Chicago Bears Rumors
The 2020 Bears have had no shortage of rumors swirling around them. After Kicker Eddie Pinero injured his groin before the season, many wondered who would replace him for the season opener. We got our answer when the Bears signed Cairo Santos, Nagy's former kicker in Kansas City. Santos has quietly had a great season for Chicago, earning NFC Special Teams Player of the Week after his performance against Carolina in week 6.
There was also the mystery involving Khalil Mack's younger brother, Ledarious. The Bears originally signed him to the team after he went undrafted but released him during what would have been the pre-season. However, the Bears signed him on to their practice squad just before week 1 began in Detroit.
We all wondered after the Bears traded for Foles in the offseason when he would take over for Trubisky. We got our answer in week 3 after Trubisky struggled mightily in the first half against a terrible Atlanta defense. Foles threw for 3 fourth-quarter TDs in an epic comeback to beat the Falcons and took the job. Some recent performances have had some Bears fans clamoring for Trubisky to come back, but it seems as though this job is Foles' until further notice.
When RB Tarik Cohen tore his ACL in that same game, the Bears had to find a replacement. RB Artavis Pierce was signed to the active roster, but fans weren't convinced. After a week 4 loss to Indianapolis, the Bears signed 2019 Pro-Bowl RB Lamar Miller to their practice squad. This still wouldn't end the running back rumors in Chicago. The New York Jets failed to trade disgruntled RB Le' Veon Bell, so they had to release him. Many thought the Bears were the best destination immediately, but Bell decided to sign with the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs.
The Bears recently signed former Notre Dame Heisman trophy finalist Manti to their practice squad for LB depth purposes.
The Quarterback Battle
In a division full of savvy veteran quarterbacks, Nick Foles was acquired from the Jacksonville Jaguars to compete for the starting quarterback job. Foles took over in week three against the Falcons and has been named the starting quarterback moving forward.
Nick Foles has been injury-prone throughout his career, so that Mitchell Trubisky may be needed again this season. The Bears have been counted out by much of the national media but are proving to be strong contenders in the NFC North because of their all-world defense.
Just ask ESPN. They have counted the Bears out in many games in 2020. Some experts predicted the Bears would finish last.
Matt Nagy's Offense
Head Coach Matt Nagy was brought in to reshape and call plays for the Bears offense, and so far, it has been a failed operation. In 2019, the offense finished 29th overall out of 32 teams and failed to run the ball effectively.
The defense was the main reason the Bears made the playoffs in 2018, won the NFC North, and finished 8-8 in 2019. So far, in 2020, it has been much of the same. The run game, play-calling, and offensive line play are all under heavy fire.
Now that Matt Nagy has his hand-picked QB and a Super Bowl-caliber defense, expectations will rise every week for the third-year head coach.
NFC North Expectations
While the national media expects the Bears to not contend in 2020, their roster improved through the draft and free agency. The same cannot be said about the Green Bay Packers or the Minnesota Vikings.
Green Bay chose Quarterback Jordan Love with their first-round pick and chose not to add any weapons to their offense. Their roster is almost identical to 2019, a year in which they went 13-3 and ended up in the NFC Championship Game. While they remain the favorites to win the division because of Aaron Rodgers, their defense struggles against the run and does not pressure opposing QBs.
The Minnesota Vikings traded WR Stefon Diggs to the Bills but swiftly filled that role with rookie WR Justin Jefferson. Jefferson has been a great pick for the Vikings, but their QB struggles have crippled their offense. In the offseason, the team chose to extend QB Kirk Cousins and RB Dalvin Cook, putting them in a difficult cap situation moving forward.
Kirk Cousins has been awful in 2020, and when Dalvin Cook isn't on the field, the offense relies heavily on him. As Minnesota has found out the hard way, that is not a recipe for success.
Defensively, Minnesota has lost their two best players. They traded DE Yannick Ngakoue to the Ravens for a third-round pick, and Danielle Hunter is set to have season-ending surgery on a herniated disk. The Vikings will not be in the playoffs.
As far as the Lions go, they will not be a threat to anyone in the division with Matt Patricia at the helm. They will not be in the playoffs.
Come week 17, the Bears and Packers will represent the NFC North in January.
Despite crucial injuries and an offense that left them out to dry in 2019, this group backpacked the Bears to an 8-8 record. In 2020, they're even better.
Robert Quinn has been a solid addition to rush the QB, opposite to Khalil Mack. However, their biggest splash has been rookie CB Jaylon Johnson. Johnson is showing signs of being an absolute star in the NFL. Along with Kyle Fuller and Eddie Jackson, the Bears secondary is as good as any in the NFL.
Not much needs to be said about Khalil Mack. He has been a top defensive player again in 2020, whether sacks, tackles for loss, or QB pressures. Mack does it all and is by far the team's best player.
Mack and Akiem Hicks will need to continue to play at this pace if the Bears hope to make a deep playoff run in January.
Chicago Bears Rumor History
In 2018, a new era began at Halas Hall. Matt Nagy was a breath of fresh air for Bears fans, following a disastrous few years under John Fox.
Surrounded by the Andy Reid coaching tree's hype, Nagy's team lived up to and exceeded many expectations. The Bears finished 12-4, clinched the NFC North with a win over the Green Bay Packers, and were primed for their first playoff appearance since 2010.
The hype and Super Bowl aspirations came to a screeching halt in the Wild Card Round against Nick Foles and the Philadelphia Eagles. After Mitchell Trubisky drove the offense down the field with under two minutes to play and gave them a chance to win, former Bears Kicker Cody Parkey missed a go-ahead field goal. The Bears exited the playoffs and have not been back since.
In 2019, key injuries on defense to Khalil Mack, Akiem Hicks, and Eddie Jackson combined an abysmal run game, led to an 8-8 season and no playoff appearance. Questions began to swirl around Mitchell Trubisky and whether he was fit to be the starting quarterback.
After the disappointing season, the Bears traded for Nick Foles. Foles came into Halas Hall with experience working in Nagy's system. He also won a Super Bowl with the Eagles with current Bears QB Coach John DeFilippo. DeFilippo was also Foles' QB coach in Jacksonville in 2019.
Chicago Bears Rumors FAQ
What does the future hold for Mitchell Trubisky and the starting QB position?
Foles and the Bears restructured his contract to three years and $24 million ($21 million guaranteed), meaning he will likely be the starting QB in 2021. The Bears are not likely to pick up Trubisky's fifth-year option, and he will become a free agent.
Is Ryan Pace's job safe?
Long story short, Pace has through the 2021 season on his contract with the Bears and will have the chance to play through it.
Will the Bears draft a QB in the 2021 NFL Draft?
All odds point to the Bears taking a QB in 2021, especially if they want Nick Foles to mentor the franchise's future. The odds of trading up to get a Trevor Lawrence/Justin Fields level QB are low.
If the Bears don't draft a QB, are there veteran QB trade options?
If the Bears can't find the answers they are looking for in Nick Foles, they will have the option to sign Jameis Winston, Jacoby Brissett, Tyrod Taylor, Andy Dalton, Cam Newton.
How long can this defensive core stay together?
The core four: Khalil Mack, Akiem Hicks, Eddie Jackson, and Kyle Fuller are all signed through at least 2021. Hicks and Fuller will need new deals after the 2021 season. With the emergence of rookie Jaylon Johnson and FA signing of Robert Quinn, the Bears defense has the remainder of 2020 and 2021 before they lose a big name or two to free agency.
What is the future of Matt Nagy?
Matt Nagy has yet to have a losing season with the Bears and took them to the playoffs for the first time in eight seasons. The offense and play-calling have come under fire, but it appears Nagy's popularity with the players will keep him around past 2021.
Can the Bears win a Super Bowl in 2020?
Yes, they can. Their defense is surging, creating turnovers, and keeping them in every game. Something often overlooked is that the NFC does not have one dominant team. If the Bears can generate an average running attack, Nick Foles could be the leader to get them to the promised land.