Thursday, April 18, 2024

Chicago Bears 2024 Mock Offseason: Conspiracy Time

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If there is one thing we’ve learned about Ryan Poles in two years as the GM, it’s always to avoid taking things at face value. A lot of what he says is the truth, but few understand how to manipulate the media better than him. He’s proven that more than once. One of his masterpieces was making everybody believe he was prepared to select Jalen Carter at #9 overall last season, only to squeeze a 4th rounder out of Philadelphia to move down one spot and take Darnell Wright. That is what this Chicago Bears 2024 mock offseason is about.

We’re going to explore what his true objective might be. By following the breadcrumbs, we arrive at a projection that seems to fit what Poles might be trying to do. It centers around the supposed idea they plan to draft Caleb Williams at #1 overall.

This Chicago Bears 2024 mock offseason is about misdirection.

Trade:

QB Justin Fields and 3rd in 2024 to Pittsburgh for the 20th overall pick

Everybody has heard the rumors, and unlike other ideas, this one carries weight. Mike Tomlin is an Ohio State guy. He has info on Fields that many other coaches don’t. The Steelers are desperate for help at quarterback. Fields is better than any of their other options. Unfortunately, their 2nd round pick is on the lower side. That means they will have to give up multiple Day 2 picks or sacrifice 20th overall. Ultimately, the two sides work out a fair deal that lands the Bears a third 1st round pick.

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Cuts:

  • OL Cody Whitehair – $9.15 million saved
  • S Eddie Jackson – $12.56 million saved

Re-signings/Extensions:

  • CB Jaylon Johnson – 4-year extension for $80 million
  • DT Justin Jones – 2-year extension for $14 million
  • WR Equanimeous St. Brown – 1-year deal for $1.125 million
  • CB Josh Blackwell – ERFA deal for $915,000
  • CB Greg Stroman – 1-year deal for $1.125 million
  • LB Dylan Cole – 1-year deal for $1.125 million
  • LS Patrick Scales – 1-year deal for $1.21 million

Free Agency:

  • QB Gardner Minshew – 1-year deal for $9 million
  • EDGE A.J. Epenesa – 3-year deal for $21 million
  • S Julian Blackmon – 2-year deal for $11.5 million
  • C Evan Brown – 1-year deal for $4.5 million
  • RB A.J. Dillon – 1-year deal for $4 million

The first part of the plan involves signing a veteran QB with starting experience and credibility. Minshew brings both, having found success as both a starter and backup in multiple locations. Epenesa is a solid secondary edge rusher who has the size, length, and skills the Bears look for. Blackmon can replace Jackson at safety. He has experience in Eberflus’ defense. Brown started at center for Shane Waldron last year, so he knows the offense. Dillon can replace the power-running element D’Onta Foreman brought last season.

The Draft:

  • Trade: #1 pick to Washington for #2 pick, 40th pick, and 1st in 2025
  • Trade: #2 pick to New England for #34 pick and 2nd in 2025

1st Round (via NE) – Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State

People debate who the best quarterback is in this draft. Nobody argues who the best prospect is. It is virtually unanimous that Harrison Jr. is a blue-chip prospect. Steve Smith Sr. recently said he is better than his Hall of Famer father. That should tell you how absurdly gifted the kid is. Size, strength, speed, route-running skills, soft hands. He has everything you could possibly want in a go-to receiver. Putting him next to D.J. Moore in that passing attack is tantamount to cheating. The fact the Bears got him after collecting an extra 1st and three extra 2nd round picks feels like an enormous win.

1st Round – J.J. McCarthy, QB, Michigan

This move would be all sorts of controversial. So why would the Bears do it? McCarthy checks so many boxes for this regime. He has the desired height, a good arm, throws with accuracy, protects the ball, and can make plays beyond that. Yet it’s the intangibles where he shines. He’s ice-cold under pressure, playing his best in big games. He plays with poise and moxie. By most accounts, McCarthy is an outstanding leader. Last but not least, he is a local kid from La Grange Park. Poles loves adding homegrown talent. He lost one game in college and won a national championship. The primary concern with him is an overall lack of passing reps. He threw the ball only 713 times at Michigan. That is why many feel he might need to sit for a time before starting. Hence, the signing of Minshew.

1st Round (via PIT) – Jackson Powers-Johnson, C, Oregon

Center has plagued this team for years. Nobody has ever really filled the void Olin Kreutz left behind. Whitehair is now gone. Lucas Patrick isn’t the solution. They need a viable long-term option. Powers-Johnson has established himself as the best overall prospect at his position. He’s strong, tough, intelligent, and has the necessary athleticism to fit any system. He loves to maul defenders in the run game and shows a strong enough anchor to keep the pocket clean in pass protection.

2nd Round (via NE) – Darius Robinson, EDGE, Missouri

Robinson was a one-year wonder for the Tiger, exploding in 2023 for 8.5 sacks and 14 tackles for a loss. He then showed at the Senior Bowl that it wasn’t a fluke, showcasing his unique mix of size, length, and athleticism. This regime loves players with his type of profile. There is no way this Bears 2024 mock offseason gets through the draft without addressing the edge rusher spot. Robinson is a perfect project that can develop behind Epenesa and Montez Sweat.

  • Trade: 40th pick to Cincinnati for 49th picks, 4th in 2024, and 5th in 2024

2nd Round (via CIN) – Braden Fiske, DT, Florida State

The best pass rushes are those that can attack an offense in waves. Having solidified their edges, the Bears move to the interior. Fiske was a consistent menace for the Seminoles over the last two years. He’s average in size but is strong, quick, and has a non-stop motor. He was a menace down the stretch of last season and carried that into a great week at the Senior Bowl.

4th Round – Kalen King, CB, Penn State

He doesn’t have the size or speed teams will covet early in the draft, but he has enough of both to still be an effective player. His biggest strengths are his excellent instincts, play recognition, ball skills, and willingness to tackle in the run game. All of those traits fit this Bears defense.

4th Round (via CIN) – MarShawn Lloyd, RB, USC

One thing the offense doesn’t have enough of at running back is explosiveness. Lloyd brings that and more. He has the acceleration and speed to create big plays on the ground and through the air. He is surprisingly sturdy in pass protection. His vision is strong and he has the patience to let the blocks develop.

4th Round (via PHI) – Jaden Hicks, S, Washington State

Blackmon should serve well as the team’s new free safety, but there is no crime against building the depth behind him. Hicks is another athletic and instinctive player with a knack for creating takeaways. He also has the size and versatility to play around the line of scrimmage.

5th Round – Cornelius Johnson, WR, Michigan

He never had otherworldly numbers, but Johnson was a steady presence for the Wolverines over the past three years. His size and strong hands make him a viable threat in the red zone. He also has decent speed. Best of all, he is a willing blocker in the run game, making him perfect for that outside-zone scheme.

5th Round (via CIN) – Theo Johnson, TE, Penn State

Another guy who wasn’t utilized to his full potential. Johnson has the size, speed, and hands to be a viable weapon in the passing game, but was never deployed that way. It might take some time to reach his potential, but he would make a terrific developmental option behind Cole Kmet.

17 COMMENTS

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chasenapa9
Feb 17, 2024 4:29 pm

Holy shit @TWTY THAT IS THE SMARTEST SHIT I EVER SAW YOU WRITE!!! Tyson Bagent is the a great quality quarterback and could be the next Brady if given the opportunity. I feel the kid a sponge and perfectionist at his craft. Give him a chance Poles.

mbearest
mbearest
Feb 17, 2024 10:14 am

Pittsburgh is not giving us 20 for Fields and the Bears shouldn’t add a 3, Making flip flop their 3’s?? In this scenario where we’d need a quarterback, with #3 (which by the way, the writer doesn’t include in the trade for #2… SMH), I’d take Jayden Daniels and at #9 I would take either 1 of the top 2 remaining receivers or 1 of the top 2 left tackles. One of these 4 will be there. I think Powers Johnson is a reach at 20 but it’s a huge need so it wouldn’t be the end of the world.… Read more »

Slip Knotz
Slip Knotz
Feb 16, 2024 9:05 pm

JJ McCarthy looks like Purdy to me. He’s a game manager with a slightly better arm. I don’t think the college film from Michigan supports McCarthy as a first rounder.

jmscooby
Feb 16, 2024 4:43 pm

JJ threw 267 more passes than Caleb’s backup this year. He was limited to 21 attempts a game, IIRC. Michigan won with their running game. I’d be wary of picking him in the first round, but that’s just me. I think he should have stayed another year. I’m also not convinced his HC wasn’t doing him lip service to help his draft stock. It will be interesting to see how it plays out.

I dug Plank
I dug Plank
Feb 16, 2024 4:24 pm

When the pre-draft process is over JJ will be a top tier choice for teams looking for a QB, but I think the Bears will go with CW at #1. I love the trade scenarios, almost as much as I love the super models digging me scenarios, but I don’t think either one will ever happen. If Poles can finagle the double trade down I’d jump on that and gladly take JJ at #9. I love Minshew but I’d let JJ fight it out with Bagent.

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