Chicago Bears: New playoff format would really help teamon February 20, 2020 at 12:26 am

If the NFL is actually changing the playoff format starting in 2020, the Chicago Bears would really benefit from the change.

The Chicago Bears went 8-8 in an incredibly disappointing season that had Super Bowl or bust expectations going into it. They were one of the first teams out of the playoffs in 2019 with their .500 schedule. They need many improvements to their team, but the NFL might have just given them another boost that could really help them get in the 2020-21 NFL Playoffs.

ESPN’s top football insider, Adam Schefter, is reporting that the new proposed CBA has there being seven teams making the playoffs from each conference. He is reporting that this would go into effect this upcoming season. It would have each conference with one team on a bye week. The new CBA would still need to be approved over the next few weeks.

This structure would certainly keep the Bears in the race a lot longer next season. They still need to iron out the quarterback situation, the offensive line, and a tight end. With that said, having an extra team from the NFC in the playoffs would significantly increase their chances in 2020. If the structure was that way in 2019, the Los Angeles Rams would have been the seventh team and the Bears would have been the first team out.

That means that if they make some of those needed moves, they could absolutely be in the playoffs in 2020. It would at the very least, give the Bears a chance to be in the race all the way through to the end of the season. It would also make it much more entertaining for pretty much every team in the NFL as more teams would be in the race longer.

Related Story: Four free agent running backs that fit the Chicago Bears

This move would expand the regular season to 17 games per team while shortening the preseason to three games. That is another interesting note to consider when evaluating how the Bears will be in 2020. Either way, adding a playoff team would increase the Bears’ chances of being in the playoffs for the foreseeable future.

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Chicago Bears: 3 players worthy of trading 2nd Round pickon February 20, 2020 at 12:00 pm

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Chicago Bears, Ryan Pace

Chicago Bears (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Without a pick in the first or third round this year, would the Chicago Bears even entertain trading one of their second-rounders?

Before you laugh or look away, let’s get real honest with ourselves. We do remember who the general manager of the Chicago Bears is, right?

Ryan Pace is notorious for making deals, especially come draft day. He can’t get enough of them, and funny enough, some of the big ones have involved second-round picks. Just look at a couple of the notable trades Pace has pulled off.

In the 2018 NFL Draft, the Bears traded up to select Anthony Miller at pick no. 51 in the second round. Chicago sent the New England Patriots their 2019 second-round pick to go along with the 105th pick in the 2018 draft.

Then, later in 2018, it was the blockbuster deal for Khalil Mack which had fans in a joyful ruckus. In that deal, Pace managed to net an extra second-round pick which saw Chicago trade two first-round picks to Oakland along with a couple other pick exchanges.

Somehow, some way, I think Pace strikes a deal once again this year. I wouldn’t be shocked, in the least, if the Bears traded one of their second-round picks.

I understand the pushback on this. The Bears hardly have any cap room and don’t possess draft picks in two of the first three rounds. I get it. But, I also understand that Pace is a risk-taking general manager.

So, if the Bears end up dealing one of their second-round picks (and maybe more), which players or prospects would be worth it? Off the top of my head, there are three key names which come to mind.

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Chicago Bears News: Insider suggests nightmare scenario at QB positionon February 20, 2020 at 1:00 pm

According to one Chicago Bears insider, don’t expect big changes at the quarterback position.

The debate over the state of the quarterback position for the Chicago Bears continues to rage on over social media. Each day there are Twitter sparring matches between the “Trubisky Truthers,” and the “Trubisky Haters.” Even those who simply demand more from the quarterback position and want the team to bring in a legitimate option to both challenge Mitchell Trubisky and potentially win the starting role, are labeled “haters.”

In short, the battle rages on, and according to one Bears insider, it does not appear the latter two groups are going to get their wish. However, if you are a fan of Trubisky and still believe he can be a star quarterback in this league, then I have some good news for you. Regardless of how you feel about Trubisky, Biggs outlines what is, in my opinion, the worst-case scenario for the Bears.

On the most recent Bear Download podcast, Chicago Tribune member and Bears’ beat reporter Brad Biggs spoke about what he believes Ryan Pace will do to address the position. Biggs, who is one of the most connected Bears insiders out there had some very interesting thoughts. Now, he did not tie these comments to anything specific he heard, but because of how connected he is, anytime he renders an opinion, fans should take notice.

Biggs said he believed there were a number of fans who are of the belief that the Bears are going to “reboot” the quarterback position this offseason. However, Biggs stated he does not think that is going to happen, adding “I think they’re committed to holding on to hope that Mitch Trubisky can become and evolve and improve and rise to the level of that franchise quarterback.”

If the team isn’t going to bring in a front-line starter to challenge or supplant Mitch, how will they address the position? Biggs thinks they will look to add someone who has a lot of experience playing games, to serve in a true backup role. Because that type of scenario will not be appealing to many of the free-agent quarterbacks, Biggs thinks the Bears may need to ultimately trade for a backup quarterback.

So let me get this straight: 1.) the Bears are not going to bring in legitimate competition, 2.) they are going to risk squandering what little is left on their Super Bowl window, and 3.) they are going to use some of their very limited draft capital to acquire a quarterback to strictly serve as a backup?

Next: Bears should proceed with caution on these FAs

That sounds like the worst possible scenario for the Bears, but also one that is very possible because — well — they’re the Bears, and nothing surprises me anymore with this franchise.

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Chicago Blackhawks: Trade scenarios and consequences for both goalieson February 20, 2020 at 2:00 pm

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Chicago Blackhawks Jonathan Toews

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

The Chicago Blackhawks are likely not going to the playoffs. They would be smart to trade both goalies for some future assets.

The Chicago Blackhawks are, in all likelihood, not going to the Stanley Cup Playoffs at the conclusion of the 2019-20 season. It is going to be the third year in a row without a playoff appearance despite some of the best play from the organization’s top players. It is not a good look for this team to be out with this level of talent and they need to do something about it soon. It is time to move on and get some future assets.

The thing is, both goalies on the team are on expiring contracts. Robin Lehner and Corey Crawford have been awesome this year for the Chicago Blackhawks but the rest of the team outside of Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Brandon Saad, and Dominik Kubalik have not been good enough. It would be wise to move both goalies for the Blackhawks because they would be able to get a pretty good return on both of them from teams that need a goalie headed into the playoffs.

With both of them on expiring contracts, it makes sense to get something out of both of them instead of losing them both for nothing. These are two goalies that certain teams might pay a decent price to acquire at the deadline. There are also some good goaltenders that will be on the market in the summer via free agency for the Hawks to try and sign. There is also a chance that they try to bring back one of these two once free agency hits.

Each goalie would bring something different to whichever team acquired him. It would also prove to have some consequence for the Blackhawks for the rest of this season and beyond. It is a shame that it has come to this after having some home a few weeks ago, but this is what it is.

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Chicago Bears News: What the Demetrius Harris signing meanson February 20, 2020 at 3:00 pm

The Chicago Bears inked a new tight end and an old friend of Matt Nagy. What does this signing mean for the tight ends going forward?

On Wednesday afternoon, the Chicago Bears made a free agency move before the period officially begins on March 18. After the Cleveland Browns cut ties with tight end Demetrius Harris, Chicago scooped him up on a 1-year deal.

The 28-year-old Harris is entering his seventh season in the NFL and only played one of those with the Browns. His career began back in 2014 with the Kansas City Chiefs, which is of course where he played under current Bears head coach Matt Nagy.

Harris joins a group of tight ends which was arguably the worst in the NFL last year.

The Bears will likely keep Trey Burton around, because cutting him and absorbing the dead cap makes zero sense. Seeing if Burton can regain himself both physically and mentally is their only choice with their starting tight end at this point.

Aside from Burton, the Bears still have Adam Shaheen and could bring back J.P. Holtz. Out of those two, Holtz is much more valuable at this stage. It’s sad to say, but the Shaheen pick was a swing and miss by Ryan Pace.

Going forward, Harris will likely function as mostly a blocking tight end. Although he is fairly athletic, Harris is a much better blocker than he is a receiver. In six NFL seasons, Harris has only caught 72 passes for 754 yards and nine touchdowns.

It’s not that he isn’t capable of catching the football, but his skillset is better used in blocking. In football terms, he’ll be used at the ‘Y’ tight end.

The Bears have to go out and sign or draft at least one more at the position, because Burton is the only true receiving threat at the moment. If they wanted to grab one via free agency, the big names available are going to be Austin Hooper, Eric Ebron and Hunter Henry.

The draft has quite a few notable names which could fit what the Bears do, but the limited capital makes it difficult to spend an early pick unless the value is too good in the second round.

Harris is a decent start to bolstering the tight end group, but the Bears are no where near done. I could even see Pace bringing in two more which would have a shot to make the final roster while keeping Holtz and maybe even Jesper Horsted for training camp, at minimum.

Next: Bears: 4 free agents who require caution

Whether they add more via free agency or the rookie class remains to be seen. What we do know, though, is that there will be more additions to this group. You can count on it.

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Chicago Blackhawks: Power play is to blame for bad streakon February 20, 2020 at 4:00 pm

The Chicago Blackhawks are in a big funk that has basically taken them out of the playoffs and the power play deserves a lot of blame.

The Chicago Blackhawks are 1-5-0 in their last six games. That bad streak has basically taken them out of the playoff race in the Western Conference. They are now eight points back of the final spot in the Western Conference final wild card spot. Those six games that saw them go 1-5 all have one thing in common, the power play has been putrid.

You cannot win games in the National Hockey League if the power play is bad. It needs to be able to score some goals in order for the team to have a chance at the playoffs. In those six games, they are 0-17 on the man advantage. You read that right. The team with Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Alex DeBrincat, Brandon Saad, Dominik Kubalik, and Dylan Strome is 0 for their last 17 on the power play.

That has dropped them to 31st out of 31st in the entire National Hockey League in power-play percentage at 13.8 percent. They are almost a full percent behind the Detroit Red Wings who are dead last in the NHL with a 15-43-4 and having one of the worst seasons in NHL history. The Hawks are likely not going to the playoffs this year but addressing the man advantage is something that must be done if they are to end the playoff drought in 2020-21.

They went 0 for 3 against the New York Rangers in the 6-3 loss. It was a game where the Blackhawks were almost even with New York in shots. It was a high-danger chance filled game but the Blackhawks were never able to gain any steam. They are all but out of it at this point as the trade deadline approaches.

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The Blackhawks next chance to end the power-play drought and perhaps get a win comes tomorrow when the Nashville Predators come to town. They feel that their power play is bad too but it is worlds better than Chicago’s. This is perhaps the Hawks’ last chance to start a run before being truly declared dead if they aren’t already.

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Chicago Bears: Why the Bears should avoid Teddy Bridgewateron February 20, 2020 at 5:00 pm

With the Chicago Bears looking to add to the quarterback room this offseason, why should they avoid Teddy Bridgewater?

This offseason, if there is a position that many are expecting the Chicago Bears to make a move at, it’s quarterback. And one name that many seem to have their eyes on is Teddy Bridgewater. For a lot of reasons, Bridgewater seems like the perfect guy to come in and push Mitchell Trubisky.

At just 27 years old, there’s no doubt that some team views Bridgewater as a future starter. However, he’s reportedly set to receive a multi-year deal that could see him earn up to $30 million dollars a year.

Yet the best case scenario for general manager Ryan Pace and head coach Matt Nagy is to avoid Bridgewater altogether. While some will argue that Bridgewater was an ascending quarterback in the NFL just five years ago, he’s never been the same player after his gruesome knee injury which he sustained in 2016.

In the hypothetical scenario where the Bears do sign Bridgewater, they’d be signing a boom-or-bust free agent. Paying big money to a guy who hasn’t been a full-time starter since 2015 is the biggest example of that.

Another area of concern regarding Bridgewater is when he was with the New York Jets briefly in 2018 and he was unable to beat out then-rookie quarterback Sam Darnold for the starting job. Some will argue that the Jets opted to go with Darnold since he was the future of the franchise however Bridgewater had more experience even if he was a stopgap quarterback.

Since his knee injury in 2016, Bridgewater has started just six games with five of them being in 2019. Even during his five starts in 2019, his numbers weren’t all that great but they were certainly better than Trubisky’s.

During his five starts in 2019, Bridgewater would post nine touchdowns, two interceptions, and have a quarterback rating of 99.1 along with 1384 yards. These numbers may jump off the screen to some but it is worth noting that he was surrounded by playmakers at nearly every position, some of which included guys like Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara.

The question now needs to be asked: Was Bridgewater merely a product of the scheme he played in and the talent that he was surrounded by or was he legitimately good enough to carry the Saints when Drew Brees went down?

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Wherever Bridgewater is playing next season, there’s no guarantee he’s able to replicate the success he had in 2019. And for the Bears, it’s better that they stay away from him and just hope that Trubisky can turn things around.

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Chicago Bears Rumors: Derek Carr teases fans with IG poston February 20, 2020 at 5:21 pm

Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr teases fans and sparks Chicago Bears rumors with a cryptic Instagram post.

Depending on who you talk to, you’ll hear Chicago Bears rumors are committed to Mitchell Trubisky for 2020, or committed to finding his replacement. If the latter is true, one candidate who would make a lot of sense is current Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr.

There have been rumors that the Raiders may be looking to move on, and that a potential landing spot could be the Bears. Well, Carr did nothing to quiet those rumors with his latest Instagram post.

According to many reports, the Raiders are going to be very aggressive in going after superstar Tom Brady, and are apparently prepared to give him $30 million per year to kick off their first year in Sin-City. It also appears that head coach Jon Gruden has not been 100 percent sold on Carr since he took over the team.

The Raiders could save approximately $16 million by moving on from Carr, and his reasonable contract might make him an attractive candidate for the Bears.

Something else that might make him an attractive option is his relationship with current Bears’ superstar, Khalil Mack, who has not hidden his “bromance” with his former quarterback. And If Carr’s current IG post is any indication, he clearly feels the same way.

Now there is no way to know whether Carr is trying to cryptically tell us all something, or if it was just an innocent post, honoring his close friend. The reality is the truth is probably somewhere in the middle, with Carr sending a not so subtle signal that he would be more than open to the idea of coming to Chicago to be their starting quarterback.

The question is “would the Bears want him to be their starting quarterback.” The logical answer is “they absolutely should be.” Yes, Carr does not come without his own limitations, but he is a much more effective (and accurate) passer than Trubisky to all levels of the football field.

Next: Nightmare scenario brewing for Bears?

He would be precisely the type of above-average game manager that Alex Smith was during his one year of overlap with Matt Nagy in Kansas City. If he is sending a signal and looking for someone to toss him a lifeline and get him out of Las Vegas, then Ryan Pace should be first in line to extend his hand.

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