2019 Record: 12-4 (1st in NFC North)
Not content to stick with the status quo after winning their first division title since 2010, the Bears have made some significant additions to their talented roster, but they’ve also lost some important contributors in the process. With few selections in next month’s draft, Chicago knows that they needed to make some shrewd moves in free agency to improve their chances of reaching the Super Bowl in Matt Nagy’s second year as head coach. With a young quarterback on a rookie contract in Mitchell Trubisky, the opportunity is right in front of them.
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The Bears’ defensive backfield was one of the league’s absolute best in 2018, leading the NFL with 27 interceptions. They are going through changes, however. Slot cornerback Bryce Callahan left for the Denver Broncos, following former Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio who became the Broncos new head coach.
To replace him, the Bears signed Buster Skrine from the New York Jets. On paper this seems like a major downgrade, with a difference of 24.1 points between the two players according to PFF’s marks.
Elsewhere in the secondary, safety Adrian Amos left for Green Bay and was replaced by former Packer Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix, who finished 2018 with the Washington Redskins.
A former first round draft selection, Clinton-Dix would seem to be an adequate and less expensive replacement for the talented Amos. You have to ask yourself though: what does it say that he is on his third team in less than a year? Should the secondary take a step back, the Lions and the rest of the division will be ready to pounce.
On offense, former Vikings wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson comes to town after winning a Super Bowl with the New England Patriots in February. After jumpstarting his career with the Patriots, Patterson’s versatility and “gadget” skills should be a good fit for Nagy’s unpredictable offense, similar to running back Tarik Cohen. Could this be the stop that defines Patterson’s career?
Running back Mike Davis was added on a reasonable deal after quietly developing into a solid piece with the Seattle Seahawks. Davis is a powerful runner who excels in short yardage situations. He should form a solid tandem with Cohen out of the backfield. His addition could mean that former starting tailback Jordan Howard is on his way out after seeing his role reduced significantly last season.
The Bears won the division with relative ease in 2018, including two convincing wins over the Lions, and they are a certainly a team on the rise. They have few holes on their roster, and have a wide open window in their quest to win the organization’s first championship in over 30 years. Should their roster churning not have the desired effect however, they could learn one of the toughest lessons in the NFL; championship windows can close quickly.
Which new addition to the Detroit Lions’ divisional rivals do you think will have the biggest impact? Let us know in the comments section below.
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