The Sun-Times’ Patrick Finley breaks down the Bears’ showing during the first wave of free agency:
Grade the Bears’ offseason so far:
Incomplete. General manager Ryan Pace bet big on four players who will be at least 30 by Week 1. Now let’s see how well in does in the second wave of free agency. He needs an offensive lineman or two; a starting safety and cornerback; and a speedy receiver. At least.
Who is the starting quarterback for the opener?
Can it be really be Nick Foles? Since 2015, he’s begun the year as the presumed season-long starter only twice. He went 4-7 for the last St. Louis Rams team in 2015. He was winless in four games for the Jaguars last year, breaking his collarbone in the opener. He’s averaged six starts per season in his career. No matter how much the Bears are paying Foles, that’s not the resume of someone you expect to start Weeks 1 through 17.
Which quarterback would’ve excited you?
I liked Marcus Mariota — another former No. 2 overall pick, a notoriously supportive teammate who boasts Trubisky-like athleticism — far more than the Bears did. The Raiders gobbled him up quickly to be Derek Carr’s backup.
Are the Bears better or worse than they were in January?
Better, because they recognized their flaws. After in-season inaction about their scheme failures and quarterback mistakes, the Bears took steps to fix both. They overhauled their offensive coaching staff — adding coordinator Bill Lazor, quarterbacks John DeFilippo and de facto run-game coordinator Juan Castilo — and added a veteran quarterback who’s worked with all three.
Their best move was ….
Swapping Leonard Floyd for Robert Quinn. Investing $13.2 million for one year of an outside linebacker who averages less than five sacks a year would have been lunacy. Quinn is a pass-rush stud, but the Bears should find someone to insert on obvious rushing downs.
The Bears will regret ….
Paying Jimmy Graham a higher 2020 average salary than all but five NFL tight ends. Graham will make $8 million next year — as will Trey Burton, the reason the Bears felt obligated to overpay Graham in the first place.
What’s their biggest need?
Figuring out a way to run the ball. That probably requires a new starting right guard, be he a free agent or draftee. More than anything, though, it will take play-caller Matt Nagy seeing the light.
Do you trust Pace and Nagy to turn this around?
I trust the dominant defense more than anything else.