A 3-13 finish to the NFL season is not what the Chicago Bears envisioned during training camp. Making sure that history does not repeat, the Bears will have to make some difficult decisions regarding their roster and coaching staff. The writing on the wall is suggesting that the Bears will keep John Fox and majority of his coaches, but what about the roster?
There will be some changes ahead for the Bears. A new starting quarterback, a veteran receiver, and a couple players in the secondary are likely to be added. With a reported $63 million in cap space (courtesy of USA Today), the Bears will be players in NFL free agency. That cap room could increase if the Bears were to release quarterback Jay Cutler as many are expecting them to do.
Yahoo Sports has released the updated draft order for the 2017 NFL draft, and the Chicago Bears will be selecting third. Because of where they are choosing from in the NFL draft, the Bears will have high picks in each round. This gives the Bears the ability to create some intrigue in the days leading up until draft night.
The free agency market and trades could be very kind to the Chicago Bears if they play their cards right. Negating which players the Bears will target during the NFL draft, as it will be determined by who they add prior to, below is a few players who makes sense for the Bears.
Quarterback Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo Bills
A lot of the conversation involving the Chicago Bears acquiring a quarterback has focused on the New England Patriots’ Jimmy Garoppolo. Garoppolo be a good fit with the Bears, however what the Patriots may ask for in return could be staggering. That could include the Bears’ No. 3 pick, plus another draft pick.
Enter Buffalo Bills’ QB Tyrod Taylor.
Taylor would be more of a household name if he were not playing for the Bills. That would work out in favor of the team who has interest in him. The Bills benched Taylor (courtesy of NFL.com) in a head-scratching move that diminishes his value on the trade market.
“I feel like I’ve done enough as far as my play to be the starter here. It wasn’t like I was outplayed, it was simply taken from me… and that decision came from them. We’ll see what the future holds.”
The Bills can bring Tyrod Taylor back, but after benching him acrimony has been created. Another team, like the Chicago Bears could try to snatch him up.
If the Bears were to try and trade for Taylor, they would assume the four years remaining on his deal. On the plus side, the Bills’ asking price will be a lot less for a proven passer. The Bears can also wait to see if the Bills cut Tyrod Taylor. If the Bills do so by March, they could possibly clear the total $30 million left on his deal.
Cornerback Trumaine Johnson, Los Angeles Rams
The Bears’ biggest weakness is not the quarterback position as must people would assume. In all actuality, cornerback is the ailing position. To address their needs at cornerback, the Bears will have to target one in the draft and in free agency.
Trumaine Johnson was one of the top available cornerbacks on the free agency market last offseason. The Rams wound up placing the franchise tag on him and eventually signed him to a one-year deal.
Johnson would be perfect for the Bears because of his size and coverage ability. The Bears have one proven coverage cornerback on the roster in Tracy Porter. Installing the 6-foot-2 Trumaine Johnson would help the Chicago Bears solidify one position and head into the NFL looking for young depth.
How much Johnson would want in free agency could factor into the Chicago Bears’ interest. Also, the Los Angeles Rams may look to place the franchise tag on him again if a long-term deal cannot be reached.
Wide Receiver Brandin Cooks, New Orleans Saints
The Chicago Bears have a big decision to make with wide receiver Alshon Jeffery. Instead of agonizing over what to do with Jeffery, the Chicago Bears may have what it takes to pry receiver Brandin Cooks from the New Orleans Saints.
As good as Alshon Jeffery has been — arguably one of the top 10 best receivers in the NFL, he is not the most perfect fit with the Bears. Jeffery is big at 6-foot-3, sure-handed, and a good route-runner. What the Chicago Bears need is a fast receiver to the top off of opposing defenses and compliment the hard running style tailback Jordan Howard.
Howard will see a lot of eight-man defensive fronts unless the Bears can add an element of speed to make their offense dynamic. Brandin Cooks would be a good option provided that he is available in a trade.
Earlier in the season Cooks questioned his role in the Saints’ offense. This came after not catching a pass (courtesy of the Times Picayune) in a Saints’ blowout 49-21 win versus the Los Angeles Rams in Week 12.
If the Chicago Bears want to go after Brandin Cooks it could potentially cost them a third or fourth round pick. It could even cost an additional draft pick in order for something to happen. Because the Saints are loaded at receiver, dangling Cooks may not be a bad idea for them. If so, a bidding war will ensue. It does not change the fact that Brandin Cooks is the prototype for what the Bears need in a wide receiver.
It would be a huge win for the Chicago Bears if they were able to acquire one of the three between Tyrod Taylor, Trumaine Johnson, and Brandin Cooks. Of the players that the Bears can target, these three makes a lot of sense.
[Featured Image by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images]