Chicago Bears Rumors & News

49ers Had Interest In Bears DC Vic Fangio

The 49ers expressed interest in forging a reunion with former defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, but the Bears — Fangio’s current employer — blocked the potential move, according to Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee (Twitter link). Discussions never reached the point where the 49ers formally requested permission to interview Fangio, per Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com (Twitter link).Vic Fangio (Vertical)

[RELATED: 2017 Offensive/Defensive Coordinator Search Tracker]

San Francisco hasn’t officially begun its search for a new defensive coordinator because it hasn’t officially hired a head coach, and although the club is fully expected to bring in Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan as soon as he’s allowed to be hired, the 49ers are on hold until that time. However, the mere fact the San Francisco expressed interest in Fangio could mean that Shanahan has already — covertly, of course — begun reaching out to possible staff members in an effort to gauge interest.

Fangio, 58, served as the 49ers’ defensive coordinator from 2011-14 under former head coach Jim Harbaugh, delivering three top-five DVOA finishes during that time. After Harbaugh was fired, Fangio interviewed for San Francisco’s top job, but when the vacancy was filled by defensive line coach Jim Tomsula — a former subordinate — Fangio departed for Chicago, where he’s steadily improved the Bears’ defense during his two-year stay.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bears To Name Curtis Modkins RBs Coach

  • The Bears will hire Curtis Modkins as their running backs coach, reports Adam Caplan of ESPN (Twitter link). He’ll replace Stan Drayton, who left after Chicago’s season ended to take a job at the University of Texas. Modkins, who was the aforementioned Chip Kelly‘s offensive coordinator in San Francisco in 2016, has also coached running backs in Kansas City, Arizona and Detroit.

NFLPA Announces Cap Carryover Amounts

The NFL Players Association has announced all 32 teams’ salary cap carryover amounts for the 2017 season (Twitter link). Next season’s cap figure isn’t yet known, but it’s likely to be in the $165MM range. When that becomes official, it can be added to each team’s carryover amount to determine that club’s official spending room for 2017.

Here are this year’s carryover totals:

  1. Cleveland Browns: $50,123,269
  2. Jacksonville Jaguars: $39,314,310
  3. San Francisco 49ers: $38,708,916
  4. Tennessee Titans: $24,046,522
  5. Washington Redskins: $15,055,131
  6. Carolina Panthers: $13,208,020
  7. Miami Dolphins: $8,363,708
  8. Chicago Bears: $8,103,197
  9. Oakland Raiders: $8,000,000
  10. Green Bay Packers: $7,984,687
  11. Philadelphia Eagles: $7,933,869
  12. Denver Broncos: $7,243,248
  13. Indianapolis Colts: $6,614,106
  14. Cincinnati Bengals: $6,578,866
  15. New Orleans Saints: $5,754,000
  16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: $5,330,779
  17. New England Patriots: $5,292,335
  18. Kansas City Chiefs: $5,002,168
  19. Houston Texans: $4,935,924
  20. Detroit Lions: $4,725,644
  21. Arizona Cardinals: $4,405,068
  22. Pittsburgh Steelers: $3,269,367
  23. Buffalo Bills: $2,837,222
  24. Baltimore Ravens: $2,553,126
  25. Dallas Cowboys: $2,401,553
  26. Seattle Seahawks: $2,065,865
  27. New York Giants: $1,800,000
  28. Atlanta Falcons: $926,541
  29. Minnesota Vikings: $400,184
  30. New York Jets: $371,487
  31. Los Angeles Rams: $304,311
  32. Los Angeles Chargers: $113,693

2017 Proven Performance Escalators

According to the NFL’s contractual bargaining agreement, players drafted in rounds three though seven are entitled to raises during the fourth year of their respective rookie contracts. The pay bumps are tied to playing time — a player must have played in 35% of his team’s offensive or defensive snaps in two of his first three seasons, or averaged 35% playing time cumulatively during that period.Donte Moncrief (Vertical)

If one of these thresholds is met, the player’s salary is elevated to the level of that year’s lowest restricted free agent tender — that figure should be around $1.8MM in 2017. Players selected in the first or second round, undrafted free agents, and kickers/punters are ineligible for the proven performance escalator.

Here are the players who will see their salary rise in 2017 courtesy of the proven performance escalator:

49ers: Aaron Lynch, LB; Marcus Martin, OL

Bears: Charles Leno, T; Will Sutton, DT

Bengals: Russell Bodine, C

Bills: Preston Brown, LB; Seantrel Henderson, T

Broncos: Michael Schofield, OL

Browns: Christian Kirksey, LB

Buccaneers: Kevin Pamphile, G

Cardinals: John Brown, WR

Chiefs: Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, G; Zach Fulton, G; Phillip Gaines, CB

Colts: Donte Moncrief, WR

Cowboys: Anthony Hitchens, LB

Falcons: Devonta Freeman, RB

Giants: Devon Kennard, LB

Jaguars: Aaron Colvin, CB; Brandon Linder, G; Telvin Smith, LB

Lions: Nevin Lawson, CB; Travis Swanson, C

Packers: Corey Linsley, C; Richard Rodgers, TE

Panthers: Tre Boston, S; Trai Turner, G

Raiders: T.J. Carrie, CB; Justin Ellis, DT; Gabe Jackson, G

Rams: Maurice Alexander, S; E.J. Gaines, CB

Redskins: Bashaud Breeland, CB; Spencer Long, G; Morgan Moses, T

Texans: C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE; Andre Hal, S

Titans: DaQuan Jones, DL; Avery Williamson, LB

Vikings: Shamar Stephen, DT

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bears Hire Jeremiah Washburn As O-Line Coach

  • The Bears have hired Jeremiah Washburn to be their offensive line coach, reports Marvez (via Twitter). Washburn spent last season as the Dolphins assistant offensive line coach, and he also spent time coaching with the Lions and Ravens.

    [SOURCE LINK]

Miller’s Latest: Bears, M. Williams, Peppers

As our list of important 2017 NFL offseason dates shows, NCAA underclassmen have until tomorrow to announce their intent to enter this year’s draft. One first-round prospect, Vanderbilt linebacker Zach Cunningham, did just that yesterday, and a few more names could trickle in before Monday’s deadline. The draft itself is still months away, but Matt Miller of Bleacher Report is in touch with scouts and has presented the latest on several collegiate players in his latest notebook (which, as always, is worth a full read).

Here’s the latest from Miller:

  • One scout tells Miller that Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster has a “perfect grade” on his board. Foster, who posted 115 tackles and five sacks during the 2016 season, is considered the best off-ball linebacker available in this draft and should be selected in the first round.
  • Another Alabama defender, Jonathan Allen, is viewed as an even better prospect than Foster, and as one of the best edge players in the 2017 class, could go off the board in the top 10 picks. However, an AFC personnel director believes that Allen’s shoulder injuries could present a problem come draft day, and thinks that Allen may have had an additional surgery that went unreported.
  • Clemson wide receiver Mike Williams squared off against Foster, Allen, and the rest of the Crimson Tide defense when the Tigers faced Alabama in the National Championship Game, and Miller favorably compares Williams to Bengals pass-catcher A.J. Green. “Best player on the field. Period,” a scouting director said of Williams.
  • The Bears are showing strong interest in this year’s crop of quarterbacks, rival evaluators tell Miller. Chicago is expected to move on from veteran signal-caller Jay Cutler, and could look to find their quarterback of the future on Day 1 or 2. Back in November, Miller reported the Bears were researching Miami QB Brad Kaaya, who could be drafted in the Round 2 range.
  • Based on his discussions with scouts, Miller believes that Michigan S/LB Jabrill Peppers is currently overrated on media boards, potentially putting him in line for a draft day fall. Typically regarded as a first-round pick, Peppers announced last week that he would skip his final two NCAA seasons to enter the NFL.
  • At least one NFL offensive line coach believes Utah left tackle Garett Bolles is going to “shoot up” draft boards, according to Miller.

Bears Sign Rueben Randle To Futures Deal

Rueben Randle‘s inconsistent play was maddening to the Giants, but the Eagles signed him to a free agent deal last March with the belief that they could get him to fulfill his potential. They were wrong. Randle was cut in August and, despite having a couple of NFL auditions, never caught on with another team. Rueben Randle (vertical)

The Bears were one of the teams to try him out and while he did not earn an NFL deal on the spot, they are signing him to a reserve/futures deal, per a team announcement.

Randle, 26 in May, averaged 56 receptions, 782 yards, and six touchdowns over the three seasons with the Giants. At 6’4″ and 205 pounds, the former second-round pick offers solid athleticism for a receiver of his size and the Bears are willing to take a low-risk look at him.

In an offseason where they could lose pending free agent Alshon Jeffery, the Bears must explore every depth option available.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

OLB Coach Clint Hurtt Leaving Bears

  • Bears coach John Fox has another hole to fill on his coaching staff. Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune reports that outside linebackers coach Clint Hurtt recently declined a contract extension. The former Louisville coach is leaving the organization to pursue opportunities elsewhere. Hurtt previously coached the Bears’ defensive line during Marc Trestman‘s tenure in Chicago.

    [SOURCE LINK]

NFL Reserve/Futures Contracts: 1/6/17

Here are the latest reserve/futures contract signings from around the NFL. These deals will go into effect on the first day of the 2017 league year, with players joining their respective clubs’ offseason 90-man rosters.

Chicago Bears

Indianapolis Colts

  • K Devon Bell

New Orleans Saints

Washington Redskins

Bears Notes: Pace, Fox, Jeffery, Cutler, Staff

Armed with significant cap space and the third overall pick in this year’s draft, the Bears should be in position to bounce back from their three-win 2016 next season. General manager Ryan Pace is cognizant of that, as he told reporters Wednesday that the Bears are “going to be aggressive and calculated” in the coming months. “This offseason’s huge,” he said (via Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune). “And I think there’s a big responsibility with that much cap space, (picking) this high in the draft. It’s a significant offseason for us. And we’ve got to get going in that direction.”

The Bears have gone just 9-23 in two years under Pace and head coach John Fox, but chairman George McCaskey hasn’t put either on the hot seat. “I’m not a patient person but I promised (Pace) that I would be patient,” he stated (via the Associated Press). “With all the adversity that we’ve had, I like the steady hand that he and John have had on the team.”

More from Chicago:

  • The Bears’ marquee free agent is wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, a 2016 franchise tag recipient who posted underwhelming production (by his lofty standards) and missed four games because of a suspension for performance-enhancing drugs. Pace assessed Jeffery’s season Wednesday and added that the team has a “big decision” forthcoming on whether to retain him. “I don’t think, I feel like this season, he really got into a rhythm that he would’ve liked to have gotten into,” said Pace (per Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times). “I think that was because a lot of different quarterback play and also he missed four games. It’s hard for him to get in a rhythm and I think he showcased what he can do.”
  • As Pace mentioned with regards to Jeffery, the Bears shuffled through various quarterbacks – primarily Matt Barkley, Brian Hoyer and Jay Cutler – this season. The club will now have an offseason call to make on Cutler, who’s a strong release candidate. By cutting the soon-to-be 34-year-old Cutler, whom injuries limited to five games this season, the Bears would save $14MM in cap space against $2MM in dead money. McCaskey revealed he “has always been” a Cutler fan, but he noted that the 11-year veteran’s fate rests with Pace and Fox. A decision on Cutler hasn’t “been completely finalized yet,” according to Pace, who added that the signal-caller is “significantly ahead of schedule” from the right shoulder surgery he underwent last month. At the time same, though, Pace declared that “everything is on the table” as far as finding a franchise passer goes (via Jeff Dickerson of ESPN.com and Conor Orr of NFL.com).
  • The Bears will retain their most prominent assistants – offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio – but changes are underway elsewhere on the coaching staff. Fox fired his longest-tenured assistant, offensive line coach Dave Magazu, and let assistant defensive backs coach Sam Garnes go, reports Biggs. The team will also need a new running backs coach, as Stan Drayton stepped down Tuesday to take a position with the University of Texas.