Eddie Jackson

Bears Place S Eddie Jackson, WR Darnell Mooney On IR

Having already traded away two accomplished veterans on defense before the deadline, the Bears will go the rest of the way without their other defensive Pro Bowler.

The foot injury Eddie Jackson suffered against the Jets in Week 12 led the team to move him to IR, and NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweets the veteran safety is expected to miss the rest of the season. It is a Lisfranc injury, according to Rapoport and NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo (on Twitter). The Bears also moved Darnell Mooney to IR. The third-year wide receiver had already been ruled out for the season’s remainder.

A fourth-round pick in 2017, Jackson is the longest-tenured Bears defensive starter. After the trade of Roquan Smith, he holds that distinction by a considerable margin. Jackson, whom the Bears extended immediately once be became eligible for a deal in January 2020, has lined up as a starter in all 88 games he has played — dating back to Week 1 of his rookie year. This will be the former Pro Bowler’s longest absence as a pro.

After giving Jackson his worst grade as a pro in 2021, Pro Football Focus viewed this as a bounce-back season. Jackson’s four interceptions lead the Bears — he is the only defender still with the team to have picked off more than one pass this season — and represent his highest INT total since his 2018 All-Pro campaign. Jackson has also forced two fumbles and registered 80 tackles.

The Bears already faced the Jets shorthanded in the secondary, with rookie starters Jaquan Brisker and Kyler Gordon missing what turned out to be another Mike White showcase event. Chicago, which traded Robert Quinn days before unloading Smith, has allowed at least 27 points in each of its past five games. Jackson’s absence will certainly make matters more difficult for a team barreling toward a top-five draft choice in 2023. The Bears have not picked in the top five since trading up for Mitch Trubisky in 2017.

Jackson’s four-year, $58.6MM extension calls for a nonguaranteed $13MM base salary in 2023. While the Bears stripped away every other piece from their Vic Fangio– and Chuck Pagano-era defenses this year, Adam Jahns of The Athletic notes all signs point to Jackson sticking around next season (subscription required). Jackson will turn 29 next week.

Bears WR Darnell Mooney Out For Season

NOVEMBER 28: Head coach Matt Eberflus confirmed yesterday’s suspicions when speaking to the media, stating that Mooney’s season is indeed over. He will be placed on IR and is “likely” to have surgery on his ankle, Eberflus added.

NOVEMBER 27: The Bears were without their leading receiver by the end of today’s game, which could very well be his last appearance in 2022. Chicago fears Darnell Mooney suffered a season-ending ankle injury, as noted by NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero (Twitter link).

During the third quarter of Sunday’s loss to the Jets, Mooney exited the contest and did not return. Pelissero notes that further testing will be done tomorrow to gather more information, but the worst-case scenario appears to be in play at this point. The loss of Mooney could be crippling given his importance to the Bears’ offense, and the team’s limited passing game.

Mooney entered the league with little fanfare as a fifth-round pick, but he showed considerable promise as a rookie in 2020 with 631 yards and three touchdowns. He took a sizeable step forward last year, notching 81 receptions, 1,055 yards and four scores. The free agent departure of Allen Robinson left the Tulane product as Chicago’s undisputed No. 1 pass-catcher, and he operated as such with a team-leading 493 yards while the Bears remained committed to a ground-heavy offense.

Assuming the 25-year-old is sidelined for the rest of the season, Chicago will likely turn even more to a committee approach in the passing game. Tight end Cole Kmet and running back David Montgomery rank second and third, respectively, in receiving yards this season. On the perimeter, N’Keal Harry – whom the Patriots traded to the Bears this summer – and Chase Claypool – acquired from the Steelers at the trade deadline – could take on larger roles moving forward, with the likes of Equanimeous St. Brown, Byron Pringle and rookie Velus Jones Jr. also being involved.

In other injury news, the Bears saw safety Eddie Jackson carted off the field today. He suffered a non-contact foot injury, one which likewise threatens to leave the rebuilding team without a key contributor for an extended time period. Especially if the Bears continue to operate without emerging quarterback Justin Fields, the remainder of the 2022 season will be one marked by injuries hampering any attempts at an offensive turnaround in particular.

Largest 2022 Cap Hits: Defense

After looking at this year’s top salary cap numbers on the offensive side of the ball, here is a rundown of the players counting the most toward their teams’ payrolls in 2022.

As could be expected, the salary figures here start below the quarterbacks. A few pass rushers, however, are tied to notable cap hits. Those numbers that check in within the top 20 leaguewide regardless of position. With the exception of true nose tackles and pure slot cornerbacks, every defensive position is represented here.

Here are the top cap figures on the defensive side for the ’22 season:

  1. T.J. Watt, OLB (Steelers): $31.12MM
  2. Chris Jones, DT (Chiefs): $29.42MM
  3. Joey Bosa, OLB (Chargers): $28.25MM
  4. Leonard Williams, DL (Giants): $27.3MM
  5. Aaron Donald, DT (Rams): $27MM
  6. Jalen Ramsey, CB (Rams): $23.2MM
  7. Deion Jones, LB (Falcons): $20.1MM
  8. Bud Dupree, OLB (Titans): $19.2MM
  9. Justin Simmons, S (Broncos): $18.85MM
  10. Javon Hargrave, DT (Eagles): $17.8MM
  11. C.J. Mosley, LB (Jets): $17.5MM
  12. Cameron Heyward, DL (Steelers): $17.42MM
  13. Robert Quinn, DE (Bears): $17.14MM
  14. Matt Judon, OLB (Patriots): $16.5MM
  15. DeForest Buckner, DT (Colts): $16MM
  16. Shaquill Griffin, CB (Jaguars): $16.44MM
  17. Tre’Davious White, CB (Bills): $16.4MM
  18. J.J. Watt, DL (Cardinals): $15.9MM
  19. Marcus Peters, CB (Ravens): $15.5MM
  20. Carl Lawson, DE (Jets): $15.33MM
  21. Eddie Jackson, S (Bears): $15.1MM
  22. Lavonte David, LB (Buccaneers): $14.79MM
  23. Budda Baker, S (Cardinals): $14.78MM
  24. Romeo Okwara, DE (Lions): $14.5MM
  25. Trey Hendrickson, DE (Bengals): $14.49MM
  • Illustrating how much the cap has climbed over the past several seasons, T.J. Watt is tied to a number nearly twice that of J.J. Watt, who has been tied to $16.7MM-per-year (a defender-record number in 2014) and $14MM-AAV deals as a pro. Trailing his older brother in Defensive Player of the Year honors, T.J. is signed to an edge defender-record $28MM-per-year accord.
  • Jones’ four-year Chiefs deal vaults from an $8.5MM cap number in 2021 to the league’s second-highest defensive figure this year. The standout defensive tackle’s cap hit accompanies Patrick Mahomes‘ $35.79MM number, which is well north of his 2021 figure, on Kansas City’s new-look payroll.
  • After two franchise tags, Williams scored a monster extension in 2021. The well-paid Giants D-lineman’s cap number this year is way up from his 2021 number ($9.4MM).
  • The Rams redid Donald’s contract last month, adding no new years to the through-2024 pact. The all-world defender’s cap hit actually decreases in 2023, dropping to $26MM
  • It is not certain Deion Jones will be back with the Falcons, who have jettisoned other Super Bowl LI cornerstones from the roster since the current regime took over in 2021. But they would save just $1MM were they to release the seventh-year linebacker.
  • To date, this represents the high-water mark for Mosley cap hits on his Jets deal, which at the time (2019) began a sea change for off-ball linebacker contracts. Mosley’s cap hit, on a pact that runs through 2024 because of the linebacker opting out of the 2020 season, increased by $10MM from 2021-22.
  • Hargrave is one of five Eagles pass rushers signed to veteran contracts. The ex-Steeler’s 2021 deal accompanies Brandon Graham, Josh Sweat, Haason Reddick, and Fletcher Cox‘s new agreement on Philadelphia’s defensive front. As cap hits do not reflect average salaries, Hargrave is the only member of this quartet tied to an eight-figure cap number in 2022.
  • Quinn has also been connected to a departure, with the 31-year-old pass rusher skipping minicamp after it became known he would like to be traded away from the rebuilding team. His cap hit tops the Bears’ payroll. The Bears would save $12.9MM by trading Quinn, should another team sign up for taking on his full 2022 base salary.

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/10/21

Here are Tuesday’s minor moves, with the list being updated throughout the day:

Arizona Cardinals

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

  • Waived: FB Mikey Daniel

Chicago Bears

Houston Texans

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Rams

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New York Giants

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Released from IR via injury settlement: G Anthony Coyle

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Bears Restructure Khalil Mack, Eddie Jackson, Cody Whitehair Contracts

Residing over the cap entering the weekend, the Bears made a few moves to create more than $20MM in cap space and inch under the $182.5MM salary ceiling.

Chicago will restructure the contracts of Khalil Mack, Eddie Jackson and Cody Whitehair, according to Adam Schefter, who adds these moves will create more than $23MM in cap space (Twitter link). The Bears previously had the NFL’s second-worst cap situation, residing nearly $20MM over the cap.

The Bears previously restructured Mack’s deal in 2019. He was due to count more than $26MM against Chicago’s 2021 cap. This marks the first restructure of Jackson’s five-year, $58.4MM deal. Ditto for Whitehair’s five-year, $51.3MM pact. The two combined to count just more than $20MM against Chicago’s cap this year.

The team still has work to do in the cap-space department, and the reshufflings will certainly be connected to a potential quarterback salary. In dire need at quarterback, the Bears are planning to pursue a Russell Wilson trade. Were the Bears to pull off a miraculous deal, they would need to account for by far the biggest contract in franchise history. Wilson’s $35MM-per-year accord runs through 2023.

Bears Notes: Desai, Robinson, Massie, Skrine

Earlier this week, Sean Desai met with the media for the first time since being promoted to the role of defensive coordinator. While the 37-year-old will take over a defense that has ranked as a top-10 DVOA unit in each of the past three seasons, they’ve also seen some regression since peaking in 2018. However, Desai doesn’t believe the defensive needs a significant overhaul.

“I’m not a big car guy, so my analogies may not be great, but this is like a tune up,” Desai said (via the team’s website). “We’re going to refine some things and we’re going to make sure our players are playing to their strengths on a consistent basis and they’re going to buy into the system and the whys and the hows of why we’re doing certain things. But we’ve got a good defense. We’ve got really good players here.”

“There was some regression, and we’re going to overcome that,” Desai added. “But we’re going to do it in a positive way and we’re going to do it where the players are going to be able to shine through that defense. So I think we’ll build some depth and we’ll continue with our tough, physical mindset of play and do that over a 16- to 20-week season.”

Some more notes out of Chicago…

  • CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora writes that the Bears are “prepared” to tag wideout Allen Robinson with the hope of eventually signing him to a long-term deal. Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune writes that it will be difficult to fit a franchised Robinson into a reduced 2021 cap, but the writer also admits that replacing Robinson would be a more daunting task.
  • Speaking of the cap, Biggs provided some cost-cutting options for the Bears. The team could move on from right tackle Bobby Massie, although that would open a spot on the offensive line. Cornerback Buster Skrine could also lose his roster spot, especially since he has a $500K roster bonus due in March. Finally, Biggs also whether the front office will be receptive to paying tight end Jimmy Graham $7MM this season.
  • As for restructured contracts, Biggs points to pass rusher Khalil Mack and safety Eddie Jackson, and he notes that the team could also extend cornerback Kyle Fuller. Alternatively, the team could look to retain free agents like Cairo Santos and Cordarrelle Patterson on low-money pacts.
  • Kevin Fishbain of The Athletic passed along a few Bears players who have increased their 2021 salaries via proven performance escalators (Twitter links): defensive end Bilal Nichols (from $920K to $2.183MM) and guard James Daniels ($1.437MM to $2.183MM),. Their new salaries are contingent on the final 2021 cap number.

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/27/20

Here are Friday’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Denver Broncos

  • Placed on reserve/COVID-19 list: WR Diontae Spencer; Spencer tested positive for the coronavirus.

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

Bears Place Eddie Jackson On Reserve/COVID-19 List

Reliant on their top-tier defense due largely to continued issues at quarterback, the Bears will be without one of that unit’s Pro Bowlers for the time being. Eddie Jackson landed on Chicago’s reserve/COVID-19 list Tuesday.

The fourth-year safety will be sidelined from practices until he submits two negative coronavirus tests. Several players have re-emerged to play in games after landing on the COVID list during the week, so Jackson — provided he is a close contact and has not tested positive for the virus — has a chance of being available against the Packers on Sunday night.

Jackson is the only player currently on the Bears’ virus list, though offensive lineman Lachavious Simmons spent time on it last week. Safety Deon Bush was on Chicago’s COVID list two weeks ago. Jackson has not missed a game yet this season and has not been sidelined for a contest since the 2018 season.

Once 5-1, the Bears have lost four straight games and are uncertain about who will start at quarterback Sunday. Chicago’s defense will enter the contest ranked third in DVOA; its offense sits 29th.

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.

Extra Points: Patriots, McDaniels, Bears

Predicting when the Patriots’ dynasty will end has become a seemingly annual exercise, but this year there seems to be some very real cracks in the foundation. Ben Volin of the Boston Globe has a new piece examining all the possible explanations for the Patriots’ uncharacteristic issues this year, and the whole thing is worth a read. He quotes many former coaches and adversaries like Rex Ryan, and notes that the consensus seems to be that the “Patriots may have overestimated how much” the trio of Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, and Julian Edelman had left in the tank.

Gronkowski has struggled with injuries all season long and hasn’t looked like himself, and Brady’s numbers aren’t of the eye-popping variety we’ve grown accustomed to seeing. Volin notes that the Patriots’ longtime “commandment” was to trade players before they got over the hill, but that the team opted not to deal Gronkowski after reportedly dangling him in trade talks this offseason. There’s still a couple of weeks plus the playoffs left, but it will be very interesting to see what type of changes come in New England this offseason if things don’t pick up.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Speaking of the Patriots, one change they might be facing is the potential departure of offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. McDaniels famously spurned the Colts at the last second this offseason, but is likely to be a hot head coaching candidate again this year. A league source told Jeff Howe of The Athletic that McDaniels will be heavily sought after on the interview circuit in part because there’s a “shortage of impressive coaching candidates.” Howe notes that the Patriots made McDaniels the league’s highest paid coordinator to help keep him, but that he “recently hired a new agent and will be interested in interview opportunities.” McDaniels has been linked heavily to the Packers’ opening in particular.
  • The Bears just wrapped up the NFC North last week, but they’ll be without a pair of key defensive players this week as they take on the 49ers while pursuing a first round bye. Safety Eddie Jackson and linebacker Aaron Lynch have been ruled out for the game, according to James Palmer of NFL Network (Twitter link). Jackson has graded out as the top safety in the league according to Pro Football Focus, and his absence will be massive for the league’s best defense.
  • In case you missed it, Pat Bowlen’s wife is now weighing in on the ongoing legal saga surrounding ownership of the Broncos.