No one will be able to seriously argue that it wasn’t time. Jay Cutler, regardless of potential or tenure, has seriously worn out his welcome in Chicago. This isn’t to say that Jay isn’t talented, or even the best option at quarterback in 2017. But the franchise wasn’t going to win a championship with him, and the cycle needed to be broken at some point.
This isn’t where things end, however. No, the Bears have gotten worse in several positions, several important positions this offseason. This is not a winning recipe for a team that is trying to improve upon a 3-13 season.
“We’re going to be aggressive and calculated this offseason,” Pace said in his end of season press conference. “We’re in a position to do so. We’ll have a clear understanding of our roster and where our needs are and where we want to add to each position. I’m honestly extremely disappointed in this season. But I’m honestly excited going forward. My message to Bears fans is simple: We’re going to get better. We will improve. I hear you. But I also understand this is just talk and we’ve got to show actions. We’ve got to show results. I fully get that.”
If Ryan Pace is going to make these bold statements, it is up to the Chicago media and Chicago Bears fans to hold him accountable. While there is a large faction of Bears fans that are happy the team parted ways with Jay, the rest of the team’s free agency moves should be called into question.
MIKE GLENNON QB – 3 years $45 million, $18.5 million guaranteed
PRINCE AMUKAMARA CB – 1 year $7 million, $7 million guaranteed
DION SIMS TE – 3 years $18 million, $10 million guaranteed
QUINTIN DEMPS S- 3 years $14.5 million, 4.5 million guaranteed
MARCUS COOPER CB – 3 years $16 million, $8 million guaranteed
TOM COMPTON OT – 1 year undisclosed
KENDALL WRIGHT WR – 1 year $4 million (rumored)
MARKUS WHEATON WR – 2 years $11 million, $5 million guaranteed (rumored)
Grade – C
Mike Glennon isn’t in the same league as Jay Cutler, so the team took an obvious step backward in the QB department. I do look at Glennon optimistically, though. With the addition of former Pittsburgh Steeler, Markus Wheaton who is a speed demon on the outside, Glennon has a legit downfield threat. With the arm that Glennon has, look for Wheaton to be a focal point of the Bears passing offense.
Thus far, the Bears offseason has been about depth. This is important since the team had 19 players on injured reserve in 2016. One could argue that the miserable season the Bears had could have been a little better if it weren’t for the injuries that plagued the team. Equally, one could argue that the Packers were equally, if not more, hurt by injuries, yet Green Bay found their way into the playoffs.
The difference between the Bears and the Packers – Aaron Rogers.
The NFL, regardless of the fads that may come and go, is and always will be a QB driven league. This is why it is imperative that the Bears improve at the quarterback position, and not reverse course. Glennon is a move in the wrong direction and one that will continue to be puzzling until the Bears completely answer their long-term need at the position.
The Bears wanted to improve their offensive line. To this point, Ryan Pace has struck out trying to do so. With tackle Ricky Wagner choosing to sign in Detroit over Chicago, all the Bears have done is throw depth at a weak position.
Pace has done a good job of adding to the Bears secondary, and while he swung and missed at Stephon Gilmore, you cannot hold a player choosing the Patriots over the Bears. Fans should be upset that the team lost Alshon Jeffery to the Eagles, however, the team has done all they could to add to their receiver corps this offseason.
Still, the biggest position of all remains – quarterback. What are the Bears going to do at quarterback?
Part of me thinks that this cannot possibly be answered yet. With the draft weeks ahead, Pace could certainly elect to draft a young QB. The problem with that is, most feel you are reaching if you draft a QB with the number three pick, and there isn’t enough depth to select one with their third round pick.
The team is certainly in a downward spiral, yet things are not as bad as it seems. The franchise hasn’t really refreshed itself after the Lovie Smith era. The 2017 season truly marks the first time the franchise will take the field without a holdout from any Lovie team.
While it might not be attractive to go through a 5-11 or 6-10 season, the overhaul of the roster was needed. Now Pace has an opportunity to build the roster in his image.
In his third season in Chicago, we will finally get a sense of what he plans on doing.