Category Archives: News

Bears’ Jaylon Johnson Clarifies Stance on Contract Extension Amid Absence

This is undoubtedly a big season for the Chicago Bears and a player like cornerback Jaylon Johnson. But he’s not letting a potentially volatile situation weigh on him.

Johnson, 24, is heading into the final year of his rookie contract.

“It used to be a lot of pressure,” Johnson admitted on ESPN’s Keyshawn, J Will, & Max on June 1. “Going into my third year, I felt like that was a year for me to put myself out there to be able to have a new contract, to be able to re-up. I think for me, it’s just about going out and being who I am. And, for me I know I can be a dominant corner – I am a dominant corner in this league.”

Jaylon Johnson Feeling ‘No Pressure’ Ahead of Contract Season

As a former second-round pick (No. 50 overall, 2020), there is no fifth-year option to pick up. Johnson and the Bears will have to agree on a new deal before the end of the year. Otherwise, they risk the fourth-year man out of Utah walking for nothing in free agency.

Johnson missed the final three weeks of the 2022 season with a broken ring finger. But he recently declared himself “100% back” in an interview with ABC 30 sports anchor Alec Nolan on May 21.

Bears’ Jaylon Johnson Makes Bold Declaration Ahead of Critical Season: ‘100%’

Johnson has been absent from OTAs to this point.

But he attributed it to his many charitable endeavors including Kevvy’s Vision Project.

“Just finding ways to continue to do my job at a higher rate, continue to be a better teammate, continue to find ways to win,” Johnson told the KJM crew. “At the end of the day, that’s all I want to do.”

Jaylon Johnson Backs Up David Montgomery’s Comments

Former Bears running back David Montgomery – who signed with the NFC North rival Detroit Lions this offseason – caught some flack over comments he made regarding his time in Chicago, saying all of the losing the team did in his four years sucked the fun out of playing football.

Johnson, who played with Montgomery for three of those seasons confirmed the circumstances at the very least if not the underlying sentiment that players want to be competitive.

“I haven’t had a winning season since I’ve been a Chicago Bear yet,” Johnson said on KJM. “I want to come in and be a dominant guy in the league, I want to dominate on this defense, and I want to come in and change that narrative.

“With winning come’s paychecks. And, I think at the end of the day, I need to focus on winning and that’s what I’m worried about going into Year 4.”

The Bears will need more than just Johnson to get out of the shadows of the 3-14 season they had in 2022.

Their aggressive offseason moves should go a long way to helping them achieve that, though.

“We heading in an upward projection, for sure,” said Johnson. “I feel like there’s nothing that I think we don’t have right now…We just got to come in and keep proving ourselves. Coming and keep finding ways to try and win games.”

Johnson noted the Bears’ additions on both lines, at wide receiver with D.J. Moore and rookie Tyler Scott, and even noted the added depth of rookie Tyrique Stevenson.

“We’re building from the ground up,” he said. “We have a good foundation with our offense.”

Justin Fields is ‘Progressing Really Well’

All of the feel-good statements coming out of OTAs about the Bears won’t mean anything if third-year quarterback Justin Fields is unable to take the necessary steps as a passer this season. He has had coaches say good things about him but Johnson spoke to it from a teammate’s perspective.

“I think he’s progressing really well,” Johnson said. “I expect for him to shine.”

Johnson credited Fields’ intangibles like toughness and leadership and noted that being in Year 2 in the Bears’ offense under offensive coordinator Luke Getsy will pay dividends.

“It’s one thing to have a coach come in your rookie year, you have to learn a new system. And for him to be fired and you have to go into a new system. It’s like you never really have a chance to get comfortable.

“I think he’s extremely comfortable now, and extremely confident [and] I think he can be very dangerous. And you’ll see a lot of that dominant quarterback play that you saw at Ohio State.”

Matt Eberflus Sends Strong Message on Bears’ Roster

The Chicago Bears are not satisfied with the current roster, at least not enough to keep their eyes from wandering.

“We’re interested in a lot of free agents,” said head coach Matt Eberflus on May 31 via the Bears’ YouTube channel when asked directly about adding a pass rusher to the roster. “We’re interested in a lot of guys, at all positions right now. So we’re just excited about being able to look at those guys, and potentially add as we go through camp and getting closer to the season.”

Bears ‘Interested in a Lot’ of FAs, HC Matt Eberflus Says

Bears Roster Still in Flux

With OTAs underway in Chicago, Eberflus and the staff have only gotten a cursory look at the players in attendance. And, while there are some players – like cornerback Jaylon Johnson – who have not been present, the Bears have known what they need for some time.

And they never really stopped trying to fix the issue.

“I think of my group, and we’ve proven that we’re always investigating options via trade, signing someone that’s still available post-free agency, general manager Ryan Poles said on ESPN 1000 on May 12. “We don’t really stop looking for talent. And so right now, I would just say we’re active, looking around, and maybe something will happen here soon.”

The Bears made 10 selections in the 2023 NFL Draft and came away without an EDGE rusher despite generating a league-low 20 sacks last season.

Improved coverage on the backend and pressure up the middle should help. Chicago also added a pair of tweeners – Rasheem Green and DeMarcus Walker – in free agency. The latter of whom recorded 7.0 sacks last season. But teams will test them on the edges if they don’t address what seems to be a void.

At or near the top of many wishlists for (but, perhaps, not from) the Bears is Yannick Ngakoue. There is also re-tread Leonard Floyd who won a Super Bowl with the Los Angeles Rams after being cut by the previous regime – which drafted him – after the 2020 season.

Trade options include New York Jets pass rusher Carl Lawson as well as Chase Young of the Washington Commanders.

Bears Coach Sheds Light on Jaylon Johnson’s Absence

“We know he’ll be here probably for mandatory minicamp,” Eberflus said of Johnson – one of three projected starters not attending OTAs along with Cody Whitehair and Nate Davis along the offensive line. “Hopefully, next week, potentially. So we’ll see.”

Johnson, 24, is the only one who is going into the final year of his contract.

He is recovering from a broken ring finger. The injury cost him the final three weeks of the regular season but has already declared himself good to go.

“100%, fully back,” Johnson told ABC 30 sports anchor Alec Nolan. “I’m ready to go.”

If it’s not health-related, then finances would seem to be a likely driving factor behind Johnson’s absence from OTAs. At the same time, OTAs are completely voluntary. And Johnson could just be looking to save some wear and tear on his body going into such a critical season for him and the Bears.

Bears’ Justin Fields Sounds Off on Embattled Playmaker: ‘He’s Taken Another Step’

On the first day of OTAs, Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields had plenty to say about his weapons this season.

Justin Fields Name Drops Chase Claypool, Darnell Mooney

When asked what was the next step for him in the offense from a technical aspect, Fields mentioned working in 2022 trade deadline acquisition Chase Claypool in more this season.

“Chase is improved tremendously just from the end of last year to now,” Fields said via the team’s Twitter feed on May 23. “That’s one thing I’m truly proud to say. Just seeing his work ethic, his attitude changed. You can just see he’s taken another step. So definitely excited for that.”

That has to be music to fans’ and general manager Ryan Poles’ ears.

The pick used to acquire the fourth-year man from the Pittsburgh Steelers turned into the No. 32 overall pick.

It is a steep price to pay for the 140 yards on 14 grabs Claypool — who Fields had to calm on the sidelines at one point last season — produced after he arrived last season.

The receiving core was still shorthanded with fourth-year man Darnell Mooney still recovering from surgery to repair a broken fibula. Mooney said on “The 33rd Team” podcast on May 18 that he recently began cutting and expects to be good to go for the season.

He is just one year removed from posting his first 1000-yard season.

“We don’t even have Mooney right now in practice,” Fields noted. “So once we get him back it’s going to be awesome. So very excited, for sure

Justin Fields: D.J. Moore a ‘Great’ WR

Fields was asked about wide receiver D.J. Moore whom the Bears acquired from the Panthers as part of their trade out of the No. 1 overall pick. Moore is the draft pick to suit up for the Bears since Kevin White (No. 7 overall in the 2015 NFL Draft) in 2018 when he tallied eight receptions in nine games after a series of injuries stunted his development.

The No. 24 overall pick in 2018, Moore has three 1000-yard campaigns under his belt and has never been more than 250 yards away from passing that mark in any season so far.

That level of consistency is already apparent to Fields.

“Strength, speed, body control, great hands,” Fields said when asked what stands out about Moore. “I think he knows how to use his body to get open. I think that’s a big part of [being a receiver]. And he knows how to tip a route.”

“He’s rarely going to be running 100% on all his routes. He has that second gear to go get the ball. So I think that’s what makes him a great receiver.

Fields also noted Moore’s abilities to understand coverages and read the defense as strengths.

Justin Fields Sets Record Straight

Fields insisted that “every year was a big year” but the former No. 11 overall pick will be extension eligible after this season and, with a slew of new pieces around him, a big season could mean a big payday.

“I’m not worried about contracts,” Fields said when asked about his contract status. “I’m worried about wins.”

It helps, Fields noted, that he will have another season in offensive coordinator Luke Getsy’s system.

“I think the growth from…where he was at this time last year to where he is now – I think it just is light years ahead of where it was,” Getsy said on May 6 via the team’s YouTube channel.

Bears Coaches Deliver Encouraging Message About Justin Fields

In the months and weeks leading up to the 2023 NFL Draft, questions floated around pondering if the Bears would take a quarterback with the No. 1 overall pick and trade Fields.

The current regime did not draft him and surely don’t anticipate being in that position again.

They ultimately dropped back nine spots to take Darnell Wright with the No. 10 overall pick. They have set themselves up to add to this team if things click for Fields this season and, potentially, do something about it if they don’t, though they are said to be sold on the 24-year-old fourth-year passer.

Asked if he ever felt the team might actually go in a different direction, Fields answered matter-of-factly.

But Poles isn’t counting on Fields to take that step alone. Having Moore, Wright, and all of the other additions — including fixing a leaky defense — bode well for Fields and the Bears.

Bears’ Jaylon Johnson Makes Bold Declaration Ahead of Critical Season: ‘100%’

Fourth-year Chicago Bears cornerback Jaylon Johnson is heading into the final year of his contract after missing the final three weeks of last season with a broken ring finger.

He also missed three games earlier in the season with a quad injury.

Jaylon Johnson Updates Status of Broken Finger

“100%, fully back,” Johnson told ABC 30 sports anchor Alec Nolan in a feature highlighting the charity the Bears corner started in honor of his late best friend, Kevvion Schrubb, who was shot and killed nearly two years ago. “I’m ready to go.”

Johnson finished the campaign without an interception but deflected seven passes, forced one fumble, and recovered one as well. Johnson also held his assignments below a 60% catch rate in his coverage for the third straight season.

He was the only Bear out of 41 defenders to see at least 50 targets and hold opposing quarterbacks below a 60% completion rate while also starting at least 10 games last season.

The former second-round pick (No. 50 overall) had the second-highest Pro Football Focus grade among the Bears’ secondary.

Only safety Eddie Jackson – who missed the final five weeks of the season after suffering a Lisfranc injury against the New York Jets in Week 12 – was better. Jackson also appears to be on track to return and is still one of the top playmakers when healthy.

Jackson recorded four interceptions last season, his most since his All-Pro 2018 season and the second-highest total of his career. The 29-year-old former fourth-round pick (No. 112 overall in 2017) also deflected six passes and forced two fumbles.

They make up 2/5 (considering most teams play a lot of nickel) of a re-tooled secondary that adds rookie Tyrique Stevenson to second-year defensive backs, Jaquan Brisker and Kyler Gordon.

The Bears hope to be much improved over last season when they ranked 32nd in net yards per attempt last season.

Jaylon Johnson: Raiders’ Davante Adams the ‘Toughest Cover’

While he doesn’t have to face him twice a year anymore, Johnson still calls Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Davante Adams the “toughest matchup” he’s faced.

Adams spent the first eight years of his career with the Bears’ most-hated rival, the Green Bay Packers. In 16 career games versus the Bears while a member of the Packers, Adams posted 1024 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns on 81 grabs, per Stathead, while helping guide them to a 14-2 record.

Last season for the Raiders, Adams posted his second consecutive season with over 1500 yards on 100 grabs while leading the league with 14 receiving touchdowns.

It is the second time in three years he’s led the NFL in receiving scores.

Adams’ trade last offseason was a precursor to Aaron Rodgers’ departure via trade to the New York Jets, and the hope is a shift in the balance of power in the NFC North that has seen the Packers on top more often than not.

The Detroit Lions look to be formidable and the Minnesota Vikings compete every season. But the Bears have been on the wrong side of the NFL’s oldest rivalry for too long.

Adams and the Raiders will travel to Soldier Field in Week 7.

Jaylon Johnson All About Giving Back

Johnson opened up about the mission of his non-profit which he says he hopes to bring to Chicago.

“I’m always home so it doesn’t feel different for me. It’s just where I’m supposed to be at. My family’s here, [the] community’s here, so I’m here. … Just helping and empowering families…We just want to be able to help the kids and the families. … I’m not on this Earth to just play football.”

The Bears kick off the 2023 season with a home date against Adams’ former team in the start of a new era for Green Bay with quarterback Jordan Love under center.

Bears’ Darnell Mooney Provides Detailed Injury Update

The Chicago Bears did a lot of work to fortify the ranks around third-year quarterback Justin Fields this offseason adding to the protection in front of him and the weapons around him. On the latter front, adding D.J. Moore to last year’s group should do wonders in terms of providing Fields with a proven top option on the outside.

Darnell Mooney Updates Status Before Teammate Shares Sobering Experience

It should also help the other receivers since they will be in more appropriate roles for their respective skill sets, including the incumbent top option, Darnell Mooney.

“I am running,” Mooney told teammate Equanieous St. Brown on ‘The 33rd Team’ podcast on May 18. “I’m cutting. I started cutting today. So, naw, I’ll be 100%. I got screws in my foot so I’ll be a little robotic. Probably 1000 times better than I was.”

One year after his first 1000-yard campaign, Mooney made 12 starts last season.

The third-year wideout suffered a broken leg cutting in Week 12 against the New York Jets, finishing an already-trying season with 493 yards and two touchdowns on 40 receptions.

Equanimeous St. Brown Shares Experience with TightRope Surgery

Mooney confirmed that he broke his fibula for St. Brown’s co-host, brother, and Detroit Lions receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown before confirming for his teammate that he had what is known as “TightRope” surgery, a procedure that uses cord instead of screws to aid in the healing process, according to the Southern California Orthopedic Institute:

The TightRope system anchors the ends of the tibia and fibula together with a braided polyethylene cord, rather than with a rigid surgical screw, to restore the original position of the bones and to allow for proper healing.

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa had a similar procedure performed in 2018.

Though, in his respective instance, he (and teammate Jalen Hurts, now of the Philadelphia Eagles) was able to return in four weeks while at the University of Alabama.

“I had that too. My ankle doesn’t move no more,” Equanimeous St. Brown said. “That s*** is steady. … I didn’t break it. But I had TightRope my second year in the NFL…That s***’s locked. It’s locked. It’s locked in place. It’s not moving.”

Mooney – a former fifth-round pick in 2020 – said that his doctors warned him of something similar but said that he felt “good” about where things stand. His recovery does take on added significance going into a contract season with a regime that did not draft him and has already gone about upgrading the position around him.

“They want to see me run and stuff so we’ll see,” he said. “I’m in no rush.”

Darnell Mooney on D.J. Moore: ‘Great Fit’

“He’s gonna fit good,” Mooney said. “Good guy, good dude for sure. Seems to be working hard. Seems to be honing into what we got, our culture, or whatnot. So, yeah…great fit, for sure.”

Moore – the No. 24 overall pick in 2018 – arrives with three 1000-yard seasons under his belt and two more in which he fell fewer than 250 yards shy. Even in a “down season” for his yardage, he produced seven receiving scores and took 10 handoffs for 53 years in 2022.

That could put a little extra pressure on Mooney to produce but he sounds ready regardless.

“Do whatever I can do for my team,” Mooney said of his expectations for this season. “Ball out. Dominate. I’m not really on the ‘respect my name’ anymore. I’m just disrespecting everybody now. Don’t really care about respect no more. Other than that, I just want to win. I don’t really care about anything else.”

Justin Fields Issues Telling Statement on Bears’ Offense

At this time last year, the Chicago Bears and quarterback Justin Fields were getting ready to install what were the bones of offensive coordinator Luke Getsy’s scheme.

While they produced exciting results at times, it did not always look pretty or help them win.

“I can tell the guys who were in the offense last year are way more comfortable this year with the playbook,” Fields told Larry Mayer of, “and focusing on the defense rather than just the little stuff with the offense because they know it, they know the foundation of it.”

Bears ‘Way More Comfortable’ in Luke Getsy’s Offense

Justin Fields Has Weapons Now

Fields is understandably excited by the addition of D.J. Moore to the wide receiver room following the latter’s trade from the Carolina Panthers. It was a deal that saw the Bears drop out of the No. 1 overall pick.

However, his comments could also bode well for 2022 trade deadline acquisition, Chase Claypool.

Chicago sent the Pittsburgh Steelers what turned into the No. 32 overall pick for the 24-year-old.

He caught just 14 of his 29 targets for 140 yards in seven games (three starts) with the Bears. It was not what they envisioned from the former No. 49 overall pick (2020) even before knowing where the pick would fall. His catch-rate tends to be on the lower side more than some wideouts due to the type of routes he runs. But Claypool still posted the worst catch rate of his career in Chicago.

Claypool was open about his frustrations with things not working last season and even had to be calmed down by Fields at one point.

But he stands to benefit more than anyone other than Fields from Moore’s arrival.

Bears Getting Offense in Order

Just as Moore has stolen the headlines, he should likewise take away the attention of the opposing defense.

Moore fell short of his fourth consecutive 1000-yard campaign and has never finished a season with fewer than the 788 yards he posted in his rookie season. A former first-round pick, Moore was selected No. 24 overall in 2018.

“I’ve known DJ for a little bit now,” Fields said, per Mayer. “I can tell he loves the game, he’s a hard worker and, of course, he’s talented. He’s proven that over the past few years playing with the Panthers. So, it’s great to have him; another weapon to add to our offense. He’s going to bring a lot of energy, a lot of leadership to the room. Everybody’s excited to have him, so it’s going to be fun.”

Bears GM Sends Strong Message on Plans to Fix Glaring Roster Flaw

Moore’s presence should have a similar effect on incumbent top option Darnell Mooney.

Mooney is still recovering from ankle surgery that cut his season short after 12 games. But he is just one year removed from his first 1000-yard season.

Bears Coaches Brag on Justin Fields’ Progress

In the sense that he makes everything go, the things coming out of Halas Hall about Fields may seem like standard-issue lip service during the offseason. But the Bears coaches have always taken a measured approach when discussing where Fields was in the process.

Now, Getsy sounds as confident in Fields as Fields does in the things that are now around him.

“I think the growth from…where he was at this time last year to where he is now – I think it just is light years ahead of where it was,” Getsy said on May 6 via the team’s YouTube channel. “And we feel like he has a ton more to grow going forward. So we’re excited to try to get the best out of them moving forward and keep working to where we think he can go.”

With the sixth-easiest strength of schedule this coming season, per Sharp Football Analysis, the Bears and Fields are indeed set up to outperform their abysmal (on the whole) 2022 season.

Former Bears Starter Gets Fresh Start with Super Bowl Contender

The Chicago Bears officially watched a former starter ink a deal with a new team on May 15. They had 14 players appear in all 17 games last season and, of those, only two were offensive linemen.

They have committed to one, left tackle Braxton Jones, for the foreseeable future. The other, center Sam Mustipher, was allowed to walk away as a free agent this offseason. But he has now found a new home and top-10 odds at a Super Bowl, per Vegas Insider.

“Ravens have been looking to add more interior OL depth,” tweeted Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic confirming the signing on May 15. “They also didn’t have backup center after Trystan Colon signed w/Jets. Mustipher is an Owings Mills native, so he’ll be coming home. He started 40 games for the Bears over past 3 seasons.”

Baltimore Ravens Add Former Chicago Bears Starter

Sam Mustipher was Durable

Things did not go well for Mustipher last season.

He graded out as the Bears; worst starting lineman, per Pro Football Focus. But, as a former undrafted free agent in 2020 out of Notre Dame, he is no stranger to adversity.

Mustipher wound up as the Bears’ starting center last season after 2022 offseason free-agent acquisition Lucas Patrick suffered a string of injuries starting in training camp that limited him to just five starts in seven total appearances and only 10 snaps all season at center.

With Patrick under contract this season and the Bears adding Nate Davis at right guard and Darnell Wright at right tackle – alongside incumbents Jenkins, Jones, and Cody Whitehair, it was clear fairly early on that Mustipher would be the odd man and at best would have had to fight for a roster spot this time around.

Already free to pursue new opportunities, he lands in a pretty good one, just one play away from potentially snapping the ball to former MVP Lamar Jackson.

Bears Lock Up Three More Rookies

“Bears first-round pick Darnell Wright, third-round pick Zacch Pickens and fourth-round pick Tyler Scott each signed Monday,” reported ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter on May 15. That brings the total number of signees from the 2023 NFL Draft class to seven. They previously signed four other rookies on May 9 – linebacker Noah Sewell, defensive lineman Travis Bell, as well as defensive backs Terrell Smith and Kendall Williamson.

That just leaves second-round picks Gervon Dexter Sr. and Tyrique Stevenson and fourth-round running back Roshon Johnson who could have a chance to steal away the starting job this offseason.
Mustipher joins former Bears linebacker Roquan Smith who was traded to Baltimore last season.

Bears Add Former Pro Bowler to Coaching Staff

The Bears announced the hiring of two new coaches as part of the Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship on May 15. Both are former NFL players and one, former Tennesee Titans running back Eddie George was a multi-time Pro Bowler in his nine-year career. He is also the current head coach at HBCU Tennesse State University

Chicago’s other hire – Randy Shannon – is a former linebacker who spent two years with the Dallas Cowboys from 1989 through 1990 and brings over 30 years of coaching experience.

Shannon is the current co-defensive coordinator at Florida State.

“We are very excited to welcome these two highly talented coaches in Eddie and Randy. Allowing them to join our staff during our OTAs enables us to offer this unique opportunity to current college coaches during their offseason,” Bears head coach Matt Eberflus said, per the team website. “We are confident that these coaches will be great assets to our team during their time here, and we are looking forward to learning from them as well.”

Bears GM Sends Strong Message on Plans to Fix Glaring Roster Flaw

The program was created to give coaches their first taste of NFL coaching during training camps to aid in securing a full-time position in the future.

Chicago has previously worked with other ex-players such as former journeyman quarterback Henry Burris who former head coach Matt Nagy made a quality assurance coach during the 2021 season.

Bears GM Sends Strong Message on Plans to Fix Glaring Roster Flaw

If nothing else, Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Poles sees the same thing as the fans do when he looks at the roster – the absence of a proven pass rusher which is rather startling considering his franchise’s defense just tallied 20 sacks this past season, the fewest in the entire league.

They have gone through the bulk of free agency and the entire NFL Draft without adding a pure EDGE defender, instead adding veteran DeMarcus Walker – who is more of a hybrid lineman – and some undrafted free agents.

Appearing on ESPN 1000 on May 12, Poles addressed the current state of the roster and his plans to add a proven pass rusher to this group that made key additions at every other level.

Ryan Poles Hints at Plans to Fix Bears’ Roster Flaw

“I think of my group, and we’ve proven that we’re always investigating options – via trade, signing someone that’s still available post-free agency. So we don’t really stop looking for talent. And so right now, I would just say we’re active, looking around, and maybe something will happen here soon.”

Poles covered a slew of topics from expectations for the team (it’s always to win) to individual players such as wide receiver Chase Claypool whom Poles said he still believes can be a “high performer” in the NFL.

He also made a telling admission about Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter whom Poles passed on in trading out of the No. 9 overall pick allowing the Philadelphia Eagles to strike.

There is a lot of excitement about rookie defensive tackles Gervon Dexter Sr., Zacch Pickens, and Travis Bell, judging from Poles and head coach Matt Eberflus’ comments. Still, the lack of a bonafide pass rusher will remain the focal point of fans and detractors.

The Bears Free Agent EDGE Rushing Options

As Poles noted, there are two distinct paths the Bears can take and both have some fairly defined options given the team’s needs. Among free agents, their best options appear to be Frank Clark, Jadeveon Clowney, former Bear Leonard Floyd, and former Indianapolis Colts/journeyman sack artist Yannick Ngakoue.

Of those, Ngakoue, 28, led the way with 9.5 sacks this past season. He comes from the Colts and, while he missed Eberflus by one season, the coach likely has all of the intel he needs.

Floyd, 30, has had at least 9.0 sacks in each of his three seasons since leaving the Bears.

Clark and Clowney combined for 5.0 sacks last season while Walker recorded 7.0 in a breakout season for the Tennessee Titans. The rest of the options – names such as Trey Flowers (0 sacks), Markus Golden (4.0 sacks), or Kyle Van Noy (5.0 sacks) – don’t address the issue.

Veteran Justin Houston logged 9.5 sacks last season for the Baltimore Ravens but is 34 years old and likely looking to compete for a championship.

Beyond that are the likes of Al-Quadin Muhammad and Robert Quinn.

Potential Bears Trade Targets

One of the first names that come to mind when anyone mentions the possibility of trading for a pass rusher is Chase Young of the Washington Commanders who will play host to the Bears in Week 5 next season. Washington declined the former No. 2 overall pick’s fifth-year option. Young has appeared in just 12 games (11 starts) over the last two seasons due to injury.

However, not only is Young one of the best young pass rushers when he is healthy but the Commanders are set to undergo a change in ownership which clouds just how active they will look to be until then.

Another option is Carl Lawson, 27, who had 7.0 sacks last season. He is in the final year of a three-year, $45 million contract with a $15 million cap hit in 2023.

Lawson is not expected to be cut so a trade would be the only way to use him to create space to accommodate other moves in the wake of adding Aaron Rodgers. If that is the case, the Bears might be wise to take a swing – as multiple teams likely would – even if there is a risk Lawson is a rental who bolts in free agency next season.

Kansas City Chiefs Get Wish for Upcoming Showdown With Chicago Bears

Without directly addressing it, the NFL affirmed that the Chicago Bears will not be traveling to Germany to face the Kansas City Chiefs as part of the league’s international series this season, likely to the latter’s delight.

Bears to Face Chiefs in Kansas City

“The German newspaper Bild reported KC would play Chicago in the Germany game, reported Peter King of NBC Sports in his ‘Football Morning in America’ column on May 7. “When a team gives up one of its home games to play overseas, it has the option of requesting to the league one home game on its schedule the team does not want moved. I’m told Kansas City requested that the Chicago game not be played overseas.”

There were some rumblings among the die-hards about the Chiefs being concerned about having to face a revamped Bears team. Despite the Bears acknowledging they think they’ve surrounded Justin Fields with the proper weapons to succeed this season, that is not the reason for the Chiefs’ decision.

The truth, most likely, is that Bears fans travel well. There is reason to believe an NFL team would not want to forfeit the revenue from a home game against a team from the third-largest market with a loyal fanbase.

Bears’ Full Schedule to Be Released on Thursday

While the Bears wait with the rest of the league with bated breath for the release of their full schedule, they have known who their opponents will be for the 2023 season. Aside from the standard six games against the NFC North, they will also face the entire AFC West – not just the Chiefs – and the NFC South which presents an opportunity to directly impact the 2024 first-round pick they got from the Carolina Panther for the No. 1 overall pick this year.

The Bears will also host the Arizona Cardinals and travel to face the Cleveland Browns and Washington Commanders. It was a loss to Washington in Week 7 of last season that sparked Chicago’s offensive surge.

The AFC West went a combined 35-33 last season bolstered by the Chiefs who won 14 games and the Chargers who won 10. Their NFC South counterparts went 29-39 and are all in a state of flux with new quarterbacks including No. 1 overall pick Bryce Young in Carolina. Arizona, Cleveland, and Washington combined to go 19-31-1.

It’s a very winnable slate of games if the Bears – and Fields – are as improved as they say and fans hope they are.

Chicago won 66% of its games at home last season. But, since that amounted to just three wins all season as well as the No. 1 overall pick, perhaps it doesn’t matter what their record was at Soldier Field; it was not enough.

Bears Sign 5 Players After Rookie Minicamp

The Bears concluded their two-day rookie minicamp last weekend and came out of it impressed enough to sign five players to contracts. Of the group, tight end Stephen Carlson is the most accomplished having spent two years with the Cleveland Browns from 2019 through 2020 but has been out of football since then.

They also added offensive lineman Nick Amoah, defensive lineman, D’Anthony Jones, OL Josh Lugg, and safety Bralen Trahan.

All are long shots to make it through training camp but anything is always possible.

Bears Coaches Deliver Encouraging Message About Justin Fields

Last season, Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields finished with the fourth-highest time-to-throw on average, per NFL NextGen Stats.

This season, expect that number to come down quite a bit.

“Just the rhythm and timing…of the passing game,” head coach Matt Eberflus said after the first day of rookie minicamp on May 5 via the Bears’ YouTube channel. “Obviously the priority’s the passing game. We ran the ball very well but we all know that we got to improve in the passing game. And part of that’s rhythm and timing that’s the footwork with Justin. He’s been really working on that really, really good in terms of the quick pass, dropback pass, movement passes. And he’s really made some big strides in that in that area coming so far on his own and then now coming into Phase II. That first week is really – that’s about it.”

Bears’ Justin Fields ‘Light Years’ Ahead of Last Season

Fields’ time-to-throw was only lower than benched New York Jets first-round pick Zach Wilson, former Jets and Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold who is now with the San Francisco 49ers, and Deshaun Watson of the Cleveland Browns who made his return to pro football after sitting out the entire 2021 season with legal trouble.

The rest of the bottom 10 was filled out by Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson, Washington Commanders passer Taylor Heinicke, Pittsburgh Steelers rookie Kenny Pickett, and former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Marcus Mariota.

Baltimore Ravens franchise quarterback Lamar Jackson is also in that group. His time was only slightly better than Fields. But he remains the outlier, not the baseline.

Put simply, the Bears need Fields to get rid of the ball faster.

“I think the growth from…where he was at this time last year to where he is now – I think it just is light years ahead of where it was,” Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy said on May 6 via the team’s YouTube channel. “And we feel like he has a ton more to grow going forward. So we’re excited to try to get the best out of them moving forward and keep working to where we think he can go.”

Bears Built Out the Roster

Part of that is on Fields. But the Bears also had to do a better job of putting talent around him. They feel they have done that. They addressed the offensive line in free agency with Nate Davis sliding in at right guard and then drafting Darnell Wright. He will presumably lock down right tackle.

Sliding Teven Jenkins to right guard while moving Cody Whitehair to center should elevate the level of play at both positions relative to last season.

It was not just protection – Fields could also find himself with a clean pocket and nowhere to go.

“Obviously acquiring the athletes that we have you know with D.J. Moore and [Robert Tonyan] and the different guys that we’re going to acquire, we’re certainly enthused about those guys adding that talent piece to our offense.”

Count Chase Claypool in that as well. He arrived mid-season and had to learn a new playbook on the fly. The Bears trading out of the No. 1 overall pick and getting back Moore in the process was a clear show of faith in the progress Fields showed. And of where they think he can go.

Bears Have Faith in Justin Fields, Process

Still, the Bears’ offense was historically bad last season. It would be difficult to put all of that on one person, even one as important as the quarterback. Or even a couple of new players for that matter.

That’s why they are taking the big-picture approach.

Bears DC Sets Record Straight on Roster, Name-Drops Veteran

“It goes to everything,” Getsy said. “Getting the team around him better, and us all being together for another year, and the continuity that we have, and the communication that he and I have. Where we were kind of at the beginning of the season to the end of the season, I think, is a lot better. And so we’re hoping to build off of all that stuff. I think anytime you can be together with somebody and keep that consistency, there’s going to be growth. And he has a lot more growth ahead of him and we’re excited to tap into that.”