Adam L. Jahns: Analyzing the Bears’ flurry of free-agent agreements
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The Bears made a big splash on the second day of “legal tampering” in NFL free agency Tuesday, agreeing to terms with wide receiver Allen Robinson, tight end Trey Burton, speedster Taylor Gabriel, cornerback Prince Amukamara and placekicker Cody Parkey. You can check out full updates on the past two days here.
Would you rather have had Sammy Watkins or Allen Robinson?
The Bears got it right with Robinson. He might be returning from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, but Watkins has red flags, too. Why didn’t the Rams – a team with Super Bowl aspirations and one that the Bears are often compared to – push to re-sign him? What does it say about Watkins that he will be on his third team in five NFL seasons? What about is lengthy injury history full of various ailments?
Did the Bears solve their passing-game problems?
Reaching deals with Robinson, speedster Taylor Gabriel and tight end Trey Burton help, but the passing game will be “solved” through quarterback Mitch Trubisky’s development under new coach Matt Nagy. Their arrivals help Trubisky, but also magnify his mistakes. He will be learning a new offense this year.
An underrated need is …
Inside linebacker. Danny Trevathan, a free-agent addition in 2016, hasn’t played a full season in two years for the Bears. Nick Kwiatkoski also has dealt with injuries since being drafted in the fourth round in 2016.
The Bears can’t fix this in free agency …
The outside pass rush. The pickings are just too slim in free agency, and the same goes for the draft. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio might have to be more creative this season with his blitzes and pressures.
The Bears should be excited about …
The appeal of Nagy and his offense. His connection with slot receiver Albert Wilson didn’t result in a deal, but Robinson told ESPN reporter Josina Anderson that Nagy’s work last year with the Chiefs influenced his decision to join the Bears.
Did Ryan Pace get his big signings right?
Pace still is making up for his and ex-GM Phil Emery’s past mistakes. But aggressively targeting young help for Trubisky accelerates Pace’s rebuilding plan. Pace now has Trubisky and three handpicked draft classes to build around – a significant difference than when he first took over the Bears.