Bears Rumors

Bears Sign LB Kasim Edebali

After having played for four teams in 2017, free agent Kasim Edebali has found a home for 2018. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that the linebacker has signed with the Bears. The team has also waived defensive back Tyrin Holloway and wide receiver Shaq Roland.

The 2014 undrafted free agent out of Boston College had spent the first three seasons of his career with the Saints, where he played under Chicago’s current general manager, Ryan Pace. Edebali didn’t miss a regular season game during his tenure in New Orleans, and he compiled eight sacks in three years. The 28-year-old bounced around the league in 2017, spending time with the Broncos, Lions, Rams, and Saints. He ended up appearing in 13 total games, compiling a single tackle.

Edebali will be fighting for a backup gig in Chicago. First-rounder Roquan Smith and former first-round pick Leonard Floyd are slotted in as the starters, with Sam Acho, Aaron LynchJoel Iyiegbuniwe, and Jonathan Anderson all competing for reps.

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Bears Work Out Joshua Perry, Kasim Edebali

The Bears worked out free agent linebackers Joshua Perry and Kasim Edebali at their minicamp on Wednesday, according to Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times (Twitter link).

Perry, a fourth-round pick in 2016, saw a good deal of action during his rookie campaign, although most of his snaps came on special teams (75% playing time). He was waived/injured at the outset of the 2017 season, and subsequently released to the free agent market. After bouncing on-and-off the Colts’ practice squad a year ago, Perry inked a futures deal with Indianapolis in January, only to be waived again last month. He’d give Chicago special teams depth, but Perry would never see the field on defense barring an injury, as Roquan Smith and Danny Trevathan will handle inside linebacker duties for the Bears.

Like Perry, Edebali has spent most of his career on special teams, but he could be of a bit more interest to the Bears given his ability to play on the edge. Aside from former first-rounder Leonard Floyd, Chicago is counting on cast-offs such as Aaron Lynch and Sam Acho at outside linebacker, so Edebali could conceivably compete for rotational snaps if signed. The 28-year-old Edebali split the 2017 season between Denver and Detroit following three years in New Orleans.

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Bears’ Zach Miller Still Hopes To Play

This week, the Bears did right by Zach Miller. Chicago re-signed the tight end to a “split contract” on Monday and placed him on the PUP list on Tuesday, giving him $458K for the year even though he will not be able to play. Taking the field will not be in the cards this year, but Miller says he still hopes to return to football down the road. 

With my doctors and everyone I spoke to, we’re not going to put any set limitations on this,” Miller said (via ESPN.com’s Jeff Dickerson). “We’re just going to take it as it goes. There has not been a definitive, ‘you can never do this again.’ That hasn’t been talked about. It’s to approach this as you are planning to get back to where I can be myself and play football and then when that time comes, some of that is out of my hands. So, I’m just going to do as much as I can to get that point and see what happens.”

Recently, Miller was seen walking around the Bears’ facility with a limp. That indicates that he’s a long way from getting back to football, but it’s a tremendous sign overall after he had to endure nine surgeries. Slowly but surely, Miller says the rehab process is paying off.

I’m feeling good,” Miller said. “Knee’s getting stronger, really daily. Putting a lot of work in here just continuing to work on strengthening that area, everything around it. That’s kind of the big thing about this is it allows me to have that opportunity to continue to do that. So I feel good and continue to just get stronger, get healthier. Time will tell. Just put everything into it that I can and see where that takes me.

In the meantime, Miller will continue to sit on team meetings and mentor the club’s tight ends. Although he misses being on the gridiron, the tight end says that he is “in a good place right now.”

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Bears Place Zach Miller On PUP List

The Bears have placed tight end Zach Miller on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list, according to a team announcement. This was the expected course of action given the gruesome leg injury he suffered in 2017. 

This week, the Bears re-signed Miller to a one-year deal in order to give him additional financial security. Miller was out of contract and did not qualify for injury pay, but the new deal will pay him $458K even though he cannot play.

In the long run, Miller has said that he would like to return to football. However, doctors raised the possibility of an amputation just last year, so Miller knows that may not be possible. The good news is that Miller’s leg is safe after nine surgeries to correct the knee dislocation.

[If it doesn’t happen], then that’s just the way it goes and we’ve got to move on and do something else,” Miller said back in February. “Physically I’ve been through a number of surgeries or whatever it may be. I can recover from that. But the mental aspect is something you’ve got to learn how to work it, how to block out some stuff and really just stay positive, which I’ve done a pretty good job doing.”

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Bears To Re-Sign TE Zach Miller

The Bears have re-signed tight end Zach Miller to a one-year contract, according to Mike Florio of PFT. It’s unclear whether Miller will be able to take the field in 2018 – or ever again – but the new deal will provide Miller with additional financial security either way. 

It’s a split contract, according to Florio, which will pay Miller $458K even if he cannot play this year. If he is somehow able to take the field, he’ll make $790K.

Last year, doctors told Miller that he was at risk for losing his leg after he severely dislocated his left knee and tore his popliteal artery. Thankfully, after nine surgeries, Miller’s knee is safe.

Miller has said that he would like to play football again, though he acknowledges that he may be facing an uphill battle.

[If it doesn’t happen], then that’s just the way it goes and we’ve got to move on and do something else,” Miller said back in February. “Physically I’ve been through a number of surgeries or whatever it may be. I can recover from that. But the mental aspect is something you’ve got to learn how to work it, how to block out some stuff and really just stay positive, which I’ve done a pretty good job doing.”

In all likelihood, an NFL comeback is not in the cards for Miller this season. Instead, this appears to be a class move by the Bears in order to take care of one of their own players.

Miller, who spent the first three seasons of his career as an afterthought in Jacksonville, did his best work over the past three seasons with the Bears starting in 2015. In 2016, Miller caught a career-high 47 passes and 486 yards with four touchdowns. Last year, he was on pace for similar stats with 20 grabs for 236 yards and two TDs before his painful injury in October.

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Bears' Offense To Have Heavy Chiefs Flavor

Fans of another Midwestern team will recognize much of what the 2018 Bears‘ offense looks like. Matt Nagy said, via Dan Pompei of The Athletic (subscription required) the Bears’ offense will be 70-80 percent the same as what the Chiefs run under Andy Reid.

Reid and Nagy each had roles as the Chiefs’ primary play-caller during the pair’s two years working in an HC-OC relationship, with Nagy’s shift toward play-calling responsibilities coinciding with Kansas City’s late-season charge toward a second straight AFC West title. He’ll attempt to replicate that with the Bears.

NFC Notes: Bears, OBJ, Rodgers, Kaepernick

Bears wide receiver and 2015 first-round pick Kevin Whitecan’t be a lock to make the 53-man roster coming out of preseason,” according to the Chicago Tribune’s Bradd Biggs.

Briggs continues by saying, “White is guaranteed a little more than $2.69MM this season. While there is offset language in his contract, there’s no way another team would pay him that kind of money, so the Bears would be on the hook for at least a portion if they were to release him. It’s not enough money to say he’s locked into a spot.”

The sentiment is not a shocker. After the Bears overhauled their receiving corps with Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel and rookie pass catcher Anthony Miller, the injury-prone wideout will have to make an impact on the field to assure his roster spot.

The second receiver taken in 2015, behind Amari Cooper, White boasted an impressive combination of size, speed and strength that projected the West Virginia product to be Chicago’s future No. 1 receiver. Instead, he has been ravaged by injuries that have limited him to just five games in three seasons. He flashed signs of progress in 2016 with back-to-back six-catch games, but he immediately suffered a high ankle sprain that resulted in a fracture and sidelined him for the remainder of the season.

Briggs notes that he has made progress and all signs are pointing positive early at OTAs. “The coaches are saying the right things about him. They like the way he looks. They like his work ethic and approach.”

If White is able to produce at even a fraction of his potential in 2017, Mitch Trubisky will have plenty of weapons to operate with in his sophomore campaign.

Here’s more from around the NFC:

  • The Giants and wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. could be nearing a contract showdown, writes Ralph Vacchiano of SportsNet New York. Once the Pro Bowl pass catcher is cleared to fully practice he could opt for a holdout since he has yet to publicly dismiss an earlier report that he “will not set foot on a field without a contract extension.” Though that option is not a certainty, Vacchiano notes Beckham’s leverage is rather strong, in that the Giants are in win-now mode with an aging quarterback who has struggled without his go-to receiver. Holdouts rarely go the way of the player, but we’ll see if Beckham tries to buck the trend.
  • When the Packers sit down at the negotiating table with Aaron Rodgers on an extension, one thing the quarterback will be looking for is a possible out on his deal, reports NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo (Twitter link). “Another aspect that I’m told is extremely important to [Rodgers] is player control — How much control can he have on his future,” Garafolo said. The All-Pro quarterback will almost assuredly become the highest-paid player in the league when he signs a deal, which seems like a slam dunk at this point, but his ability to have an out in the deal is one thing to keep an eye on. 
  • The attorney for former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and safety Eric Reid, Mark Geragos, told reporters, “I would stay tuned because this case is about to take a dramatic turn.” Asked about the claim, Geragos added, “somebody has decided they were to dime out the NFL for what they were doing.” This implies there being a witness who can contradict the NFL’s stance that each team decided neither player can help their roster. There is sure to be more to develop in this case in the coming days.

Bears’ Jordan Howard To Be “Main Guy”

Earlier this year, Bears running back Jordan Howard was the subject of trade speculation. Based on what Howard has been hearing, there should be no more questions about his place on the team. 

[RELATED: Former Bears LB Shea McClellin Leaning Towards Retirement]

[New head coach Matt Nagy] already said I’m going to be the main guy,” Howard said (via Adam L. Jahns of the Sun Times).

Nagy has also indicated that Howard is in for a big workload, though he cautioned that his offense doesn’t require a bell-cow back in every game. With Howard penciled in for a significant number of carries, it seems unlikely that he’ll be shipped out, which jibes with what the team told him in April.

Howard, a fifth-round pick in the 2016 draft, has easily topped 1,000 rushing yards in each of his two NFL seasons. Given that Howard as a firm grip on the top RB spot over backups Tarik Cohen, Benny Cunningham, and Taquan Mizzell, he could have another highly productive year on the horizon.

Howard is one of the better running backs in the league and also one of the very best values at the position. He is under contract for another two years with modest cap hits of $692K in 2018 and $782K in 2019.

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