Before we get to bullets, bits, nuggets and tidbits with a side for lunch, Brendan Sugrue throws down a list of things to keep in mind as Bears camp gets underway:
It’s an honor to make the cut. See you at camp on Thursday!
- ICYMI: Roquan Smith and Robert Quinn reported to camp. But will they practice? The era of traditional holdouts is over. I suspect they ended with the new CBA…or when Terrell Owens did sit-ups in his driveway. Depending on what is more relevant to our conversation. Smith and Quinn’s showing up at camp might mean nothing as a hold-in (where a player shows up for camp but does not participate in team activities) could still be in play. But the optics of having players in Halas Hall is better than the alternative of not having them there. And for what it’s worth, Smith says he’ll be there “when the smoke clears” — whatever that means.
- To me, that means the Bears are making every effort to have both Quinn and Smith on board when summer hits. And I’m fine with that if they’re both bears when the regular season starts. It’s fun to watch and cheer on good players on a weekly basis. Still…both situations feel so fluid. Quinn is a veteran who doesn’t necessarily fit into a recovery team’s schedule. I mean, if they were willing to trade Khalil Mack, why wouldn’t they be willing to trade Quinn as well? That teams were snooping on a deal earlier in the offseason suggests he has a market. In other words, if a team blows the Bears off with a trade they can’t refuse, Quinn might eventually get a deal. But from now on we could kick the can until the close of trading.
- As for Roquan, my gut tells me he and the bears will work out a deal. We have to consider the challenge of ironing out a deal when a player is representing himself (as Smith is doing right now). Negotiations can become contentious (through no party’s fault) when players and teams talk about money. Having agents act as a buffer can help smooth things out. But when they aren’t, it can become problematic. For example, I can imagine that it can be difficult for a player to hear directly from their employer that they don’t believe the player is worth what the player thinks they are. Feelings can easily be hurt if one side or the other takes the reaction to this conversation too personally. I’m not saying that’s happening at Smith and the Bears. But you don’t have to squint to see that as a possible catch. So this might be taking longer than we would otherwise like. But the Bears have reportedly prioritized a Roquan renewal this offseason, giving us reason enough to keep hope that it can be completed at some point. Even if it takes longer than we would like.
- While I would rate Smith’s situation as fluid, it’s difficult to see him in a different uniform this year. And yet Hub Arkush’s hypothesis made me stop and think:
- LET ME BE CLEAR: It’s me Not Advocating a Roquan-Smith deal. The Bears’ defense has the potential to be damn good, with Smith playing a sort of Darius Leonard role in the Matt Eberflus/Alan Williams scheme. But a trade offer that includes two first-round picks and a second-round player is the stuff general managers dream of during the rebuild process. And in an NFL universe where players like Davante Adams, Russell Wilson, and Tyreek Hill can be traded, I can’t consider anyone untouchable.
- The wild thing about any speculative hypothesis that reminds people of the Bears-Raiders trade in 2018 is that we view this trade more as a wash. The Bears were able to get what they were looking for in Mack, a game-changing pass rusher that this front office had been looking for (and couldn’t find) for years. As for the Raiders, they didn’t have to pay a hefty overtime for Mack while also landing flawless draft capital. Unfortunately (for the Raiders), Oakland/Vegas didn’t really capitalize on the opportunity – which keeps that side of the deal from claiming to be triumphant. But what if the Raiders took LSU WR Justin Jefferson with the 19th pick instead of CB Damon Arnette? Would that change the way we see things? Could the ability to add multiple Impact Talents change the conversation? Again, I’m not trying to push Smith out the door. But that doesn’t mean this front office wouldn’t consider a deal that would make the team better in the long run.
- Enough of that, let’s move on to the players officially joining the mix. First, a player whose signing to the Bears was only a matter of time:
- I breathed a sigh of relief this morning to see Jaquan Brisker sign his rookie deal. So what, he didn’t show up in time to be with the other newbies? Above all, it is important that he registers in good time as a full participant throughout the training camp. The first practice session tomorrow won’t be open to the public, but Brisker will be there in a way. And that’s better than the alternative of not having your second-round security with you to begin with.
- The quartet of Brisker, Eddie Jackson, Jaylon Johnson and Kyler Gordon could make an impressive foursome in the secondary school. The risk is great, to be sure. Johnson has flashed here and there but has yet to put together a full, well-rounded season. Jackson is looking for a boom year of his own. And although the rookies have tremendous advantages and potential, we have to remember that they are still rookies. There will be some bumps along the way. Just keep that in mind as we plow through the summer and dive into games of consequence.
- And second, a player whose arrival comes as a pleasant surprise:
- Do I wish the Bears had taken care of needs along the offensive line before the end of July? Yes. But am I glad they finally made it? Absolutely. Also, I better understand the process of how we got here (although I don’t love it). The Bears gave their rookies and young players a chance to practice well enough for the front office to say, one way or another, that they needed the help of veterans or that they were ready to ride with their youngsters. By signing Riley Reiff and Michael Schofield on back-to-back days, the Bears let us know how they feel about the state of their line. We might see Braxton Jones and Zachary Thomas anyway. After all, injuries are inevitable. But early on, the bears turned to vets instead of rolling at novices from the start.
- To find out more about the *OTHER* offensive lineman the Bears managed to snap up before camp began, the Sun-Times, Tribune and NBC Sports Chicago have details on the new guy.
- The Browns trolled the Bears about their new helmet color. But all things considered, the Browns should probably keep to themselves for a while.
- Speaking of professional trolls, here’s what it looked like when Aaron Rodgers showed up to Packers camp:
- It’s ANNOYING that a Nic Cage cosplayer “owns” the Chicago Bears. Honestly, I would show this clip-on loop in my defense and say, “Are you going to let THIS GUY boss you around?” in my attempt to rally the troops before week 2.
- One player not showing up at camp this summer is Danny Amendola. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the fidgety receiver is making a career:
- The Bulls pre-season schedule is OFF:
- Last appearance for Willson Contreras at Wrigley?