Bears Rumors

Bears Wrap Draft Class

On Thursday, the Bears announced the signing of sixth-round cornerback Duke Shelley. With Shelley in the fold, the Bears have now wrapped up their entire 2019 NFL Draft class. 

[RELATED: Champ Kelly To Stay With Bears]

Shelley, a 5’9″ Kansas State product, will compete for time as a slot corner and special teams player. He might not see a ton of defensive snaps in 2019, but he showed future promise for the position with three interceptions last year.

Here’s the full rundown of the Bears’ draft class, via PFR’s tracker:

After Shelley’s signing, there are just 15 unsigned draft picks remaining in the NFL.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Champ Kelly To Stay With Bears

On Wednesday, Bears assistant director of player personnel Champ Kelly announced that he’ll be staying in Chicago. Kelly previously interviewed for the Jets’ GM job that ultimately went to Joe Douglas and there was talk that he still might join Gang Green’s front office.

[RELATED: Josh McCown Retires From NFL]

“I’m blessed and grateful to continue the pursuit of the Super Bowl trophy with the most storied franchise in NFL history,” Kelly tweeted.

Kelly joined the Bears in 2015 after spending eight years with the Broncos. He’ll return for a fifth season in Chicago while the Jets will move ahead with Phil Savage, Rex Hogan, and Chad Alexander as the new lieutenants under Douglas.

Josh McCown Retires From NFL

After 17 years in the NFL, Josh McCown is calling it a career. On Monday, the longtime QB bid farewell to the game in a post on The Player’s Tribune

At the end of the day, no matter what team I was on, I tried to serve it to the best of my ability, and I tried to influence my team in a positive manner. I hope I did that,” McCown wrote. “And I made sure that when my number was called, I was prepared, and I gave it everything I had, every time. I may not have turned out to be the franchise quarterback I set out to be back at Cardinals rookie camp, but I’m extremely proud of the career I had.”

McCown didn’t become the face of the Cardinals as he had hoped, but he did enjoy nearly two decades in the NFL while spending time with ten different teams. His journey also included a pit stop in the UFL in 2010, a deal that almost didn’t come to pass when the Bears offered him a contract. Remarkably, McCown declined the opportunity in Chicago and stuck it out with the Hartford Colonials. He later said that the notion of bailing on the commitment “didn’t sit well” with him and he didn’t want to set a bad example for his children in which he would give his “word to somebody until something better comes along and then break that.”

McCown had some memorable moments on the field throughout his career, but he will largely be remembered for his high-character, intense work ethic, and willingness to help groom younger quarterbacks. After starting 13 games for the Jets in 2017, McCown put his ego aside and agreed to return to New York as a mentor for rookie Sam Darnold. Now, McCown will continue to put his football wisdom and knowledge to good use, either as a broadcaster or coach.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bradley Sowell Set For More Playing Time?

  • Another North-division surprise factor: large Bears tight end Bradley Sowell. The converted tackle’s switch to tight end appears legitimate, with Jeff Dickerson of ESPN.com called the 6-foot-7, 312-pound veteran a legitimate threat for regular playing time — rather than this being a gimmicky or in-case-of-emergency position change. Sowell played tight end on 30 snaps last season but may be working toward a usage bump.

Todd McShay To Remain At ESPN; Champ Kelly Likely To Join Jets?

Todd McShay will remain in his role as an ESPN draft analyst rather than continue to pursue a front office position with the Jets, according to Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Meanwhile, Bears assistant director of player personnel Champ Kelly — who interviewed for the Jets’ GM position before it went to Joe Douglas — is a candidate to join Gang Green in a different capacity and indeed is likely to be hired, per Rich Cimini of ESPN.com and Adam Caplan of SiriusXM NFL Radio (Twitter links). 

McShay, who first joined ESPN in 2006, interviewed for a job with the Jets last week. While he’s never worked in an NFL front office, McShay was a college teammate of Douglas. McShay was the scout team quarterback at the University of Richmond where Douglas was an offensive lineman. Given his high on-air profile, McShay was likely searching for a either a large salary or a critical title with New York.

Kelly also enjoys a prior relationship with Douglas, having worked with both him and new Jets head coach Adam Gase with the Bears. A Kentucky alum, Kelly has also spent time with the Broncos during his front office career. He was one of four candidates to interview for the Jets’ GM job, joining Douglas, the Saints’ Terry Fontenot, and the Seahawks’ Scott Fitterer.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bears Sign Third-Round RB David Montgomery

The Bears have reached an agreement with third-round running back David Montgomery, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

Chicago traded up to acquire Montgomery, sending three picks (including a 2020 fourth-rounder) to New England in exchange for the 73rd overall selection. The Bears didn’t have a first- or second-round pick in the 2019 draft as a result of the Khalil Mack trade and a 2018 draft-day swap with (again with the Patriots), so Montgomery represented the club’s first selection.

Having already shipped Jordan Howard to the Eagles, the Bears were searching for another back to team with free agent signee Mike Davis and holdover Tarik Cohen. Howard handled roughly 58% of Chicago’s running back snaps and 55% of the team’s rushing attempts a season ago, and head coach Matt Nagy will now be tasked with divvying up touches among three backs.

Montgomery (5’10”, 222 pounds) topped 1,100 yards rushing in each of his final two seasons at Iowa State. While he didn’t produce elite athletic testing results at the combine, Montgomery finished the 2018 campaign with the most missed tackles forced (99) of any collegiate running back, as Ben Cooper of Pro Football Focus writes.

Chiacgo’s lone unsigned 2019 draft pick is now sixth-round cornerback Duke Shelley. Here’s the club’s draft class in full:

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 6/13/19

Today’s minor moves:

Chicago Bears

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

New York Jets

Tennessee Titans

Minor NFL Transactions: 6/12/19

Today’s minor moves:

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Kansas City Chiefs

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

  • Claimed off waivers: CB Montrel Meander

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bears Reveal Khalil Mack Trade Process

  • During the 2018 Khalil Mack pursuit, Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy began calling their Raiders counterparts (Reggie McKenzie and Jon Gruden) about the All-Pro edge defender once training camp began last year. But the Bears’ prevailing thought as of late July 2018 was, in the words of player personnel director Josh Lucas, “What are we doing? They’re not going to trade this guy,” Lucas said (via J.J. Stankevitz of NBC Sports Chicago). But shortly before Chicago’s final preseason game — which occurred a day after the Aaron Donald extension, and as the Raiders’ patience with Mack was running out — Bears brass were told to submit their best offer. That proposal (a package fronted by two first-round picks and a third-rounder) won out. “I think we had an advantage because they wanted him to get out of the AFC, so being an NFC team, I think we had a pretty good chance,” Lucas said. “I don’t think the Raiders thought we were going to be any good last year, so they wanted our first-round pick. So I think that played a part of it.
  • After Adrian Amos and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix started the 2018 season as Bears and Packers safeties, the respective back-line defenders switched cities this year. Clearly on a roll at the Bears100 Celebration this week, Lucas added (via Stankevitz, on Twitter) the Bears consistently graded Clinton-Dix as superior to Amos. Pro Football Focus would disagree with the Bears’ assessment, particularly in 2017 (when the site gave Amos a 90.9 grade and Clinton-Dix a 71.5 mark). The Bears also landed Clinton-Dix for far cheaper (one year, $3MM) than the deal the Packers gave Amos (four years, $36MM), pointing to other teams sharing PFF’s view.

Minor NFL Transactions: 6/4/19

Today’s minor moves:

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Indianapolis Colts

  • Signed: G Nico Siragusa

Jacksonville Jaguars

Miami Dolphins

New York Giants