NEW ORLEANS — I write this Bears Mailbag from the legendary Cafe Du Monde in the French Quarter of New Orleans.  Writing isn’t too bad when you have a world-famous Cafe Au Lait in hand.  (I’m desperately avoiding the beignets.)  Now, time for the Bears.

It may be the dead period of the NFL offseason, but we have learned a few things in the last several weeks (and can gleam a few others):

  • Allen Robinson’s extension deadline passed, so the Chicago Bears and Robinson won’t be able to sign an extension until the offseason.
  • Eddie Goldman seems to be preparing for a return to the Bears, based on several workout videos.
  • Justin Fields continues to impress the Bears with his work ethic.
  • NFL Network will carry all three Bears preseason games.  I wonder why.

More to come as the Bears report to training camp in the next couple weeks.

With that, let’s reach into this week’s Bears Mailbag.  Thanks to all who submitted questions.  Follow me on Twitter @DhruvKoul to continue the conversation.

Bears Mailbag

I think it’s way too early to answer this.  We need to see what Justin Fields’ initial baseline is playing at NFL speeds, and yes, that includes preseason.  Remember, Fields hasn’t done any of that yet.

By all accounts, he has shown well on the physical side, making good throws, being relatively accurate, and improving his release speed.  But the things that make a QB — stuff Matt Nagy has outlined — is still TBD.

If Fields hits, the sky is the limit for the offense because transcendent QBs uplift offenses in a way that scheme and weapons never can.  If Fields busts, the offense will continue to reside as one of the NFL’s worst.

If Fields is average, the offense has very high potential.  I’ve been saying for years that the Bears need just average, low-variance QB play to be a good offense.  They haven’t had it since Jay Cutler was in town.

The Bears have a LOT of free agents next year.  Like, a lot.  And though there are some free agents the Bears signed to one-year deals who will be very valuable in 2021 (think Mike Pennel, Desmond Trufant), and some who may be cut next year (Nick Foles, Robert Quinn), I’ll focus on the main free agents we all know/care about.

Here’s the main list:  Allen Robinson, Akiem Hicks, Andy Dalton, Jimmy Graham, Bilal Nichols, James Daniels, Germain Ifedi, Anthony Miller, Marquise Goodwin, and Sam Mustipher.

I’ll first eliminate those who I think will have outlived their usefulness to the Bears by the end of ’21:  Dalton, Ifedi and Graham.

I’m also inclined to put Miller on that list, mainly because even if he has a strong year, they won’t pay big money to multiple WRs, and Robinson will be their priority (perhaps to an extent).

The ones I see the Bears certainly trying to lock up (assuming strong ’21 seasons) include:  Robinson, Nichols, and Mustipher.

The ones I see as possibilities for modest extensions are Hicks and Goodwin.

Daniels is the most interesting of the bunch.  If he plays like he did before getting hurt in ’20, he’s a slam dunk extension candidate.  That would give the Bears an extremely strong interior, with hopefully Teven Jenkins locking down LT and Larry Borom stepping up at RT in ’22.

It’ll be a very interesting offseason for the Bears.  Expect ’22 to be when the allocation of resources starts to turn in favor of the offense.