This time of year is when the Chicago Bears rumors are firing fast and in all directions. There is no possible way all of them can be true because not everybody has the best sources. Especially when it comes to this team. GM Ryan Pace has made his name being able to keep leaks of his plans from getting out to the public. This is why it’s important to enjoy the rumors but not get too carried away by them.
So perhaps it’s time to stop for a moment and examine the biggest ones that have emerged in the past two months. This with one plan in mind. Determining which if them are most likely true and which are false, or in more colorful language, bullshit. Here are five that stand out as the most prominent.
Let’s see if they set off the BS alarm.
Sorting fact from fiction with Chicago Bears rumors
Called about a trade for Andy Dalton
The Cincinnati Bengals hold the #1 overall pick. Joe Burrow is coming off the greatest season in college football history, throwing 60 touchdowns while guiding LSU to a national championship. It would be one of the great shocks in history if the Bengals don’t take him #1 overall in the NFL draft. This means Andy Dalton’s time there is over. Word is the team has already begun fielding calls about a potential trade with the Bears being one of the teams who have not only contacted them but spoken to the quarterback as well.
No. This is likely the case. Any smart GM who is looking for veteran quarterback help would explore what this sort of deal would entail. Pace probably wanted to know two things from this. What is the Bengals’ asking price for Dalton in a trade and would the quarterback be willing to take a restructured contract that would lower his $17.7 million cap hit? This doesn’t guarantee a trade happens. At this point, it’s information gathering.
Plan to make a run at Austin Hooper
Hooper has steadily seen his game grow over the past four years down in Atlanta. This culminated with the best season of his career in 2019. One that saw him go for 787 yards and six touchdowns, reaching his second Pro Bowl. Not bad considering he missed three games. It’s for this reason that many expect him to have a hot market next week and the Bears are reportedly one of the teams expected to push for him.
Yes. It’s no secret the Bears are desperate for tight end help. None of the players on their roster reached 100 yards receiving last year. They badly need somebody who can catch the ball in this offense. Hooper would be a big help. The problem is they aren’t the only team who want him. Expectations are that he will command at least $10 million per year. Maybe more. Considering the Bears already have $8 million per year sunk into Trey Burton, it’s hard to see this sort of deal happening.
Content with giving it one more go with Trey Burton
Despite how disappointing 2019 was, the Bears have sounded optimistic that things can still work out with Burton. He played well in 2018 and was a big factor in the passing game before the injuries started. It’s hoped his recent offseason surgery to repair a hip issue should have him 100% by training camp. In fact, some think if things don’t break a certain way Chicago might even be willing to ride it out one more year with him as the primary starter.
Yes. Pace himself said the more important ability is availability. Burton hasn’t shown for over a year he can be reliable enough for the Bears. Keeping him is obvious because of his contract and the hope he can rebound. Making him the unquestioned starter though is obvious madness. They might not spend huge on a free agent but they are going to sign somebody who adds more depth and competition along with a possible draft pick as well.
Working hard to keep Nick Kwiatkoski
Probably the most interesting in-house free agent the Bears have is Kwiatkoski. A backup inside linebacker when the season began last year, he played out of his mind when forced into the starting lineup after Danny Trevathan injured his elbow. For the first time, the 26-year old looked like a true starter. One who was a good tackler, great blitzer, and had improved in coverage. This inevitably led to a lot of buzz that he’ll have teams interested in him this month. His price is rising, but there is belief the Bears are still working on finding a way to keep him.
No. Pace has always preferred to give the money to his own guys. He drafted Kwiatkoski no doubt with the hope that this moment would eventually arrive. It would probably make him happier than anybody to give the former 4th round pick the money he’s earned. The challenge is the Bears don’t have a lot to spend. They only have $24-26 million in cap space. If they hand a large chunk of that to Kwiatkoski, it will be even less they can potentially offer to help at quarterback. It isn’t impossible, but the odds aren’t great.
Still committed to Leonard Floyd as their #2 EDGE
Floyd was drafted 9th overall in hopes he’d become the next great pass rusher for the Bears. A true speed threat off the edge with loads of athletic potential. He finished 2018 strong with five sacks in the second half. This is what led to Pace picking up the 5th year option in his contract. The linebacker responded with three sacks in 2019. A massive disappointment. Yet the Bears have remained high on the 28-year old, believing his run defense and ability to drop in coverage were enough to keep him as the guy opposite Khalil Mack.
No (unfortunately). The truth is Pace isn’t the only one who has stuck up for Floyd. His coaches have as well. They feel he is truly on the cusp of finally unlocking his potential. Combine that with the limited money they have to spend and the long odds of a 2nd round pick overtaking him in a competition? The reality is Floyd should remain a starter at outside linebacker. No doubt the Bears hope a returning Akiem Hicks will solve the pass rush issue.