Tag Archives: Cody Whitehair

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.

The Chicago Bears and Draft Day

We’re only a few hours away from the 2020 NFL Draft which was supposed to take place in Las Vegas but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, an unprecedented change had to be made.  The NFL will have it’s first virtual draft from the home of Commissioner Roger Goodell.  It’s like the ultimate “real life” fantasy draft, just think about it.  Don’t worry about it, us fantasy players get it!  The evening’s historic festivities begin with the Cincinnati Bengals picking first.

The first four selections seem to be locked according to several mock drafts starting with Heisman winning QB Joe Burrow of LSU.  Two through four have EDGE Chase Young, cornerback Jeff Okudah (both from Ohio State), and Isaiah Simmons, a linebacker from Clemson going to the Washington RedskinsDetroit Lions, and New York Giants respectively.  Simmons may slip from that fourth slot but the rest of the first round is murky and up in the air. With teams bound to make trades, wheeling and dealing, we’ll just have to see where the chips fall.

Bears and Draft Day

What will Chicago Do

The Chicago Bears and general manager Ryan Pace have an extra day to prepare as they have no first day selections.  Remember the Khalil Mack trade in 2018 with the Oakland Raiders, (now Las Vegas)?  If not, a quick refresher: Chicago’s first-round pick this year (19) was part of the deal; which was well worth Mack.  Bears have seven picks in total this year with the first coming in the second round at 43rd and then 50th, they don’t pick again until the fifth round.  So with that said Pace and the organization really need to make those first two picks difference makers.

What direction will the Bears decide to go?  What direction should they go?  The answer should be simple. Offensive line first, secondly wide receiver and a distant last, safety.  Good thing the draft will be loaded at the most needed positions.  Looking at the offensive line in 2019, besides quarterback, was the most inconsistent part of an offensive unit that failed to score a touchdown in the first half in 11 of 16 games. Chicago ranked in the bottom half of the league in all major offensive categories. 27th in rushing, 25th in passing, 29th in both total yards and scoring, 31st in yards per play and 32nd in yards per pass attempt.

Chicago’s line struggles can be attributed to injuries, pro bowl guard Kyle Long was lost to a hip injury after just 4 games, who has also since retired.  Long was then replaced by Rashaad Coward who was a converted defensive lineman.  Right tackle Bobby Massie suffered an ankle injury that put him on the shelf for the last five games of the season.  Need we say anything more, to compete offensively in the NFL your foundation starts up front.

In regards to wide receiver, it appears that Taylor Gabriel didn’t quite fit the role the team was expecting him to.  As evidenced by Pace releasing the six-year veteran. In two seasons in Chicago Gabriel had 96 receptions, 1041 yards, and six touchdowns.  The Bears now need to add a speedy downfield threat to fill in that slot position.  That would be a welcomed addition for Anthony Miller and Allen Robinson, who led the team with a career-best 98 receptions, 1147 yards, and seven touchdowns.

What Prospects Will the Bears Select?

At this point, it would be easy to say the best offensive lineman available but with the teams first pick not coming until Friday at selection 43, get the best value at positions in need.  Unless there’s a player they’ve targeted that they believe will be there later, then they can work out a trade to move down and possibly get another pick, say, in the 3rd round.  With that being said here are some players the Bears should have an eye on:

  • Justin Jefferson WR LSU – Great hands, physical receiver, 4.4 speed
  • Grant Delpit S LSU – Second-ranked safety prospect, value pick, good size, and coverage skills
  • Cesar Ruiz OL Michigan – True Center would allow Cody Whitehair to move back to his natural guard position
  • KJ Hamler WR Penn State – Second-fastest WR in the draft, strong for his size, 5’9 176lbs, downfield threat

Now time to see if any of these players will be the next Chicago Bear.