The Chicago Bears secured their first NFC North crown in eight years during the 2018 season but fell to the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Wild Card round. Cody Parkey had the opportunity to send the Bears through to the NFC Divisional Round, but he missed a 43-yard field goal to allow the Eagles to advance at the expense of Matt Nagy’s team.
The loss to the Eagles had many fans wondering what could have been, as the Los Angeles Rams won the NFC Championship by defeating the New Orleans Saints in a controversial contest at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Chicago will have seen their narrow defeat as a missed chance to advance to the Super Bowl.
Nagy’s team defeated the Rams in their regular season contest, producing a similar performance to that of the New England Patriots in their win in Super Bowl LIII over Los Angeles.
The result proved that the Rams are not the unstoppable offense that pundits had seemingly crowned the team and head coach Sean McVay. It provides the formula for the Bears to replace Los Angeles in Super Bowl LIV next season at Hard Rock Stadium and win the Vince Lombardi Trophy for the first time since the 1985 campaign, being backed at +1400 in the bet365 NFL odds to win the crown. However, there is work to be done before the Bears can mount a challenge, with little wiggle room on their cap to retain key players.
According to online sources Spotrac and OverTheCap,, the Bears are operating between $14M-$16M in cap room heading into free agency.
Although cap space can be manipulated, many of the contracts Chicago’s roster do not have flexibility outside of offensive lineman Kyle Long.
Long has struggled with injuries for the past three seasons, missing 22 out of a possible 48 games. Therefore the Bears would be keen to lower his expected cap charge of $6.5m, while further cuts could be in line for tight end Dion Sims and linebacker Sam Acho.
Those moves would potentially give the Bears room to sign defensive backs Bryce Callahan and Adrian Amos. Chicago boasted the best defense in the NFL last season and retaining all of their starters would be a huge bonus amid the loss of defensive coordinator Vic Fangio to the Denver Broncos. The Bears gave up two first-round picks to acquire Khalil Mack, while the club also used their second-round pick from 2019 to move up last year to draft Anthony Miller. As a result, there’s not a lot of capital to add talent to the roster, therefore retaining players will be more important than new signings.
The offense could do with an addition of talent in the receiving corps. Allen Robinson wasn’t as consistent as the Bears would hope but he could be in for a bounce-back year in 2019. Miller could take the next step forward in his development to aid Mitchell Trubisky. Keeping Trey Burton healthy might be the key factor for the Bears’ hopes. When healthy, he was a dynamic playmaker in Nagy’s offense, enjoying the best season of his career. He missed the defeat to the Eagles and his absence was sorely felt, despite a good performance from Robinson.
There’s not the cash there to acquire a player of Golden Tate’s quality or even Randall Cobb in free agency. Chicago has to go with what they have on offense or strike it lucky in the later rounds of the NFL Draft.