Chicago Bears Rumors & News

Bears To Sign WR Victor Cruz

The Bears are signing former Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz, according to Kimberly Jones and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). It will be a one-year deal. 

As PFR’s Sam Robinson detailed recently, Cruz is a logical fit for Chicago. The Bears lost Alshon Jeffery in free agency this offseason (without much of a fight) and Kevin White cannot be counted upon given his injury concerns. The Bears added Kendall Wright and Markus Wheaton this spring to help fill the void and Cruz is the latest addition to bolster the WR group.

In addition to Cruz and the aforementioned Wright, White, and Wheaton, the Bears have Cameron Meredith atop the WR depth chart. Joshua Bellamy, Deonte Thompson, and Daniel Braverman are among the other WRs presently on the 90-man roster.

After missing the majority of the 2014 season and sitting out the entire 2015 season, the salsa-dancing fan favorite clearly lost a step in 2016 as he caught 39 passes for 586 yards and one touchdown in 15 games. However, the 30-year-old (31 in November) might be able to recapture some of his old magic if he is used in the slot.

In his best seasons, Cruz was a legitimate star for the Giants. He burst on to the scene in 2011 by catching 82 passes for 1,536 yards and nine scores. His encore saw him set a new career high with 86 grabs for 1,092 yards and ten touchdowns, earning him a trip to the Super Bowl.

Before agreeing to sign with Chicago, the Jaguars scheduled a visit with Cruz, but that was cancelled for unknown reasons. The Ravens also reportedly expressed interest in him.

Photo via Pro Football Rumors on Instagram.

Bears To Swap Kyle Long, Josh Sitton

  • The Bears are in the process of moving Kyle Long to a third position, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune reports. He and Josh Sitton are set to swap spots, with Long shuttling to left guard and Sitton sliding over to the right side. Sitton has extensive experience at both guard slots, having played at least four years at each. Long, though, has never played left guard in the NFL. He played right tackle in 2015 but was relocated back to his customary right guard slot last season. Long did suit up at left guard while at Oregon. Long is still rehabbing from the ankle injury that ended his season after eight games, Biggs reports. Sitton started at right guard from 2009-12 for the Packers, who switched he and T.J. Lang in 2013 because of Lang’s more physical approach.

Zach Miller "Close To 100 Percent"

  • Zach Miller said his foot is close to 100 percent but that he will “take it slow” in Bears OTAs, the tight end said (Twitter link, via Mike Berman of NBC Chicago). Miller broke his foot and landed on IR last season. The tight end’s situation in Chicago became much more complicated after the Bears made offseason moves to add Dion Sims in free agency and draft Adam Shaheen in the second round. The Bears have reportedly dangled the contract-year pass-catcher in trade talks.

6 Possible Fits For Victor Cruz

Victor Cruz is starting to generate some interest months after the Giants ended his lengthy New York tenure in February. But the slot receiver is far removed from his best seasons, ones that occurred before multiple leg injuries sidetracked his career.

But there’s still a market for the 30-year-old wideout, probably on a short-term arrangement to see what the former Pro Bowler has left. Cruz met with the Panthers before the draft, but they went in another direction. The 2012 Pro Bowler also went on visits to discuss a potential role with the Jaguars and Bears last week, and the Ravens expressed interest as well.

Here are some of the fits for Cruz as he attempts to re-establish himself on another team following the down years that marred the second half of his Giants tenure:

  • Ravens — Baltimore lost both Steve Smith and Kamar Aiken and has done little to help its receiving corps this offseason. The Ravens did not draft a wideout despite a depth chart that’s headlined by 2016 street free agent Mike Wallace and injury risk Breshad Perriman. Cruz would stand to be a far more proven inside complement for this team compared to what is currently on the roster. A rumored Cruz/Ravens summit hasn’t occurred yet, but the Ravens are believed to be targeting veteran UFAs that would likely serve niche roles this season.
  • Raiders — Oakland made some flashy additions to an offense that was already among the league’s best. Marshawn Lynch, Jared Cook and Cordarrelle Patterson will see plenty of time for the rejuvenated team, but the Raiders still don’t have a surefire No. 3 wide receiver. Former UDFA Seth Roberts did not build on his promising spurts in 2015, and Patterson has made his name as a kick returner. The former first-round pick hasn’t been a consistent receiving threat. The Raiders are targeting extensions for Derek Carr, Gabe Jackson and Khalil Mack, but a low-end Cruz pact — likely for one year — wouldn’t stand to impede those pursuits much.
  • Browns — If Cruz visited the Bears, he’s not dead set on playing for a team in position to contend now. The Browns look to have made a mistake by cutting Taylor Gabriel last summer, and they don’t have much beyond Kenny Britt and Corey Coleman despite a sizable wideout corps acquired in last year’s draft. Cruz doesn’t fit a rebuilding team, but Cleveland has young quarterbacks Cody Kessler and DeShone Kizer. A better target to help over the middle would stand to aid in these passers’ development. Cruz did haul in 39 passes for 586 yards last season; that’s over 300 more than any current Browns WR3 candidate did.
  • Jaguars — The obvious connection to Tom Coughlin makes this avenue somewhat viable, and the parties getting together for a meeting makes Jacksonville a candidate. It’s just more difficult to see where Cruz would play than some of these other teams. The Jags already have starters Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns, and Marqise Lee put together his best season in 2016. While Robinson and Lee are UFAs after the season, Cruz as of now does not profile as a player that would command a multiyear deal and factor into longer-term planning.
  • Lions — Detroit has two locked-in starters in Marvin Jones and Golden Tate, and the franchise selected 6-foot-4 wideout Kenny Golladay in Round 3. The Lions, though, could still use another veteran here, especially if Ameer Abdullah‘s injury history continues to force passing-down specialist Theo Riddick — himself a season-ending injury casualty last season — into the backfield. That said, the Lions are a candidate to re-sign Anquan Boldin, which would negate this path.
  • Bears — Also an interesting match despite the visit, Chicago has lost some marquee receiving weapons in recent years. Brandon Marshall made another franchise regret a trade in 2015, and Alshon Jeffery‘s defection to the Eagles leaves the Bears in transition mode here. Kevin White‘s rampant injury struggles don’t make the former top-10 pick a safe bet either, leaving Cameron Meredith as their de facto WR1. But the Bears signed both Kendall Wright and Markus Wheaton. While neither can match Cruz at his best, and both did not thrive in their contract years, but Chicago adding both may make the ex-Giant superfluous and create some interesting debates on which wideouts to shuttle to special teams.

Which of these teams do you think would be the best fit for the would-be eighth-year veteran? Who did we leave off that you think would make for a logical destination? Weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Barnwell Not Impressed With Bears Offseason

  • ESPN’s Bill Barnwell wasn’t particularly impressed with the Bears offseason, especially when it came to the team’s handling of the quarterback position. While the organization could presumably find their future signal-caller among Mike Glennon and Mitch Trubisky, Barnwell still believes the organization paid too much for the free agent and sacrificed too many assets for the rookie. The pundit also wasn’t a fan of the Bears selection of several “small-school” prospects, including Ashland tight end Adam Shaheen and Kutztown offensive lineman Jordan Morgan. If there was a positive to take away from the Bears offseason, Barnwell points to the team’s improved secondary.

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Bears Sign Second-Rounder Adam Shaheen

  • The Bears have locked up second-round tight end Adam Shaheen, leaving first-round quarterback Mitch Trubisky as the only member of their five-pick class who hasn’t signed yet. Shaheen – formerly with Ashland – is one of three Bears picks who attended a small school, and plucking players from relatively anonymous institutions has led to criticism of general manager Ryan Pace. But Shaheen is a “special talent,” according to Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com.

Bears Source On Mike Glennon, Mitch Trubisky

With Josh McCown, Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty comprising their top three signal-callers, the Jets project to have the worst quarterback situation in the NFL in 2017, opines Dan Graziano of ESPN.com. Meanwhile, the Bears also sit toward the bottom (28th) despite an offseason that has included a couple big splashes under center. Chicago added Mike Glennon in free agency and then used the second overall pick in the draft on former North Carolina QB Mitch Trubisky, though he could have a hard time getting on the field as a rookie. “Mike would have to really mess up” to lose the job to Trubisky this year, a Bears source informed Graziano, who unsurprisingly places the Patriots No. 1 in his team QB rankings. The reigning Super Bowl champions feature both the league’s premier starter (Tom Brady) and its best backup (Jimmy Garoppolo).

Vikings Sign Former Bears DT Will Sutton

The Vikings signed defensive tackle Will Sutton, per a team announcement. Sutton was cut by the rival Bears last week. Will Sutton (vertical)

Sutton, 25, was selected in the third round by Chicago in the 2014 draft. In the last three years, he started in half of his games and the advanced metrics at Pro Football Focus indicate that he had his best season to date in 2016. Still, GM Ryan Pace wasn’t terribly interested in keeping this holdover from the previous regime, as evidenced by his effort to trade him before last year’s season opener.

In his eight games last year (six starts), Sutton had only 15 total tackles but he earned a decent 74.8 overall score from PFF. His 174 snaps weren’t enough to qualify to be ranked, but if he had a larger sample, he would have been ranked as the 44th best interior defender in the league, ahead of notables like Ricky Jean-Francois, Corey Peters, and Cullen Jenkins.

The Vikings project to start Linval Joseph and Sharrif Floyd at the defensive tackle spots in a 4-3 scheme. If Sutton sticks, he could be one of the first DTs off of the bench along with fourth-round rookie Jaleel Johnson.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Draft Pick Signings: 5/15/17

Here are today’s draft pick signings, with teams continuing to work on their Day 3 additions.

  • The Bengals added five draft choices on Monday — including five of their final six picks in an 11-selection draft. Cincinnati reached agreements with fourth-round defensive tackle Ryan Glasgow (Michigan), fifth-round kicker Jake Elliott (Memphis), sixth-round linebacker Jordan Evans (Oklahoma), sixth-round safety Brandon Wilson (Houston) and seventh-round tight end Mason Schreck (Buffalo). This large draft contingent will bring about heavy roster competition, with 11 roster spots likely unavailable. Elliott was one of three kickers taken in the draft, but the other two came off the board in the seventh round. He and Randy Bullock figure to battle for a job.
  • Fourth-round safety Eddie Jackson signed his Bears deal. The Alabama product will step into a safety corps that includes recently signed Quintin Demps and two-year starter Adrian Amos.
  • Continuing the string of fourth-round signings, the Colts and tackle Zach Banner (USC) agreed to terms. Banner could provide depth or possibly compete for a starting spot on the right side of Indianapolis’ offensive line, which is less settled than the left side. The Colts did not use another pick on a blocker after having four offensive linemen from their 2016 draft class on the roster.

Bears Altering QB Coaching Plan With Rookie Now On Board

  • The Bears are adjusting some of their quarterback coaching plan for rookie Mitch Trubisky, John Mullin of CSNChicago.com notes, adding, however, John Fox won’t be thinking long-term when he decides who will start come September. Mullin writes that Mike Glennon‘s status as the current starter, one he held at this juncture in the 2015 Buccaneers’ offseason, won’t deter the Bears from starting Trubisky on Day 1 if he’s ready. Trubisky is viewed as more of a project than Jameis Winston, but the Bears’ investment is quite similar to the Bucs’ then.