After another incredibly mediocre season that only saw one victory over teams with winning records, the Chicago Bears head into the offseason with a familiar sense of uncertainty. GM Ryan Pace and HC Matt Nagy will retain their positions, much to the dismay of fans across the 312, but the decision to keep the unsatisfactory pair may be a positive. They will both be under pressure to win, and anything less than 10 wins and a playoff appearance should certainly see the polarizing duo removed from their respective posts.
With this in mind, it will be interesting to see how they approach the offseason. The Bears currently hold the 20th pick in the draft and are nearly $9 million under the cap, so addressing the many holes they have will be a tough task. In addition, they will have to decide whether or not to bring back key free agents, including Allen Robinson and Mitchell Trubisky, as well as others on the chopping block, to save cap space. What exactly should the Bears do?
Allen Robinson: Stay
Robinson is the Bears’ big ticket item, as he has been the only consistent bright spot on offense for the past three seasons. The veteran from Penn State racked up 1,000 yards for the second straight season despite mediocre and inconsistent quarterback play. He is a top-10 free agent and will command a top-dollar payday, even with a stacked class of free agent wideouts. However, the Bears will need to retain Robinson if they want to win, making the best option the franchise tag.
By using the franchise tag, the Bears won’t have to commit to Robinson long term, and can use him as trade bait if the right offer comes around. Robinson would be key in developing a rookie QB, such as Kyle Trask or Mac Jones, or even Zack Wilson or Trey Lance if Pace trades up. In addition the lack of depth behind Robinson is a serious issue; without ARob the Bears might have the worst receiving corps in the league. In summary, Allen Robinson is a huge part of the Bears offense, and it would be a horrendous move to let him walk for nothing.
Mitchell Trubisky: Leave
Like ripping off a bandaid, it is time for the few remaining Bears fans with hope for Mitchell Trubisky to let go and move on to a new quarterback. Reports around the NFL have indicated that neither Trubisky nor the Chicago organization want to continue their partnership, signifying an end to 4 years of false hope and misery in the 312. After declining his 5th year option last summer, Trubisky is set to become a free agent in March. Despite Nick Foles still on the roster, a big question looms for the Bears: Who will be the starter for 2021?
Jimmy Graham: Leave
Unlike the aforementioned offensive duo, Graham is currently on the Bears roster for next year. However, cutting the veteran tight end, who turns 35 next season, would save an estimated $7 million in cap room. Graham’s production was decent last season, but it dwindled towards the end of the year. His year of mentorship to Cole Kmet was valuable, but with the rookie out of Notre Dame becoming a bigger part of the offense, there is less of a need for Graham. Overall, his age, contract, and the rise of Kmet leave no reason for Graham to remain a Chicago Bear.