With decision looming this month, new Bears GM mum about Tarik Cohen’s health
Like his predecessor, new Bears general manager Ryan Poles refused to detail the health of Tarik Cohen — or even whether he was currently healthy at all — at the NFL Scouting Combine on Tuesday.
INDIANAPOLIS — Like his predecessor, Bears general manager Ryan Poles refused to detail the health of running back Tarik Cohen — or even whether he was currently healthy at all — at the NFL Scouting Combine on Tuesday. Cohen has missed the team’s last 30 regular-season games since tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee while returning a punt against the Falcons in 2020.
Poles was asked whether he was healthy — and danced around the question. That spoke volumes.
“You know, I don’t really want to get into the medical piece of individual players,” Poles said. “But we’ll just take it a day at a time to figure out where he’s at for us.”
That doesn’t figure to bode well for Cohen’s future with the team. Cohen signed a three-year contract just days before suffering the injury, and $2.5 million of his $3.9 million base salary is guaranteed in the days after the league year begins March 16. The Bears would have a $5.75 million cap hit if they keep him, and there would be $3.5 million in dead-cap charges if they cut him.
So the Bears have a decision to make. The franchise has offered few specifics in the last year and a half when asked about Cohen’s injury, which typically requires a nine-month recovery time. Former coach Matt Nagy refused to say whether Cohen required a second knee surgery.
Poles said making decisions about Cohen’s future by evaluating his health will come down to “communication and conversations” with head trainer Andre Tucker.
“Tucker’s one of the best in the league,” he said. “And we’re just going to have those conversations to see where everything stands and make the best decision we can make at that time.”
Wide receiver Allen Robinson doesn’t figure to receive the franchise tag again this offseason.
He did last year, then put together his worst season with the Bears, catching 38 passes for 410 yards and fighting injury. Tagging Robinson last year cost the Bears $17.9 million for a one-year contract. To tag him again this year could be even more prohibitive, costing $21.5 million.
Asked if it was safe to assume Robinson wouldn’t get tagged — the deadline is Tuesday — Poles wouldn’t tip his hand.
“I’m not there right now,” he said, “so we’re just going to keep working through that.”
Robinson wanted a long-term deal with the Bears the last two seasons but didn’t get one. Poles said that “through our moves and the staff we’ve put together,” the Bears have shown that players can have a clean slate with the new regime.
This and that
Coach Matt Eberflus claims he hasn’t decided on whether Roquan Smith will play middle linebacker or weak-side linebacker in his 4-3 scheme. Either way, the Bears figure to pursue two starting linebackers this offseason to team with Smith.
† The Bears signed inside linebacker Joe Thomas, an eight-year veteran who spent three seasons apiece with the Packers and Cowboys.
Thomas, who spent last season playing for the Ravens and Texans, has started 16 games in his career.