Bears Rumors

Bears Leaning Toward Keeping Floyd?

  • If the Bears do not release Leonard Floyd, he will be on their books for $13.2MM — once his fifth-year option vests. With Khalil Mack‘s cap number spiking to $26.6MM — from an $11.9MM figure in 2019 — that would mean the Bears would have approximately a fifth of their salary cap tied to two players. But Ryan Pace‘s indications thus far have been Floyd will be a Bear next season, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune notes. If, in fact, the Bears do retain Floyd, it would seemingly behoove them to extend the 2016 first-rounder or restructure Mack’s deal to lower one of the pass rushers’ cap numbers. Floyd recorded just three sacks this season and has not eclipsed 4.5 since his 2016 rookie year.

Latest On Bears' Potential Dalton Interest

  • Andy Dalton and new Bears offensive coordinator Bill Lazor remain close, and JLC can envision this being a factor in how the quarterback dominoes fall during what could be a complex offseason at sports’ marquee position. Dalton “loved” playing for Lazor during his time as Bengals QBs coach and OC, per JLC. Although the Bears have committed to starting Mitchell Trubisky next season, he certainly has not lived up to his No. 2 overall draft slot and could be pushed like 2015 No. 2 pick Marcus Mariota was this season.

Bears Announce Coaching Moves

  • The Bears officially announced a number of previously-reported coaching moves this evening: the hiring of offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, the hiring of John DeFilippo as QBs coach, and the promotion of Dave Ragone to passing game coordinator. The team also announced a handful of additional promotions, including Brian Ginn as assistant special teams coach, Chris Jackson as assistant wide receivers coach, and Shane Toub as defensive quality control coach (via The Athletic’s Kevin Fishbain on Twitter).

Bears To Hire John DeFilippo As QBs Coach

The Bears have hired former Jaguars offensive coordinator John DeFilippo as their new quarterbacks coach, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Incumbent Chicago quarterbacks coach Dave Ragone is being promoted to passing game coordinator.

DeFilippo didn’t last long in the free agent coaching ranks after being let go by Jacksonville earlier this week. The 41-year-old spent only a single season with the Jaguars, leading an offense which ranked 24th in offensive DVOA and 26th in scoring.

In Jacksonville, DeFilippo was dealt an early blow when free agent addition Nick Foles went down in Week 1, but he was able to coax a reasonable performance out of sixth-round rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew. The Jaguars represented DeFilippo’s third OC job, and neither of his first two gigs (with the Browns and the Vikings) lasted more than one year, either.

In Chicago, DeFilippo will work alongside Ragone and new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor in an effort to right the Mitchell Trubisky ship. Head coach Matt Nagy will retain play-calling duty, but DeFilippo, Ragone, and Lazor will surely all have a hand in not only Trubisky’s continued development, but the Bears’ weekly game-planning.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Okung, Trubisky, Bucs

Chargers left tackle Russell Okung intends to run for NFLPA president, sources tell Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. This development is notable because, while CBA negotiations between the owners and the union have been progressing smoothly thus far, Okung is said to be vehemently opposed to a 17-game schedule and is open to a work stoppage in order to get the best possible deal for the league’s players.

The 17-game schedule may be the last major sticking point holding up a new CBA, but if a new agreement is not in place by the time current union president Eric Winston’s term expires in March, and if Okung were to be elected, negotiations could stall. Winston cannot be re-elected because he hasn’t played for the past two seasons.

A recent NFLPA investigation revealed that Okung gathered and disseminated confidential information in violation of the union’s constitutions and by-laws, but Okung denies those allegations.

Now for more news and notes from around the league:

  • On Monday, the Fritz Pollard Alliance issued what Florio calls the strongest statement it has made since the Rooney Rule was promulgated. The statement reads in part, “[w]e were painfully reminded through this past hiring cycle that attaining diverse leadership in the NFL can only happen through the willful actions of the team owners and decision makers. The abysmal record of hiring people of color in high ranking levels of NFL management is a reminder of the dark periods of civil rights history. The League has only one African-American General Manager. There are no African-American club presidents.” The Redskins hired a minority when they tabbed Ron Rivera as their new head coach, but the Fritz Pollard Alliance believes worthy minority candidates like Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy continue to get overlooked.
  • Mike Sando of The Athletic takes a look into the upcoming fifth-year option decisions that teams will have to make on their 2017 first-rounders. The entire piece is worth a read, and it’s notable that most of Sando’s sources believe the Bears will exercise the $25MM option on QB Mitchell Trubisky.
  • The Buccaneers worked out cornerback Tre Roberson, per Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter). Roberson, who played quarterback in college and who was last with an NFL team in September 2017, recorded seven interceptions for the CFL’s Calgary Stampeders this year. Recent reports suggested that Roberson would be back in the NFL in 2020 and that over 10 teams were interested in the converted signal-caller.

Bears Hire Bill Lazor As OC

The Bears fired offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich at the end of the 2019 season, and they have now filled their vacancy. Chicago has hired former Dolphins and Bengals OC Bill Lazor to replace Helfrich, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter).

Lazor, 47, was hired as Cincinnati’s quarterbacks coach in 2016 but ended up taking over as the team’s play-caller three games into the 2017 campaign. In 2018, his first full season as the Bengals’ OC, Lazor led a unit which ranked 17th in points, 19th in DVOA (efficiency), and 26th in yardage. In his first year as Miami’s OC, 2014, the ‘Fins finished 8th in DVOA, but they plummeted to 22nd the following year and Lazor was given the boot.

Part of Lazor’s responsibilities in Chicago will include getting quarterback Mitchell Trubisky back on track — assuming the Bears stick with Trubisky as their starter — and helping fix an offense that finished the 2019 season 29th in total offense, 31st in yards per play, and 29th in scoring. Head coach Matt Nagy, though, will retain play-calling duties.

Per Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune, the Bears were interested in Pat Shurmur for their OC job, but Shurmur was recently hired by the Broncos, for whom he will call offensive plays. The presence of Nagy as play-caller and Trubisky under center could be a deterrent for the upper echelon of OC candidates, which may be why the team had to opt for a second-tier choice in Lazor.

Lazor was out of the league in 2019, though he did interview for the Redskins’ quarterbacks coach job last January.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Updated 2020 NFL Draft Order

The stage has been set for the conference championships. The Titans, Chiefs, 49ers, and Packers are moving on to the semifinals, while the Texans, Seahawks, Ravens, and Vikings will begin planning for the offseason ahead. Unfortunately for the Texans, their first round pick belongs to the Dolphins.

Here’s an updated look at the 2020 NFL Draft order from Nos. 1-28:

1. Bengals (2-14)

2. Redskins (3-13)

3. Lions (3-12-1)

4. Giants (4-12)

5 Dolphins (5-11)

6. Chargers (5-11)

7. Panthers (5-11)

8. Cardinals (5-10-1)

9. Jaguars (6-10)

10. Browns (6-10)

11. Jets (7-9)

12. Raiders (7-9)

13. Colts (7-9)

14. Buccaneers (7-9)

15. Broncos (7-9)

16. Falcons (7-9)

17. Cowboys (8-8)

18. Dolphins (via Steelers 8-8)

19. Raiders (via Bears 8-8)

20. Jaguars (via Rams 9-7)

21. Eagles (9-7)

22. Bills (10-6)

23. Patriots (12-4)

24. Saints (13-3)

25. Vikings (10-6)

26. Dolphins (via Texans 10-6)

27. Seahawks (11-5)

28. Ravens (14-2)

Updated 2020 NFL Draft Order

After a weekend full of drama and upsets, four more spots have been determined in this year’s NFL Draft order. Most notably – the Patriots will pick No. 23 overall, their highest original pick since 2006.

Here’s the updated rundown, from Nos. 1-24:

1. Bengals (2-14)

2. Redskins (3-13)

3. Lions (3-12-1)

4. Giants (4-12)

5. Dolphins (5-11)

6. Chargers (5-11)

7. Panthers (5-11)

8. Cardinals (5-10-1)

9. Jaguars (6-10)

10. Browns (6-10)

11. Jets (7-9)

12. Raiders (7-9)

13. Colts (7-9)

14. Buccaneers (7-9)

15. Broncos (7-9)

16. Falcons (7-9)

17. Cowboys (8-8)

18. Dolphins (via Steelers 8-8)

19. Raiders (via Bears 8-8)

20. Jaguars (via Rams 9-7)

21. Eagles (9-7)

22. Bills (10-6)

23. Patriots (12-4)

24. Saints (13-3)

Bears Sign Eddie Jackson To Extension

The Bears have locked down star safety Eddie Jackson for years to come. On Friday, his agents announced the signing of a four-year add-on worth $58.4MM.

The new deal includes $33MM in overall guarantees and $22MM fully guaranteed. The $14.6MM average annual value of the deal ranks as the highest of any safety in the NFL.

Jackson, 27, still had one year to go on his paltry four-year, $3.065MM rookie deal. But, after back-to-back Pro Bowl nods, the Bears didn’t want to wait until the asking price jumped even further.

The Bears were somewhat limited on cap space for 2020, but thanks to some help from Kyle Fuller, they were able to carve out enough room to extend Jackson through the 2024 campaign.

Jackson entered the league as a fourth-round pick of the Bears in 2017. Since then, he’s started in 100% of his games and solidified himself as one of the league’s premier safeties. Over the last three seasons, he’s notched ten interceptions and returned three of those picks for touchdowns.

The advanced metrics back up the traditional stats, too. In 2018, Jackson earned an eye-popping 93.2 score from Pro Football Focus, tying him for the highest grade ever given to a safety. He wasn’t quite as sharp in 2019, but the Bears believe that he’ll bounce back in 2020, along with the rest of the team’s high-priced defense.

Before Jackson’s deal, Titans safety Kevin Byard had the highest AAV at the position ($14.1MM) thanks to the five-year, $70.5MM extension he signed last summer. In terms of overall compensation, Redskins standout Landon Collins still reins supreme at safety with his six-year, $84MM deal.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.