Bears offseason tracker: Free agent scorecard, signings, NFL draft news, key dates, latest updates and more


After taking the division and winning 12 games in 2018, the Bears flopped in 2019 with an 8-8 record. The disappointing season exposed their shortcomings and now the Bears are at a pivotal point as they look to keep pace with the Packers and Vikings, both of whom surpassed the Bears in 2019 with playoff appearances that also included wins — something that has eluded the Bears since the 2010 season. It won’t be easy.

One important thing to note when evaluating the Bears free agency — money (salary cap space) is tight. The Bears are firmly stuck in the bottom portion of the league in terms of available cap space. Numerous important contributors have hit free agency particularly on the defensive side of the ball, where two inside linebackers, Danny Trevathan and Nick Kwiatkoski, and one starting safety, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, have expiring contracts. The Bears re-signed Trevathan but lost Kwiatkowski to the Raiders and Clinton-Dix remains unsigned. 

The coaching staff has already been revamped, most notably with Bill Lazor arriving as their new offensive coordinator and John DeFilippo as their new quarterbacks coach. Speaking of quarterback, the Bears had an interesting way for upgrading that position on the third day of free agency — but more on that below. 

Meanwhile, the 2020 NFL Draft is approaching with the Bears holding zero first-round picks. To infuse their roster with young and cheap talent, they’ll need to find some late gems.

It feels like a turning point for the organization, for better or for worse. If general manager Ryan Pace does supply Nagy with the necessary reinforcements, the 2019 season will be forgiven, fans will actually give them credit for winning 20 games over their first two seasons together (the most wins for the franchise in consecutive seasons since the mid-2000s), and the future will be bright again, as it was at this time a year ago.

With all that in mind, we decided to create a one-stop destination for all the information you need about the Bears’ offseason, including a list of the key upcoming dates, an updated free agent scorecard, a glance at their draft situation, and the latest reports and rumors.

Key upcoming dates

  • March 18: The new league year officially began at 4 p.m. ET. Teams can now officially sign free agents.
  • March 29-April 1: The annual league meeting in Palm Beach, Florida.
  • Mid-April: The release of the 2020 regular season schedule. But we already know which teams the Bears will face in 2020. In addition to their normal divisional slate of games, they’ll also face the Saints, Texans, Giants, Colts, Buccaneers (all at home), Falcons, Jaguars, Panthers, Rams, and Titans (all on the road).
  • April 21: GM Ryan Pace is scheduled to speak to the media before the draft.
  • April 23-April 25: The NFL Draft. 
  • May 8-May 10: Rookie minicamp.
  • May 27-29, June 2-4, and June 8-11: OTAs.
  • June 16-18: Mandatory minicamp.
  • Late-July: Training camp. Final dates to be determined.

Free Agent Scorecard 

All contract info via Spotrac

Unrestricted free agents

After cutting two key contributors (more on that below), the Bears are working with roughly $26.3 million in available cap space, which as of February 26, ranks 23rd among the league’s 32 teams. This means, of course, they won’t be able to retain everyone.

The Bears need to prioritize keeping one of their inside linebackers to pair with Roquan Smith in the teeth of their defense. Trevathan is far more accomplished than Kwiatkoski, but Kwiatkoski (26) is younger than Trevathan (29), and he filled in for him admirably during the 2019 season. Losing both would be a brutal blow, considering the Bears’ defense has relied on strong inside linebacker play over the past couple of seasons.

The safety position is an area the Bears need to address with Clinton-Dix already hitting free agency one year after signing him to a one-year deal to replace Adrian Amos. While the Bears already have a great young safety in Eddie Jackson, who is under contract for the long haul, they need to give him a competent partner in crime.

Special teams ace and backup defensive back Sherrick McManis could also be made a priority, especially considering how thin the Bears also are at cornerback. 

Restricted free agents

It’s Robertson-Harris who the Bears should prioritize. In a limited role, Robertson-Harris has impressed, notching 7.5 sacks over the past three seasons. He’s a great depth piece on an already stacked defensive front. 

Releases

Both Amukamara and Gabriel became victims of the team’s tight salary cap situation. In a move to create $13.5 million in additional cap space, the Bears released both players before free agency began. The cap space is nice, but the Bears suddenly have a hole at cornerback opposite Kyle Fuller. In the past two offseasons, they’ve lost two good cornerbacks in slot guy Bryce Callahan and now Amukamara. The Bears should be able to replace Gabriel internally, though. Anthony Miller appears to be poised to fill the void as he eyes a Year 3 breakout after two encouraging seasons to begin his NFL career.

Free agent signings from other teams

In-house free agent signings

Players acquired via trade

2020 draft picks:

  • Round 1: None
  • Round 2: Oakland, Chicago
  • Round 3: None
  • Round 4: None
  • Round 5: Oakland, Chicago
  • Round 6: Chicago, Philadelphia
  • Round 7: Chicago

Rumors, reports, and updates

Wednesday, March 18: The decision to trade for Nick Foles undoubtedly improved Chicago’s quarterback room, but the real question is by how much? I make the case for why acquiring Foles was not enough of an upgrade for the Bears at quarterback. 

Trade grades: Jags trade Foles to Bears

Wednesday, March 18: Not everyone saw the Bears and Jaguars coming to terms on a trade involving a quarterback on Wednesday and Bryan DeArdo is here to break down grades for each team answering the question of who won the deal.

Bears trade for former Super Bowl MVP

Wednesday, March 18: After speculation for weeks leading up to this trade, the Bears finally addressed the quarterback position, bringing in competition for Mitchell Trubisky, by sending the Jaguars a fourth-round draft pick in exchange for Nick Foles.

Bears go big in free agency with Robert Quinn

Tuesday, March 17: The Bears went big when it came to finding a pass rusher to play opposite of Khalil Mack when they signed former Dallas Cowboys edge rusher Robert Quinn to a massive contract. Patrik Walker has the details on how Quinn will fit in Chicago and what he brings to the table.

Bears try to revive Graham with Nagy

Monday, March 16: It hasn’t been pretty for five-time Pro Bowl tight end Jimmy Graham over the second half of his career, but a change of scenery might be best. After spending time with Aaron Rodgers in the division, Matt Nagy takes a chance on a player he feels his offensive system will get the most out of. Tyler Sullivan has more on the Graham-Bears union.

Bears plan to pursue Hooper

Friday, February 28: As is common at the combine with so many key players gathered in the same place, rumors, reports, and buzz surrounding free agency starts to bubble to the surface. One of the hottest free agents set to hit the open market is tight end Austin Hooper — he is coming off of a breakout 2019 season. The Bears are expected to pursue Hooper — as finding an impact tight end is key for Matt Nagy’s offensive system (his words, not ours) — and Cody Benjamin has more on Chicago’s reported interest.

Pace doubles down on Trubisky

Tuesday, February 25: From the combine, Pace (once again), backed Trubisky as the Bears’ quarterback while leaving the door open for a quarterback competition, which would be dependent on the Bears adding a quarterback at some point in the offseason.

Our Cody Benjamin has the details:

Bears general manager Ryan Pace told reporters Tuesday at the scouting combine that Trubisky will open the 2020 season as Chicago’s starter, echoing his December declaration that the team is optimistic about the former first-rounder’s growth: “We believe in Mitch,” Pace said, per ProFootballTalk.

[…]

While reaffirming the team’s commitment to Trubisky moving forward, the GM also indicated Chicago will wait until May to decide on exercising the fifth-year option on Trubisky’s contract — a deal currently set to expire after the 2020 season. Asked about the possibility of a training camp competition under center, he left the door open for just that, reportedly saying that “competition brings out the best in everybody.”

Of course, just because Pace is saying something in February doesn’t mean it’ll be true come September. That said, it certainly seems like Pace wants to give Trubisky one more chance … something every Bears fan undoubtedly fears.

Pace talks Allen Robinson extension

Tuesday, February 25: Also at the combine, Pace addressed Robinson’s contract situation.

“We keep those things inside, but it’s obviously something we’ve talked about,” Pace said, per Yahoo Sports. “He’s a good player and does a lot for our team on and off the field and he’s a guy we’d like to have a Bear for a long time.” 

2020 is the final year of Robinson’s deal, which he signed in 2018. So far, he’s been everything the Bears could’ve hoped for. Even though he’s been catching passes from subpar quarterbacks, he’s averaged 950.5 yards and 5.5 touchdowns per season with Chicago. An extension, which could deliver immediate salary cap relief to the team and long-term security to Robinson, should be made a priority.





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