With the NFL season wrapped up and the XFL season beginning, it is the time when writers, bloggers, podcasters, and “sports types” alike try and fill the football void with any type of information, valid or far reaching, that may come across their respective air waves. Already there are alleged reports about the Chicago Bears inquiring about the 1st overall pick in the draft. While this is far fetched and 99.999999999% unlikely to occur, you can “never say never” in the world of the NFL. The Bears are close; oh so close in the eyes of many an NFL insider/talking head/beat writer/blogger, but Ryan Pace and company need to make a few moves to get them to hoist the Lombardi Trophy for the first time in 35 years. Here is the first of three installments of some unlikely, likely, and earth shattering Chicago Bears moves this offseason.

Sign Teddy Bridgewater : It’s no surprise the Bears expected a jump from Mitchell Trubisky this past season and when it didn’t happen, people from all corners of the world wide inter webs, twitterverse, and “fill in the blank” NFL show labeled him a bust, said he didn’t have “it” when compared with two other quarterbacks taken in 1st round of the same draft as Trubisky. Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy will do everything they can to help Trubisky in his development, but with the perceived “window of opportunity” closing, Ryan Pace may be forced into some bold moves, especially at quarterback. The free agent pool of quarterbacks is filled with several options who would be an immediate upgrade for the Chicago Bears. Let’s just get it out of the way and acknowledge that Tom Brady and Drew Brees aren’t coming Chicago. Both have cemented their legacies as all time greats and to risk that image by jumping to the Bears, makes little to no sense. Dak Prescott and Ryan Tannehill are at worst (for them) getting franchised tagged; Jameis Winston is Jay Cutler, Rex Grossman and a little bit of every other Bears quarterback of the last 20 years. Phillip Rivers lacks the mobility and at 38 doesn’t possess the arm strength for the big plays that were lacking from the Bears offense last season. The boldest move would be to pursue Teddy Bridgewater. Before he tore up his knee during training camp in 2016, Bridgewater showed signs of being the Minnesota Vikings’ long term quarterback. Since then he has rehabbed and worked his way into a potentially large payday this off season. Under Sean Payton and Drew Brees, Bridgewater not only learned Payton’s offense, but performed well enough to lead the Saints to a 5-0 record filling in for the injured Brees this past season. The similarities off Payton’s offense to Nagy’s  combined with Bridgewater’s precision accuracy makes him the best option for the Bears. His reputation as a team player and great “locker room guy” would go far with Pace, Nagy and Co. His services will be highly sought after by the likes of the Panthers, Chargers, and Buccaneers, so Pace will have to deliver the ultimate sales pitch to land Bridgewater.

 

Sign Austin Hooper or Trade for Zach Ertz : Hooper is coming off his best season as a pro in which he finished with 75 receptions or 787 yards and 6 touchdowns in 13 games. Impressive as this season was for Hooper it also is a result of having Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley as starting receivers in addition to pass catching threat Devonta Freeman as the primary running back. In an offense where Jones was often double teamed, Hooper was the primary beneficiary of one on one coverage. His ability to capitalize on favorable offensive matchups will land him a substantial pay raise this season. Will Ryan Pace bust out the checkbook for another tight end or will he trade for a proven commodity?

Zach Ertz has been one of, if not, the top receiving option for the Philadelphia Eagles since his breakout campaign in his 3rd season where he hauled in 75 receptions for 853 yards and 2 touchdowns. In 2018 he set a record for receptions in a season by a tight end with 116 as the coveted “U” tight end in Doug Pederson’s offense. As another disciple of Andy Reid, Pederson and Nagy’s offensive schemes and assignments would be similar enough for Ertz to hit the ground running should Pace be able to pull off a trade for the Pro Bowl tight end. This past season his numbers slipped due to various injuries, but that combined with him going into the last year of his contract with the Eagles and the emergence of Dallas Goedert could be the recipe necessary for Ryan Pace to have a realistic shot at landing one of the best tight ends in the game. If the Eagles aren’t planning on giving Ertz another big contract, they could look to the draft for his replacement, which makes the Bears a perfect partner.

Cut Leonard Floyd and sign either Shaq Barrett, Yannick Ngakoue, Arik Armstead or Dante Fowler Jr. : Cutting Floyd would free up 13 million in cap space that could go towards signing one of the above mentioned DE/Edge rushers. Barrett just came off a monster season for Tampa Bay in which he registered 19.5 sacks and 6 forced fumbles. Pairing him with Khalil Mack would make them the most lethal pass rushing duo in the NFL. Of the remaining trio of Ngakoue, Armstead, and Fowler Jr., Ngakoue has the most consistent sack totals registering 8, 12, 9.5, and 8 sacks during his four years in Jacksonville. The opportunity to play with a proven defense and opposite one of the premier defensive players in the NFL could be enough to persuade Ngakoue to Chicago. Barrett’s price tag may be out of the Bears range and coming off a Super Bowl with the 49ers, Armstead could get tagged or be more willing to stay in San Francisco to build on the success of this past season. Fowler Jr. had his best season with 11.5 sacks this past year, but he went 4, 8, and 4 sacks in his previous 3 seasons. Not a stellar track record, and with Floyd’s ability against the run exceeding Fowler’s, it doesn’t make sense to cut Floyd in order to sign someone who does less than Floyd in terms of rushing, setting the edge against the rush and dropping into coverage.

Any one of the above transactions would echo loudly to the fan base that, yes, Ryan Pace and the entire front office is all in on the upcoming season in an attempt to win the Super Bowl. Will it happen? Most likely not, but no one figured the Bears as players for Khalil Mack a scant two years ago. They have already proven to take a different approach in recent years in regards to the draft, going after an offensive minded head coach, and trading for and paying superstar players in areas of need. So while these may be far fetched possibilities, don’t rule anything out with these Bears.