Chicago Bears Rumors & News

Bears Sign Mitch Trubisky

The Bears have signed first round pick Mitch Trubisky, according to a team announcement. It’s good timing for both sides as Bears rookies report to training camp today.

"<strong

Even as the two sides took additional time to come to an accord, Trubisky made it clear that he would not be training camp holdout a la Joey Bosa.

“I’m not going to miss any practices or anything like that,” Trubisky said in late June. “I’m excited to sign my contract as soon as possible, however that goes down. But I don’t see that being held out through training camp; even if it did, I’m going to be practicing and all that. I’m looking forward to getting it done as soon as possible. I’m a Chicago Bear, no matter if they let me sign or what. I guess not, but I am.”

The Bears shocked the world in April by not only selecting Trubisky with their top pick, but trading up from No. 3 overall to No. 2 for the right to do it. Switching places with the 49ers cost picks No. 67 and No. 111 in the 2017 draft, plus a 2018 a third-round pick.

The pressure is on for Trubisky, though it won’t necessarily be felt right away. For now, the plan is for free agent acquisition Mike Glennon to be the Bears’ starter while Trubisky learns from the bench.

The deal leaves us with six unsigned first round picks: defensive lineman Solomon Thomas (49ers), wide receiver Corey Davis (Titans), safety Jamal Adams (Jets), quarterback Patrick Mahomes (Chiefs), cornerback Gareon Conley (Raiders), and safety Jabrill Peppers (Browns).

Photo courtesy of Pro Football Rumors on Instagram.

ESPNers: John Fox On Hot Seat

  • A decision-making presence the Broncos once extended (before firing him), John Fox is on a hot seat at his most recent job, Michael Rothstein and Jeff Dickerson of ESPN.com write. Fox having gone 9-23 in two Bears seasons puts the veteran sideline bastion in danger of being fired for a third time, provided the Bears don’t push for the playoffs, per Dickerson. The writer notes chairman George McCaskey’s lack of patience might lead to another change. Dickerson adds third-year GM Ryan Pace should join Fox on the hot seat, but he’s likely to be safer than the coach is.
  • Cornelius Washington ventured from the Bears to the Lions in part because of Detroit’s attacking 4-3 scheme as opposed to the 3-4 currently being deployed in Chicago, Tim Twentyman of Lions.com notes. Washington will be a part of the Lions’ rotation up front, with Twentyman predicting the former Bears backup will have a good chance to rush from the tackle spot on passing downs.

Akiem Hicks Hires Rosenhaus Sports

On the cusp of a contract year, Bears defensive end Akiem Hicks announced last month that he was seeking new representation. The search is over, according to Sports Business Journal’s Liz Mullen, who tweets that Hicks has signed with Drew Rosenhaus and Ryan Matha of Rosenhaus Sports.

Akiem Hicks (vertical)

Turning to Rosenhaus, the most famous agent in football, certainly shouldn’t hurt Hicks’ cause as he vies for a major payday. Hicks made his own case for a raise on the field last year, his first in Chicago, when he performed like one of the NFL’s premier defensive linemen. After signing a two-year, $10MM contract in free agency last offseason, the former Saint and Patriot led all Bears D-linemen in snaps (930) and piled up 54 tackles, seven sacks and two forced fumbles across 16 starts. In addition to recording excellent traditional numbers, Hicks ranked as Pro Football Focus’ 15th-best interior defender last season.

Now that Hicks has representation again, it won’t be surprising if general manager Ryan Pace attempts to lock him up to an extension this summer. The Bears have no shortage of cap space going forward, though a notable chunk of that would go to Hicks if the two sides were to hammer out a new deal.

As I noted last week when examining a potential extension for Hicks, a pact worth eight figures per year looks like a reasonable goal at the moment. If the Bears aren’t convinced Hicks is worth that type of long-term investment now and he ends up posting another huge season, the team could keep him via the franchise tag. However, tagging an end next year will cost roughly $17MM, which could be too pricey in Hicks’ case.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Danny Trevathan Likely To Begin 2017 On PUP List

  • Bears linebacker Danny Trevathan is likely to open the season on the physically unable to perform list, suggests Chris Boden of CSN Chicago. Trevathan ruptured the patella tendon in his right knee last November, forcing him to sit out the Bears’ final five games of 2016, and he’ll miss their first six contests this year if he goes on the PUP list. The former Bronco is entering the second season of the four-year, $24.5MM pact he signed with Chicago in March 2016.

Extension Candidate: Akiem Hicks

As a quality player entering a contract year, Bears lineman Akiem Hicks has a realistic chance of ending up as one of the richest defenders in next winter’s free agent class. While there’s no indication that the Bears have prioritized an extension for Hicks, it’s fair to suggest that an ideal scenario for general manager Ryan Pace would include keeping the five-year veteran in the fold for the long haul.

Akiem Hicks

In March 2016, Hicks’ first trip to free agency, Pace lured him from New England on a two-year, $10MM deal. Hicks entered the NFL in 2012 as a third-round pick of the Saints, who employed Pace at the time. Three years later, New Orleans deemed Hicks expendable, sending him to the Patriots for tight end Michael Hoomanawanui. That proved to be yet another shrewd move by the Pats, with whom Hicks fared well across 13 games in 2015 before departing for a richer payday.

Pace made an astute decision of his own when he signed Hicks, as the 318-pounder thrived last year while taking on more responsibility than he had in either New Orleans or New England. Hicks tied a career high with 16 starts and established new personal bests in snaps (930, which led all Bears defensive linemen), tackles (54), sacks (seven) and forced fumbles (two). Those are impressive traditional numbers, and Hicks also fared well in terms of advanced metrics, as Pro Football Focus ranked his performance a stellar 15th among 127 qualified interior D-linemen last season.

Now, eight months from potentially becoming a free agent again, Hicks is in the market for a new representative, and he seems cognizant that he’s on the verge of a raise.

I am a free agent that is almost a free agent,” Hicks said last month. “You get it?

Preventing an unsigned Hicks from leaving Chicago via the franchise tag next winter would cost the club a lofty amount, somewhere in the $17MM neighborhood. With that in mind, when the defensive end hires an agent, it would behoove Pace to reach out to his representative regarding an extension. The question is: What would be a fair offer for the 27-year-old Hicks, who went from a solid lineman from 2012-15, when he combined for 33 starts and 9.5 sacks, to a borderline excellent one last season? Among PFF’s other top 15 interior linemen from last year, several have recently landed contracts, including Calais Campbell (No. 2), Kawann Short (No. 3), Fletcher Cox (No. 5), Damon Harrison (No. 7), Mike Daniels (No. 9) and Malik Jackson (No. 12). Here’s a quick rundown of those deals:

  • Campbell: Four years, $60MM, including $30MM guaranteed (March 2017)
  • Short: Five years, $80MM, including $35MM guaranteed (April 2017)
  • Cox: Six years, $103MM, including $63MM guaranteed (June 2016)
  • Harrison: Five years, $46.25MM, including $24MM guaranteed (March 2016)
  • Daniels: Four years, $42MM, including $12MM guaranteed (December 2015)
  • Jackson: Six years, $90MM, including $42MM guaranteed (March 2016)

At around $10MM per year over a handful of seasons, the Harrison and Daniels contracts look like more reasonable benchmarks than the others for Hicks, though the guaranteed money would likely have to approach Harrison’s total. It’s important to note that the salary cap has risen since those two signed, and it’s only going to continue going up. Both the NFL’s ever-increasing cap and another terrific season would enable Hicks to further make his case for something closer to the pact Campbell landed earlier this offseason. So, having already received one decent-sized payday in his career, it’s possible Hicks will bet on himself this year, go without an extension and try to play his way to Campbell-type money (if not more) by next winter.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Will Bears Miss Alshon Jeffery?

  • Will the Bears regret not re-signing Alshon Jeffery? Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com doesn’t think they’ll regret letting him go in the midst of a rebuilding phase. Jeffery’s talent is undeniable when he’s on the field, but he’s only played in all 16 games twice in his five NFL seasons due to injury. For a team that is looking to start over, it didn’t make much sense to match the Eagles’ offer of a one-year deal worth up to $14MM. Now, it’s time for the Bears to find out what they have in Cameron Meredith and Kevin White. Meredith enjoyed a breakout season in 2016 and he could take another big step forward in his age-25 campaign. Meanwhile, White is something of an unknown given all the injuries he has dealt with since going No. 7 overall in 2015.

Prince Amukamara Wants To Find Long-Term Home

  • Like Jean-Francois, cornerback Prince Amukamara landed a one-year pact with an NFC North club this spring, as the veteran defensive back signed a deal with the Bears. But he’s hoping his relationship with Chicago extends beyond simply the 2017 season, as Chris Emma of CBS Chicago writes. “I don’t want to start bouncing around teams,” Amukamara said. “I want to find a home somewhere soon, what I did in New York. I’m trying to give this team everything I’ve got. Every one-year deal is a prove-it deal for the player. That’s just my mindset this year.” Amukamara, 28, will be playing on his second consecutive single-season accord after spending the 2016 campaign in Jacksonville. While he did earn a bump in pay (from $5MM to $7MM), it’s understandable that Amukamara hopes to ink a long-term deal.

Bears QB Mitch Trubisky Won’t Hold Out

Although Bears rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky is one of only 10 unsigned 2017 draft picks, he has no intention of holding out once training camp begins, as Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times details.Mitch Trubisky (Vertical)

“I’m not going to miss any practices or anything like that,” Trubisky said. “I’m excited to sign my contract as soon as possible, however that goes down. But I don’t see that being held out through training camp; even if it did, I’m going to be practicing and all that. I’m looking forward to getting it done as soon as possible. I’m a Chicago Bear, no matter if they let me sign or what. I guess not, but I am.”

Seven of the 10 unsigned 2017 picks are first-rounders, so Trubisky, the second overall selection, isn’t much of an outlier just yet. A first-round pick, and especially a quarterback like Trubisky, can often exert a bit of leverage in rookie contract negotiations. Though the NFL contractual bargaining agreement makes rookie signings a breeze, small terms — such as timing of bonus payments or offset language — can be brokered.

Last year, of course, the Chargers failed to sign No. 4 selection Joey Bosa until the end of August as the two parties haggled over contractual details. After giving up a haul of draft picks to move up to the No. 2 overall pick, Chicago clearly doesn’t want the same situation to play out with Trubisky, who is expected to play behind starter Mike Glennon, at least to start the 2017 season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC North Rumors: Vikings, Bears, Packers

Vikings wideout Michael Floyd will only receive a one-day jail sentence for violating the terms of his probation, and that fact alone is considered a “huge win,” a source tells Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. Floyd will also serve the remaining five days of his house arrest, but as Florio writes, Floyd could have conceivably forced to spend more time in jail, either on a revamped or altogether new sentence. The 27-year-old will begin his punishment this evening, meaning he’ll be ready for action by the time training camp rolls around. In a statement, Vikings general manager Rick Spielman indicated the club will continue to support Floyd, who is still expected to be hit with a league-imposed suspension.

Here’s more from the NFC North:

  • Given that veteran tight end Zach Miller only has one year left on his contract, the Bears could potentially release him this summer in favor of the younger Daniel Brown, as Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune speculates. Miller, 32, reached career-highs in receptions and yards a season ago despite missing six games with injury. He’s still recovering from the foot ailment that cost him those contests, and if Chicago is worried about his ability to remain healthy, it could conceivably cut bait, saving north of $1.8MM in the process. Free agent signee Dion Sims and second-round pick Adam Shaheen are Bears roster locks, meaning Miller, Brown, MyCole Pruitt, and Ben Braunecker could be competing for one spot.
  • The Packers had been working on a deal for Lance Kendricks even while talking with other tight ends this spring, and were going to sign Kendricks regardless of whether they agreed to terms with Martellus Bennett or Jared Cook, according to Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. Bennett was the Packers’ ultimate choice, of course, and finding two tight ends was an offseason goal for head coach Mike McCarthy, who considers TE an exceedingly valuable position in the vein of quarterback or edge rusher.
  • In case you missed it, Vikings assistant general manager George Paton declined to be interviewed for the Chiefs’ GM vacancy, citing a “variety of reasons.” Paton was also in consideration for the GM positions in Indianapolis and San Francisco earlier this year.

Ka'Deem Carey On Bears Bubble?

  • Running back Ka’Deem Carey is not a lock to make the Bears‘ roster, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune writes. Right now, Carey is in a contract year and, like former starter Jeremy Langford, he’s competing to be the backup for Jordan Howard. Carey can help his chances of making the cut by improving his special teams play, but Biggs can also see the Bears signing another running back late in the summer.