Tagged in: Chicago Bears

New York Giants adding Devonta Freeman on 1-year deal

The New York Giants are signing former Pro Bowl running back Devonta Freeman after losing Saquon Barkley for the campaign.

Freeman and the Giants agreed to a one-year deal worth up to $3 million, Freeman’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Tuesday.

Freeman is projected to sign the contract Wednesday morning, practice with the Giants later Wednesday and could play as soon as Sunday.

“Devonta turned down more money from other teams because he likes the opportunity with the Giants best,” Rosenhaus told Schefter.

Barkley tore the ACL in his right knee in Sunday’s 17-13 loss to the Chicago Bears. Dion Lewis played every snap in his absence.

Freeman, 28, spent the first six years of his career with the Atlanta Falcons. He has two 1,000-yard rushing seasons (2015-16) and has averaged 4.2 yards per carry throughout his career. But Freeman had 656 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 184 carries (3.6 average) last season. The Falcons let him walk as a free agent this offseason and instead signed Todd Gurley.

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Freeman had other chances this offseason.

He turned down a deal that could have been worth $3 million with the Seattle Seahawks and recently visited with the Philadelphia Eagles.

But the Giants offer Freeman the best opportunity for touches with Barkley lost for the campaign. They have Lewis and Wayne Gallman on the active roster. Veteran Rod Smith is on the practice squad.

“Wayne and Dion are definitely guys that will factor in,” coach Joe Judge stated Monday. “We’ll work to their strengths — they are two different types of backs. Both of them have a degree of toughness. Wayne’s got that long speed, get him ranging out and get him really moving.

Dion’s got that real good short-area quickness and burst to get going. He does a great job of finding small seams and getting through the hole. They are both different guys; we’re going to have to work with what they do well to give them an opportunity to be successful.”

Now add Freeman, who visited the Giants on Tuesday, to the mix.

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Chicago Bears reach 3 year extension with Tarik Cohen

The Chicago Bears and running back Tarik Cohen reached a settlement Saturday on a three-year, $17.25 million contract extension.

Cohen’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, confirmed the deal to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Cohen was in the final year of his four-year, $3 million rookie contract he signed after the Bears selected him in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL draft.

In June, the 25-year-old North Carolina native said the situation provided an extra layer of motivation heading into the 2020 campaign.

“It’s definitely a motivating factor being that this is the year,” Cohen told reporters. “I feel like I can’t put any pressure on nobody else. It’s all on me. That’s how I like to go about it. I just take it upon myself, anything else like, I want to win as a team. I feel like if we win as a team that is good for everybody’s individual success.”

The 2018 Pro Bowl selection has been a valuable dual-threat benefit for Chicago.

He entered his fourth NFL season with nearly as many catches (203) as rushing attempts (250), showcasing the team’s efforts to get him the ball in space to use his elusiveness and game-changing speed.

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“On top of being a Pro Bowl talent, he’s the ultimate captain, teammate and competitor,” Telesco said in a statement. “Quite simply, he’s one of the best leaders I’ve ever been around. Mike’s played a major role in establishing the culture and standard we now have in our locker room and sets a tremendous example, especially for the younger members of our team.”

Fourth-year offensive lineman Dan Feeney is expected to substitute Pouncey as the starting center, with Forrest Lamp likely filling in for Feeney at left guard.

The Chargers, the third-most injured team last season according to Football Outsiders’ adjusted games lost, are already without star safety Derwin James, who recently underwent season-ending knee surgery.

Fullback Gabe Nabers was promoted from the practice squad to the active roster Thursday in a corresponding move.

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Las Vegas Raiders finalizing deal with CB Prince Amukamara

The Las Vegas Raiders are finalizing an agreement with veteran cornerback Prince Amukamara, a source told ESPN’s Dan Graziano.

Amukamara, who has started 99 matches in his career, should compete for a starting job with Las Vegas at best and provide much-needed experience and depth at cornerback at the very least.

The Raiders return Trayvon Mullen, who started the last 10 games of his rookie season last year, and used a first-round draft pick, No. 19 overall, on Ohio State cornerback Damon Arnette and a fourth-round pick on slot corner Amik Robertson.

Amukamara, who turns 31 on June 6, was released by the Chicago Bears on Feb. 21, as he was entering the final season of his three-year, $27 million extension signed in 2018. His cap hit was to be $8 million.

Amukamara spent three campaigns with the Bears, appearing in 44 of 48 games with 42 starts, and had three interceptions (all in 2018), 29 passes defended, three forced fumbles, a recovery and a defensive touchdown. In nine NFL seasons, he has 476 tackles and 10 interceptions.

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A first-round draft pick of the New York Giants in 2011, he was part of their Super Bowl team in his rookie year.

He also spent a season with the Jacksonville Jaguars before joining the Bears in 2017.

Raiders general manager Mike Mayock recognized before the draft that the Raiders needed to address the position, especially after an offseason agreement with free-agent cornerback Eli Apple fell through.

“We feel like we got a bunch of talented young kids that we don’t know enough about yet,” Mayock said. “Trayvon played really well the second half of the season. We believe that he’s going to be a starter for years to come. Isaiah Johnson was a fourth-round pick, a former wide receiver with all kinds of physical skill set. We love his traits. He got hurt early, we brought him back late. He’s a guy we can’t wait to see play. Keisean Nixon was a free agent out of South Carolina who made the team and played well on special teams. He’s a really competitive young man. And Dylan Mabin is another kid out of Fordham who got hurt and didn’t get a chance to show what he can do.

“So, we’ve got four or five young corners who we’re kind of intrigued by. Now, do we think that we need to get better there? Yeah.”

Enter Arnette, Robertston and, now, Amukamara.

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Bears Decline Fifth-Year Option on QB Mitchell Trubisky, Reports Say

In a not-so-surprising move, the Chicago Bears are apparently declining their fifth-year contract option for quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.

Trubisky, the team’s first round draft pick in the 2017 draft, could possibly become a free agent at the conclusion of the 2020 NFL season, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.

“The team has liked Trubisky’s attitude since the Nick Foles trade, and it’ll be an open competition,” Pelissero said. “A chance for Trubisky to make himself a lot of money before his contract expires next March.”

The Bears were fast approaching a deadline to determine whether they would pick up Trubisky’s fifth year option.

By declining the option, the Bears quarterback could potentially become a free agent after the 2020 season, but if he has a successful year, the Bears still have options to keep him, as they could either re-sign him to a new extension or apply the team’s franchise tag to him, preventing him from seeking a contract with another team.

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In three campaigns with the Bears, Trubisky has compiled a 23-18-0 record, completing 63.4 percent of his passes for 8,554 yards and 48 touchdowns. He has also thrown 29 interceptions and been sacked 93 times.

The 2019 season represented a step back for Trubisky, as he completed a lower percentage of his passes and threw for seven fewer touchdowns than he had in the previous season, despite throwing 82 more passes.

Earlier this offseason, the Bears sent a fourth round draft pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars to acquire Foles, who will compete with Trubisky for the team’s starting job.

Bears G.M. Ryan Pace has drafted four players in the first round of the NFL Draft, and is now 0-for-3 on keeping players beyond their first contract. The team also declined the options on wide receiver Kevin White and linebacker Leonard Floyd, and will face a decision next season on the contract of linebacker Roquan Smith.

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Bears release TE Trey Burton

The Chicago Bears are releasing tight end Trey Burton, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

According to The Athletic’s Adam Jahns, the Bears plan to designate Burton as a post-June 1 release, which means that it will save money against the salary cap. But Burton will cost the Bears $7.5 million in dead money and free up just $1.05 million in cap space, according to Over The Cap.

In 2018, Chicago signed Burton to a four-year, $32 million contract, which included $22 million guaranteed. While Burton had a career-best season with the Bears in 2018 — 54 catches for 569 receiving yards and six touchdowns — it was ultimately his lack of availability that was his downfall.

After warning the team that he had a groin injury the night before Chicago’s wild-card playoff game versus the Eagles, Burton never recovered. In 2019, he only played in eight matches, tallying 14 catches for 84 yards, before landing on injured reserve.

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The Bears had the worst group of tight ends in the NFL last season, and it’s no wonder the position has been an area of focus for general manager Ryan Pace.

Chicago signed former Packers tight end Jimmy Graham to a two-year deal last month, and that raised a question about Burton’s future with the Bears.

The Bears now have nine tight ends under contract, and it wouldn’t be shocking for Pace to add another in the NFL Draft next week.

Burton, 28, had been the third and fourth tight end with the Eagles and a special teams standout. But he took advantage of his opportunities on offense during the 2017 season and became part of Eagles lore when he threw a touchdown pass to quarterback Nick Foles on a play called “Philly Special” in the Super Bowl LII victory over the Patriots.

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Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky had surgery on left shoulder

Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky underwent surgery shortly after the season to repair the partially torn labrum in his left shoulder, a person with knowledge of the situation corroborated. ESPN first reported Wednesday that Trubisky had surgery.

The postseason procedure was widely expected after Trubisky’s left shoulder popped out of joint and back in when he was sacked on Sept. 29 versus the Vikings.

Trubisky is expected to participate in the on-field portion of the Bears offseason program, which can start April 20. That it’s his non-throwing shoulder is crucial to such a relatively fast return. Trubisky was injured six plays into that Vikings game.

He missed the rest of that 16-6 triumph and the following game versus the Raiders in London. He played the final 11 games of the season with a harness on his left shoulder. He insisted the injury did not hinder him more than the standard toll of football affects any player.

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His regression in his third campaign was a leading reason why the Bears ended fourth to last in the NFL in scoring and second to last in yards per play. The Bears were worst in the league in yards per pass attempt.

The Bears have said Trubisky will be their starting quarterback next season.

The second overall pick of the 2017 NFL draft, Trubisky finished the year 28th in total QBR (39.4), tied for 27th in touchdown passes (17), 21st in passing yards (3,138), 32nd in yards gained per pass attempt (6.1) and 28th in traditional quarterback rating (83.0).

The Bears went 8-8 and failed to reach the playoffs.

In 2018, which was Matt Nagy’s first season as head coach, the Bears went 12-4 as Trubisky passed for 3,223 yards, 24 touchdowns and 12 interceptions and rushed for 421 yards and three touchdowns.

Pace insisted in December that the Bears remain committed to Trubisky as their starting quarterback, but Chicago is expected to upgrade at backup quarterback in the offseason.

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Bears land top CFL free agent Tre Roberson

The Bears have made an interesting signing, landing the services of the much sought after CFL cornerback Tre Roberson. He was a hot topic this NFL offseason, a player most critics agreed was the No. 1 CFL free agent. 

Roberson has an interesting background. He originally came up through the ranks as a quarterback, eventually becoming the first true freshman to ever start at quarterback for Indiana University Bloomington.

After transferring to Illinois State and playing the 2014 and 2015 college football seasons with the Red Birds, Roberson turned pro and ultimately went undrafted as an extremely under-the-radar prospect. 

Eventually, the athletic Roberson made the switch to cornerback. He didn’t stick with the Minnesota Vikings after making their roster ahead of the 2016 NFL preseason, being a part of the final round of roster cuts.

He made his way to the Calgary Stampeders in 2018, where he really started to make a name for himself at cornerback.

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Roberson has a total of 95 tackles and 10 interceptions over his two campaigns in the CFL, helping lead the Stampeders to a Grey Cup (CFL’s title game) win.

The 27 year old chose the Bears over nine other NFL teams and according to NFL insider Adam Schefter.

The Bears have made their first “splash move” and for the sake of Bears faithful, hopefully, this represents the first of many great additions to the Bears’ roster.    

He had seven interceptions and 41 tackles last season for Calgary, and he scored two touchdowns. Roberson played college ball at Illinois State.

The Bears are expected to give Roberson the largest CFL-to-NFL compensation since the Miami Dolphins signed defensive end Cameron Wake to a reported four-year, $4.9 million deal in 2009.

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Bears hiring Joe DeFillippo as QB coach

Bears head coach Matt Nagy continued to remake his offensive coaching staff by hiring John DeFilippo as quarterbacks coach and promoting Dave Ragone to passing game coordinator, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

DeFilippo, whom Chicago interviewed for its head coaching spot two years ago before offering the job to Nagy, spent just one year as offensive coordinator of the Jacksonville Jaguars before he and the club mutually agreed to part ways on Monday.

DeFilippo also lasted only 13 games as the Minnesota Vikings coordinator in 2018 before being released.

The 41-year-old coached quarterbacks for the Philadelphia Eagles under Nagy’s close friend Doug Pederson in 2016-17. DeFilippo was part of the Eagles’ staff that helped win Super Bowl LII.

Prior to Philadelphia, DeFilippo was the offensive coordinator of the Cleveland Browns in 2015. He additionally worked as quarterbacks coach for the Oakland Raiders and New York Jets.

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Ragone — a rare holdover from the John Fox era — served as Chicago’s quarterbacks coach the past four seasons where he worked closely with former second overall pick Mitchell Trubisky.

Although Trubisky finished the 2019 season ranked 28th in total QBR, tied for 27th in touchdown passes, 21st in passing yards, 32nd in yards gained per pass attempt and 28th in traditional quarterback rating, Nagy frequently lauded Ragone’s work with the 25-year-old quarterback.

Lazor, 47, previously held the title of offensive coordinator for the Miami Dolphins (2014-15) and Cincinnati Bengals (2017-18).

Nagy and Lazor never coached together in Philadelphia, but Nagy considered Lazor for Chicago’s offensive coordinator job in 2018 until the Bengals informed they were retaining former coach Marvin Lewis for another campaign.

After Cincinnati changed coaching staffs following 2018, Lazor spent the past year out of the league but visited Bears’ OTAs for couple days as a guest.

Chicago’s offense ranked 29th in points, 29th in average yards per game, 25th in passing yards and 27th in rushing yards in Nagy’s second season.

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QB Mitchell Trubisky has dislocated left shoulder and slight labrum tear, but no need for surgery

The former second-overall pick was knocked out of the Chicago Bears fight with the rival Minnesota Vikings in Week 4 with what’s being described as a shoulder injury, and one that could cause him to miss time.

Trubisky struggled in the first two games to begin the season but found a groove against the Washington Redskins in Week 3, and although he declared it wasn’t a “breakthrough” for him and the offense — it was a stride in the right direction. He wouldn’t have much of a chance to build on that performance with the Vikings in town, though, and might not when the Bears travel to London to face the Oakland Raiders, either.

It is doubtful Trubisky will step on the field

With more tests having now been run, it’s doubtful he’ll step on the field across the pond, and has now been reportedly diagnosed with a dislocated shoulder and slightly torn labrum — per Adam Schefter of ESPN — but the good news is no surgery is required that would threaten the remainder of his season.

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In his stead, backup Chase Daniel played admirably and threw for 195 yards on 22 for 30 passing, along with a touchdown and no interceptions.

The Bears went on to defeat the Vikings to the tune of 16-6 in a game that was yet another display of just how dominant the Chicago defense truly is, and despite being short-handed.

If it turns out Trubisky does miss the outing against the Raiders, the Bears enjoy a bye thereafter that would allow additional rest and recovery for the 25-year-old, with a potential to return for Week 7 against the New Orleans Saints. In a weird twist of fate, Trubisky also suffered a shoulder injury against the very same Vikings in Week 11 of the 2018 season, and was sidelined for two games because of it.

The Bears went 1-1 in his absence, and will now lean on Daniel to carry the offense.

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Miami Dolphins at Chicago Bears

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Thursday night at 8 p.m. ET, the Chicago Bears will be back at Soldier Field to take on the Miami Dolphins in their first preseason game of the year. The Chicago Bears and Miami Dolphins have struggled in recent years, both failing to make the playoffs in each of the last four years.

The Bears, of course, are coming off a disastrous 5-11 campaign in 2014, a season where they had playoff expectations behind what was supposed to be a top-notch offense and a rebuilt defense. Instead, they tanked amid poor play and internal friction.

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The Dolphins, meanwhile, are coming off an 8-8 season in which they finished third in the AFC East, 11th in points scored and 20th in points allowed. That campaign includes an easy 27-13 victory over the Bears in Chicago, a game where the Bears gave up 24 first downs, almost 400 yards of total offense and failed to force a turnover, while the offense was shutout in the first half and netted just 224 yards and three turnovers during the game.

The established starters on both sides will see limited playing time on the field, and quarterbacks Jay Cutler and Ryan Tannehill shouldn’t play for more than a series or two. Chicago and Miami used their first-round selections on wide receivers, but neither will make their NFL debuts on Thursday.

Playing a solid team like Miami should be a good way for the Bears to test the new schemes and evaluate backups and the starting competitions on defense without the squad getting embarrassed.

 

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