Could Chicago Have Kept the Bears? The Mayor’s Abrasiveness Has Not Helped. And Other Points of View.

  • Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot unveils plans to put a dome on top of Soldier Field in an effort to keep the Bears from moving to the suburbs.

    ‘The mayor said the cost of the project and the option would depend on who the stadium’s “anchor tenant” but suggested the city might be willing to move forward with a dome for another team, noting there are other cities that host more than one NFL team.’

    ‘Asked if the Bears would entertain her plans, Lightfoot said the team would be “foolish” not to consider staying in Chicago at Soldier Field. She and other speakers contended it would be cheaper for the team to stay at Soldier Field than to build a venue elsewhere and stressed the importance for the team to offer and for fans to have an experience that extends beyond the game itself.’

    ‘Lightfoot’s initial response to the NFL team’s interest in building a stadium in Arlington Heights was to call it “noise” and urge the Bears to focus on “being relevant past October.” Since then, Lightfoot has floated the possibility of building a costly dome over Soldier Field and appointed a task force to examine the Museum Campus that’s home to the stadium.’

    From the very first the mayor showed that she didn’t really understand how the NFL works and exactly what kind of danger she was in of losing the team. Her comment above about the possibility of the NFL allowing a second team into Chicago continues to illustrate how naïve she is about how the NFL operates. There is no way the NFL will put another team in Chicago to compete with a loyal, league-friendly Bears organization. They allowed two teams into Los Angeles but that was a unique situation where there were no teams in the city to begin with. This is an entirely different kettle of fish.

    Ultimately the Bears are going to make this move because they need to own their own stadium and they need the revenue that comes from that. Having said that, the mayor’s confrontational style, as illustrated by the statements above also almost certainly helped harden the Bears stance as the they tried to negotiate improvements to Soldier Field over the few years before finally giving up and signing a purchase agreement for a great deal of land in Arlington Heights.

    Its possible that the state could block the move. All you need to do is look at the barriers which were put in front of Rams owner Stan Kroenke as he built SoFi stadium in Ingelwood, CA. But Koenke eventually got the deal done and I’m guessing that the Bears will, too.

    Given the advantages that owning their own stadium and all of that land around it brings, it is hard to say if the mayor could have done anything to stop the Bears from leaving. But the whole situation is emblematic of a large issue where the person running the city government thinks she can run it through abrasive confrontation and intimidation.

  • Kevin Fishbain at The Athletic has thoughts about every player reporting to Bears training camp.
  • Nathan Peterman: The outcry over the Peterman signing was wild — someone has to be the third-string QB for practice and the preseason, and with the focus on Justin Fields’ development, it wasn’t going to be a rookie.’

    This irritates me. Why couldn’t it be a rookie?

    I understand that they have to concentrate on developing Fields. And I understand that there are only so many reps to go around. But if you aren’t developing your next quarterback with that third or fourth spot on the roster, you are doing your due diligence.

    There have to be ways to create opportunities to develop young quarterbacks on the roster where you are continuing to concentrate on getting the starter ready to go. It takes creativity, I’m sure. But if you need more coaches, you hire them. If you need to put them on a separate field with back up wide receivers you do it. If you have to work them out before or after practice, do it. Even if you have to create a fourth spot and put that quarterback on the practice squad, in my view, you always need to be developing somebody other than the starter.

  • The Bears have signed guard Michael Scofield according to the Dan Wiederer at the Chicago Tribune.

    Many wonder if Schofield will become a Bears new right guard. And that certainly is a good possibility as undersized Sam Mustipher has been the default option in the position since off-season workouts began.

    Although Schofield certainly is a viable option along with multiple late round draft picks at the Bears made, it’s possible Schofield is seen as a replacement for Dakota Dozier who is currently on IR and he was reportedly was nothing but a veteran backup during the off-season.

    We will find out quickly as training camp starts where is Schofield fits in on the field.

  • Mark Potash at the Chicago Sun Times addresses the issue of health for the 2022 Bears.

    6b. You can’t discount the importance of luck and timing in the success of any NFL general manager or coach. [Former GM Ryan] Pace’s tenure got off to a bad start in 2015 when his first-round pick, wide receiver Kevin White, started his first training camp on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list with a shin injury he suffered in OTAs and ended up missing the entire season.

    Every year, it seemed, the Bears would open camp missing a key player: Pernell McPhee (PUP) in 2016 and 2017; Roquan Smith’s holdout in 2018; Eddie Goldman’s opt-out in 2020; and Tarik Cohen (PUP) and second-round draft pick Teven Jenkins (back surgery/injured reserve) last season.

    Team health is a very underrated factor when it comes to determining whether a team is going to have a winning season or not. But injuries happen all over the NFL every week. The key isn’t simply to avoid injuries. It’s to overcome them in the same way that good sports teams overcoming adversity in all aspects of the game.

    Neither the Bears nor any NFL team can afford to use injuries as an excuse to lose. None of the injuries above were so bad that it could be said that they were a very significant reason for the reason why any of those teams failed to achieve.

    The Bears could be exceptionally healthy this year. I don’t know of any significant injuries that were reported during the off-season. And that’s a good thing. But no matter how their injury rock luck runs, it shouldn’t affect expectations to a great degree. It is always attitude and fortitude that ultimately win in the NFL adn good teams dont’ let injuries stop them.

  • Potash also addresses is the Robert Quinn situation.

    Unless the Bears become a surprise playoff contender in 2022 — stranger things have happened in the NFL — the Bears are better without Quinn than with him. They’re clearly in rebuild mode after Ryan Poles cleared the roster of the most veteran players he inherited from Ryan Pace. And Quinn would take away snaps from developing players — perhaps intriguing rookie Dominique Robinson. And he might help them win games that drop them in the draft order.

    I’m going to mildly disagree here. The top priority for 2022 is not to earn a top 10 pick in the draft. The top priority is to develop the young players on the roster. And you’re not training them to learn how to lose.

    The Bears don’t have to go to 17-0 and that’s not what the goal is here. But you definitely are not going to make much progress training players whule getting your brians beat in and going 0-17. The Bears definitely want to win some games this year. And without Quinn they will win very, very few. They need a pass rush. Assuming that the Bears get the 2021 version and not the 2020 version, Quinn brings that.

Brisker’s Hold Out Would Hurt Everyone, Including His Agents. And Other Points of View.

  • Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune addresses Jaquuan Brisker‘s potential hold out from training camp.
  • In the big picture for both the safety and the organization, the contract squabble figures to be a minor speed bump. But four years ago, first-round pick Roquan Smith’s camp holdout wasn’t figured to be a major deal in mid-to-late July. The linebacker, though, went on to miss more than four weeks of camp and 15 practices as a rookie, which slowed his emergence.

    It’s worth noting that Smith has since fired the agents that advised him to hold out four years ago. He still hasn’t hired an agent despite the fact that he’s due to negotiate a contract extension with the team. The guess here is that he was burned so badly by the experience that he’s having trouble finding someone that he trusts to represent him.

    We don’t know what the specifics of the situation is here. Biggs suggests that it’s the amount of guaranteed money. This shouldn’t really be a big problem. Brisker is slotted in between players that have already signed contracts and it shouldn’t be hard to figure out where the middle ground is.

    Brisker is potentially setting himself up to end in the same situation that Smith was in. It’s one where everyone involved, including his representatives, could be hurt in the end over something small that probably didn’t matter long-term.

  • Biggs also addresses is the reasons why the national media are so down on the Bears.

    The Bears won only six games in 2021 while ranking 27th in points per game. Offensive woes are nothing new for the team. The front office and coaching staff were overhauled, but new GM Ryan Poles inherited an old roster with salary-cap issues and no first-round draft pick. He also traded the team’s marquee star in pass rusher Khalil Mack. Without any splashy additions in free agency and no top pick to create national buzz, it’s no wonder observers from afar are skeptical. The only thing the Bears have not done is publicly declare they are in the beginning stages of a rebuild with a clear focus on resetting the cap situation and getting younger. With fair questions about the cast around Justin Fields, both on the line and at wide receiver, many doubt the Bears are in position to compete in 2022. What should be factored into the equation is the schedule appears easier than it was a year ago and new coach Matt Eberflus should get maximum effort from players looking to prove themselves as options for the future. Locker rooms often rally around the idea their team is the underdog and isn’t afforded ample respect. Maybe the Bears can tap into that at points during the season. Training camp gives them the opportunity to work toward proving the national sentiment wrong.

    It’s hard to figure out how people think of the Bears nationally. Whenever I try to figure out what the reality of the situation is in this respect, I usually look at the odds in Las Vegas. But even the odds tell a confusing story.

    On the one hand in terms of the spread for individual games, the Bears are not favored in a single one all season. If you go by that the prediction is 0-17. On the other hand the over under for Bears wins this season is 6.5. That sounds about right to me.

    Consider that the Bears actually only won six games last year with a roster that I think anyone would consider to be more talented than the current one with players like Allen Robinson and Khalil Mack still on the team. I think that there are many reasons for this and Biggs mentions a few of them. First the schedule is definitively easier. Second you can expect the Bears to get a bit of a bump from having a first year head coach. Eberflus has no history with most of the players on this roster and the players are bound to be quite a bit less comfortable. They will all concentrate just a little bit more and play a little bit harder, especially at the beginning of the year.

    However, if you ask me, a good part of this has to do with the fact that Matt Nagy just wasn’t a very good head coach last year. Over and over again he asked other people, including the players, to provide him with solutions for the teams problems rather than providing those solutions himself. It was an attitude that proves he was open to doing anything to get better but also proves that he was in over his head not prepared to lead the team.

    I think the reason the Bears are favored to win the same number of games as they were last year is because at least the people in Las Vegas consider Eberflus to be an upgrade at head coach. The situation says volumes about how bad things actually were last year.

  • Josh Alper at passes on the information that former Bear Eddie Goldman, who recently signed with the Falcons, has retired rather than face another training camp.
  • I got the distinct impression after the Covid pandemic that Goldman had really lost his desire to play. He didn’t seem to have the same desire on the field as he had previously and it showed in his performance.

    If he doesn’t want to play anymore, more power to him. But he had a lot of talent and he will be missed. He did good things and he could’ve eventually done better.

  • Arizona quarterback Kyler Murray signed a five-year contract extension worth $230 million with $105 million fully guaranteed. Via Albert Breer at
  • People talk about teams without a QB as being in quarterback hell. But I think the Cardinals were also in a different kind of quarterback hell. If they didn’t pay Murray, where does their next quarterback come from? They don’t have much of a chance to win a Super Bowl with him but I don’t think they really had much of a choice. Without him they have no chance.

    You can do it with an Alex Smith. But almost everything has to go exactly right. It’s problematic. I’d almost rather go with someone who is not as talented as Murray but who cost much, much, much less. At least you can invest in all of the other positions around him. This might be the worst of all possible spots to be in.

    Maybe the Titans with Ryan Tannehill is the ideal spot to be in if you don’t have a superstar quarterback. They certainly did a great job of maximizing what he brings.