Chicago sports social media was sent into a frenzy Saturday afternoon in regards to a report that had the Chicago Bears and Miami Dolphins swapping not only first rounds picks, but also wide receiver Jarvis Landry and running back Jordan Howard.
NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport later tweeted that Jordan Howard’s name never came up in any deal. Whether or not the Howard rumor was true or not, the latest rumor significantly hurts the Bears from a leverage standpoint for both free agency and the draft.
Even before Saturday, the Bears have been strongly linked to Landry to help upgrade their wide receiving core and provide second-year quarterback Mitchell Trubisky a proven passing threat. Several media outlets had Landry as the Bears primary target for free agency this off-season before the Dolphins used their franchise tag on him. Furthermore, even with the tag, the Dolphins have encouraged Landry and his agent to find a trade partner for the team and the Bears have been one of the teams showing the most interest.
General manager Ryan Pace has not done the best job in hiding the Bears interest for Landry, as the Dolphins now can possibly take advantage of the Bears over eagerness to trade for the wide receiver.
It allows the Dolphins to push in a return for their wide receiver knowing that Bears management may just meet their costly demands. It was just last year when many analysts believed the Bears gave up way to much to move up one draft slot to select Trubisky. Pace had been accused of trying to outbid himself as there were no substantial offers or rumors by other teams to trade with the 49ers for the second pick in the draft.
If the Bears do end up acquiring Landry, there is still the issue of signing him to a contract extension because they then run the risk of meeting his demands or else losing him and what they gave up for him after just one season. Landry’s camp would set any request for a long-term deal knowing they could capitalize on the Bears overt aggression in acquiring him and that if they didn’t meet their request they could walk at the end of the season.
The Howard rumor also hurts the Bears positioning and leveraging for the NFL Draft in April.
Teams looking to trade up now may not offer as much as they did before knowing that the Bears are already open to the idea of trading out of the eighth spot in the draft. Other than the Dolphins, the Buffalo Bills have been rumored of wanting to trade up into the top 10 in order to draft a quarterback. To where the Bears could have pitted to divisional rivals against one another in a possible trade war for their eighth pick, both teams can set their own market knowing that the Bears are already willing to part with the pick.
Free agency is another aspect that has been affected by the rumor as the Bears have now failed to hide their strong desires to upgrade the wide receiver position at any costs, including the idea of trading their Pro-Bowl running back. With Landry off the market, receivers like Sammy Watkins and Allen Robinson now can request higher offers from the Bears knowing that the team will not want to be left empty handed when it comes to free agency.
Opposing teams can benefit as they could scare the Bears into signing a player for more than what he worth, just to possibly cost them another player in free agency. Even more, if the Bears missed out on the any of the big name free agents, teams could set trade value knowing that Pace and his team are desperate for any move they can say is an upgrade.
When it comes to the NFL off-season, it is ok for teams to show interest in certain players or draft slots, but it is important to always hide the needs and wants for the team. Pace and the Bears have failed to do that so far this off-season as they have made it clear that they want to upgrade the wide receiver position going forward. If other teams and free agency know what you want to do, they are much more likely to take advantage of your strong desires of improve.
Going forward, it may be important for the team to move on from wanting to trade for Landry as their inability for them to mask their interest in him may have cost them enough already.