This off-season has shaped up to be a disappointing one for Bears fans. First, there is no Russell Wilson trade which reportedly included Akiem Hicks, Kyle Fuller (more on them later), three first-round picks, and a third-round pick. Next, Pace signs another QB (Andy Dalton) who will not turn the Bears into Super Bowl contenders and commits to him as the starter. Oh, Dalton could make around $13 million this season. By releasing Kyle Fuller, the Bears saved $11 million against the cap. Coincidence? Probably not. When Bears fans were already on the ground in pain, not an hour later, news break that DE Akiem Hicks has received permission to seek trade options. Pain.
Bears Release Fuller
The 29-year old Fuller was drafted back in 2014 by the Bears and has spent his entire career with Chicago. He had ups and downs but put it together with the help of now Denver Broncos Head Coach Vic Fangio. A reunion could be imminent between the two. Another suitor is the division-rival Green Bay Packers who already have ex-Bear Adrian Amos. Back in 2018, the Packers signed Fuller to a four-year offer sheet worth $56 million. Chicago was smart to match it. That same year, Fuller had a breakthrough season, leading the NFL with seven picks and 21 passes defended. Fuller is a two-time Pro Bowler and one-time All-Pro.
There is now a big hole in the Bears secondary. CB Jaylon Johnson will be the top corner for Chicago and the youngster will have a lot of tough challenges ahead of him without the guidance of Fuller. Like Trubisky, I hope he finds a good fit for him (Denver). There is a small chance the Bears might be able to trade Fuller and get something for him. However, that’s wishful thinking with his current contract.
Thank You, Kyle
Akiem Hicks Could Be Next To Go
The could is also wishful thinking. With the way this off-season is going, Hicks could be done as a Chicago Bear. What a blessing it was to see him in a Bear uniform lining up with Khalil Mack. Hicks is entering the final year of his contract and the 31-year old is slated to make $10.5 million this season. Similar to Fuller, Hicks was a Pro Bowler in 2018. The Bears are expected to have Eddie Goldman back with Bilal Nichols, a re-signed Mario Edwards, and newly-signed Angelo Blackson as replacements if Hicks moves on.
There’s nothing imminent yet on the Hicks front, but the it’s looking bleak. Losing Fuller is tough as is, but losing Hicks and Fuller would decimate this once tenacious Bears defense. Money has been spent in the wrong places and on the wrong players. With a reduced cap, we are seeing the worse of what a team must do to maintain their finances.
Bears Sign Angelo Blackson and Re-Sign Deon Bush
Blackson, 28, spent last season with the Cardinals, tallying 2.5 sacks and 24 tackles in a rotational role. After a productive season with the Cardinals, Blackson signed a two-year deal worth $5.5 million with Chicago. Blackson will be playing the same role for a Bears line that lost Roy Robertson-Harris and Brent Urban to free agency. And now, potentially Akiem Hicks. Over the course of his career, Blackson has spent time with the Titans, Texans, and Cardinals.
Maybe this is the year that Deon Bush will start alongside Eddie Jackson. The Bears re-signed the safety to a one-year deal. The money amount hasn’t been announced, but I’m sure it’s nothing too crazy for a depth/special teamer. Bush has been with the Bears his entire career since getting drafted back in 2016. There is probably a good chance another safety will be added to the roster, but for now, Bush will be competing for the job.
Robinson Signs the Tag, Miller on Trade Block
Believe it or not, there was actually good news for the Bears yesterday. Star WR Allen Robinson signed the franchise tag. Robinson will make $18 million this season. This comes after reports of the Bears showing interest in free-agent Kenny Gollday. Now, there is interest for Golladay to play with the Bears as he is from the area. I don’t see the Bears having enough cap space for him with other needs evident. However, I wouldn’t rule out the possibility. Imagine a WR core of Robinson, Golladay, and Mooney. Key word, imagine.
Like many other Bears, it looks like WR Anthony Miller’s days as a Chicago Bear are numbered. The talented WR is reportedly having his trade value assessed after a down 2020 season and his actions in the Wild Card game. Miller still has tons to offer and was a 2nd round pick in 2018. He’s in the final year of his rookie contract. In his three seasons with the Bears, Miller has 134 catches for 1,564 yards and 11 TDs. This would be another Bear that would be tough to say goodbye too.
My Thoughts So Far on the Bears Off-Season
Painful. Depressing. Disappointing. And more pain.