Sun-Times Bears writer Adam L. Jahns answers your questions weekly from Twitter.
Would a pursuit of Le’Veon Bell be worth it in the offseason? — @amorley618
A: I knew this question was coming. Never say never, but the Bears don’t have as much salary-cap space in 2019 as they have been in the past under general manager Ryan Pace. Of course, that can change. All it takes is a few cuts. Bell is special player but he’s looking for a major payday. Right now, I don’t think the Bears will be the team to give it to him. Other positions – pass rusher, safety and offensive line – should be priorities in the offseason. It’ll be interesting to see what happens with Bell. Fair or not, his character will be questioned by teams after he decided to not play this season. If you read the reports from Pittsburgh, his choice to not sign his franchise tag certainly seemed to infuriate his old Steelers teammates. It sounds as if promises in the locker room were broken. The Steelers also are quite happy with James Conner, a third-round pick in 2017 who is further proof that good running backs can be found later in the draft. There also is another dynamic to consider with the Bears. Bell has the same agent, Adisa Bakari, as Jordan Howard. Bakari also represented Matt Forte, who left the Bears after the 2015 season.
Can the Bears win the division without a consistent running attack? — @jsweas10
A: I don’t see why not. One of the most impressive things about quarterback Mitch Trubisky’s success is that he’s played well despite lacking consistent production from Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen. Oddly enough, though, the Bears have the best run game in the division. They’re averaging 120.1 rushing yards per game. The Packers (108.8), Lions (101.1) and Vikings (91.7) are behind them. But Trubisky’s success as a scrambler and on a designed runs obviously improves the Bears’ average. Overall, the Bears do need more consistent production from Howard and Cohen as runners. But it hasn’t prevented the offense, as a whole, from producing.
Where would rank the Bears secondary so far this year? — @tylerthor2
A: Top five? The Bears’ ability to take the ball away — a considerable difference from the last few seasons — starts with them. The Bears lead the NFL with 16 interceptions, and every player in the secondary has at least one. Top reserve Sherrick McManis even made one in Week 3 against the Cardinals. Safety Eddie Jackson (two interceptions, five pass breakups and a 65-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown) and cornerback Kyle Fuller (four interceptions and 11 PBUs) deserve serious consideration for the Pro Bowl.
What’s the next piece that takes these Bears from a good team to Super Bowl contenders? — @SchaeffersPub
A: We’ll see what outside linebacker Leonard Floyd is able to do the rest of the season, but teams always are looking for pass rushers. That includes the Bears. The more, the merrier. Khalil Mack needs help. That could turn out to be Floyd, who is no longer restricted by a cast or brace on his right hand after breaking it in the preseason. But I wouldn’t be surprised if the Bears add to their pass rush in the offseason, whether it’s through free agency or the draft. It’ll also be interesting to see what happens with safety Adrian Amos in the offseason. He’s in the final year of his rookie contract. The Bears preferred to focus on signing defensive tackle Eddie Goldman to an extension before this season. Amos has two interceptions in 49 career starts for the Bears.
Seems like the team has been much healthier this season than in the past years. Have they done something differently than in years past? — @pelonedgar1
A: It starts with the Bears’ staff changes. Andre Tucker replaced Nate Breske as the Bears’ head trainer, while Jason Loscalzo took over for Jason George as their strength and conditioning coach. Coach Matt Nagy’s cautious approach has helped, too. It includes his “infamous” decision to sit his starters in the preseason. But the Bears have battled injuries since training camp. They’re just better built to handle them on the field. When inside linebacker Danny Trevathan was out in camp, Nick Kwiatkoski filled in. Tight end Adam Shaheen was placed on injured reserve but the Bears still had Trey Bruton. Losing right guard Kyle Long also isn’t the same as it was a few years ago. The Bears are a deeper team. For example, they could afford to sit and rest Khalil Mack, their best overall player, and Allen Robinson, their best receiver, against the Jets and Bills.
How will the return of Adam Shaheen change this offense? — @jtrujillo109
A: He’s another threat for an offense that has many of them. The Bears spread the ball around. Receivers Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel, running back Tarik Cohen and tight end Trey Burton all have surpassed 400 receiving yards this season. Rookie receiver Anthony Miller is coming on, too. But at 6-6, 270 pounds, Shaheen is a different threat than all of them. Think: red zone. Coach Matt Nagy undoubtedly has role for him, too. I go back to what I saw in the Bears’ joint practices with the Broncos in the preseason. Shaheen and Burton looked unstoppable together. The Broncos’ starting defense had serious problems with them.
Bears trade a 7th-round pick for Robbie Gould? — @statefarmjake18
A: Yeah, keep dreaming. The Bears guaranteed kicker Cody Parkey $9 million. They’re financially locked into him through next season even if they opt to cut him. But I will say this: the odds of a possible reunion with Gould improved with the firings of former coach John Fox and special-teams coordinator Jeff Rodgers.