For the past few seasons, it has been pretty evident that the Chicago Bears have a ceiling in place that they can’t quite find a way through.
Qualifying for the postseason is hard enough from a stacked NFC North, but once there Matt Nagy’s men continue to find the going just that little bit too tough.
They were soundly beaten by the Saints in the Wild Card game in 2020, and while making the playoffs is success in itself there is no reason why the Bears can’t kick on at the business end of the campaign – assuming, that is, that they invest wisely in the offseason.
35 years ago today, the Chicago Bears became Super Bowl Champions 🐻⬇️
Must have been nice
— Barstool Chicago (@barstoolchicago) January 26, 2021
At the time of writing, you can place your wagers for Super Bowl LVI with a online sports site with bet slip functionality, and at those, the Bears are a general 50/1. That indicates the size of the task that Nagy faces in guiding them to the championship game, however, with sensible recruitment those odds could tumble.
So who should Ryan Pace and his recruitment team be targeting this winter?
QB or Not QB?
There were rumors that Matthew Stafford, the Detroit Lions QB, was targeted by Pace and he, naturally, would have bene a considerable improvement on both Mitch Trubisky and Nick Foles.
Stafford completed 64.2% of his passes for an incompetent Lions outfit in 2020, securing 4,084 yards in his best season for a couple of years, and his ball-handling skills are clearly improving too – you have to go back a decade to find the last time he only made two fumbles in the whole of a campaign.
Teams already are reaching out to the Detroit Lions to initiate trade talks and figure out what it would take to acquire QB Matthew Stafford, per sources.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 26, 2021
The upside for the Bears is that Stafford would have been a considerable upgrade at quarterback, however, Pace should know not to put all his eggs in one basket – the 32-year-old is likely to be highly coveted, and so Pace being without a Plan B would be a disaster.
There is a possibility that Mac Jones could be targeted in the draft, but now is the time for the Bears to snap up an experienced, proven campaigner at QB in order to make their postseason dreams a reality.
Are You Receiving Me?
Defensively solid, there is a need to strengthen the offensive unit if the Bears are to kick on in 2021.
Wide receiver is an interesting position for Nagy to ponder, with the undoubted potential of Darnell Mooney offering plenty of hope for the future – but right now? Maybe it’s too soon for the 23-year-old to be the go-to guy.
It’s hard to get the impression that an Allen Robinson or a Javon Wims might be the answer either, so once again smart recruitment will be key.
The stock of Corey Davis has increased after his career-best season for the Titans in 2020, where he touched down five times and gained 984 yards.
A Stafford-Davis combination is a pipedream right now, but if Pace could somehow pair the two together all of a sudden new and exciting options become available on offense.
Two to Tackle
The reality is that the Bears need to reassess their options in the tackle position, with depth a real issue – the jury is out on whether Charles Leno Jr or Bobby Massie are up to the task.
The good news is that further down the draft there could be a good few options available to Pace, and that will be vital if he has to pull the trigger on the Mac Adams signing earlier in the process.
Alex Leatherwood, a big player for Alabama in 2020, will be heading to the Senior Bowl while Notre Dame’s Liam Eichenberg, another hot prospect, may just be held over into the second round of the draft. Spencer Brown, a 6ft 8in man mountain, is another who will strut his stuff on the big stage of Mobile.
There are plenty of options for both right and left tackle in the draft, and adding depth to this department can surely only serve the Bears well – as can adding Stafford and Davis to the ranks too.