has clearly not lived up to his first round selection back in 2013, he is still a threat from a number of positions on a football field.
This is not a home run signing by any means, but it is very solid given that he can immediately step in and be a factor on this football team. It is safe to say that the casual fan knows that Patterson can line up all over the field, but we’re going to take an in-depth look here at three ways he can impact the Bears.
As a Returner
Although they do not happen nearly as often as they used to, kick returns are still something that can decide football games in 2019. However, the Bears haven’t had a guy who can do said deciding in over five years.
This is the most obvious aspect in which Patterson excels, and it happens to be a glaring need for the Bears as well.
The Bears have not had a viable option as a kick returner since the Devin Hester days. They haven’t returned a kickoff for a touchdown since 2014. However, they sure have seen one first-hand:
Cordarrelle Patterson is signing a two-year deal worth $5M per year with Chicago, per @AdamSchefter.
Patterson ran a kickoff back for a TD vs. the Bears this season.pic.twitter.com/pHedaN0qQg
— Sporting News (@sportingnews) March 12, 2019
Quite honestly, it seems like they haven’t taken one past the 50 in some time either. Tarik Cohen has been explosive in the punt return game, but there has been nothing out of the kick returners. Enter Cordarrelle Patterson.
While he has not emerged as the number one receiver in the league that the Minnesota Vikings were hoping for when they selected him 29th overall in 2013, he has always been a threat as a return man. His 30 yards per return average is good for second all-time, trailing only the great Gale Sayers by 0.6 yards. He pairs elite speed with a very shifty and strong running style to break off many returns.
Bears fans should be well aware of his abilities in the return game, as they have seen him take one back on them both in a Vikings jersey and just last year in a Patriots jersey.
In fact, if he would not have scored last season the Bears might have beat the Patriots. If that happned, they would have received a first round bye. That means they would not have lost to the Eagles in the first round and Cody Parkey would never have went on The Today Show. Thanks, Cordarrelle.
As a Runner
Patterson has always been able to carry the football from the running back spot, but last season is where we seen him doing it the most. Looking at this from a “what have you done for me lately” aspect, we can see just how valuable he has become in the backfield.
He had 42 carries with the Patriots for 228 yards and a touchdown. The stats do not paint the entire picture here, however. By simply having him line up in the backfield, you are putting the defense in a tough position. Since he is able to catch and run routes as a receiver, but also take a handoff and fight through linebackers, he becomes a matchup nightmare.
It is hard to find a receiver doing anything from an I-formation these days, but Patterson can make plays like this:
Good luck stopping Cordarrelle Patterson 😳
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) November 5, 2018
He clearly runs very hard and is not shy of contact, which is often the case when teams lineup receivers in the backfield as it is being used more and more. Matt Nagy will surely be dialing up some designed runs for him from both straight out the backfield or on end arounds from the receiver spot.
As a Receiver
The Bears do not have a glaring need at receiver after heavily investing in the position last year with drafting Anthony Miller and signing Taylor Gabriel and Allen Robinson.
While it’s a little weird that we finish with Patterson’s ability as a receiver being that he was originally drafted in the hopes of becoming a true number one wideout. That unfortunately never happened for him, but it does not say that he is incapable of running routes and catching the football.
He is coming off a season in which he only caught 21 balls for 247 yards and three touchdowns. He simply was not one of the main targets on that Patriots’ offense. However, he made the few catches he did have count, like this one:
Cordarrelle Patterson just cooked Sidney Jones pic.twitter.com/xjGnphlb0F
— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) August 17, 2018
Here, he takes a simple smoke screen and makes Sidney Jones look absolutely foolish before eventually jumping into the end zone. This is essentially what you get with Patterson. He’s a guy who can take a quick screen 80 yards to the house. He is one of those players that you just need to get the ball in his hands and let him make things happen.
While screens and short plays will be where he is mainly used, he is also somewhat capable of running routes down the field. Take this touchdown, for example:
Tom Brady rips a laser to Cordarrelle Patterson for the TD. Thing of beauty. pic.twitter.com/AzIme45Der
— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) December 9, 2018
Tom Brady obviously has this ball on a string, but Patterson makes a nice over-the-shoulder catch for the score.
Again, do not expect this to be a weekly thing for him, but it is something he will occasionally do.
Matt Nagy is going to have a blast lining Patterson up all over this offense. If Nagy was dialing up touchdowns with linemen running routes and taking handoffs last season imagine just what he can do with a player as versatile as Patterson.
The Bears didn’t break the bank signing him and did not commit long-term either. This was a solid deal for a player who can help a contending team with one of their biggest flaws (kick returning) and also be a very interesting piece in an offense as complex as Nagy’s.
Follow Charlie on Twitter (@CharlieS336) for more Bears news and opinion.