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New Bears quarterback Nick Foles Jersey threw passes in only two games with the Chiefs in 2016, but it was one of the best years of his NFL career.

Reuniting with a pair of coaches in Andy Reid and Matt Nagy he had worked with in 2012 with the Eagles, Foles rediscovered the love for the game he had lost during a frustrating 2015 season with the Rams.

“That year was one of my favorite years of football because of the people I was blessed to be around, and it had nothing to do with football,” Foles said last Friday during a conference call with the media.

“Ultimately, I got to play in two games that year. And we won both games. I played well. Once again, the love of football came back because of the people that I was stepping into the huddle with and going to work [with] every day.”

Foles especially enjoyed reconnecting with Nagy; the current Bears head coach had served as an offensive quality control coach with the Eagles in 2012 when Foles was a rookie third-round draft pick.

After signing with the Chiefs a week into training camp in 2016, Foles was picked up at the airport by the team’s trainer. After taking his physical, Foles was dropped off at Nagy’s home in Overland Park. Nagy then drove Foles to Chiefs training camp at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph, Mo., stopping for some barbecue food during the one-hour trip.

Nagy then selflessly allowed Foles to borrow his car for the rest of camp.

“I didn’t have a car and he let me use his car in training camp, so I could get from place to place,” Foles said a few days before leading the Eagles into Soldier Field to face the Bears in a 2018 wild-card playoff game. “He just rode with a coach. I mean, that’s who he is.

“Not only as a person but as a coach, he’s unbelievable. I admire him. He’s one of my favorite people in the world.”

With the Chiefs in 2016, Nagy served as co-offensive coordinator with Brad Childress on Reid’s staff. Foles was Kansas City’s No. 2 quarterback, wedged on the depth chart between veteran starter Alex Smith and third-stringer Tyler Bray, who will once again be Foles’ teammate with the Bears.

Working with that group instantly reignited Foles’ passion for the game.

“Just being around Nagy, being in the room with him Darius Jackson Jersey, talking with him, being with Alex Smith, being with Tyler Bray and those guys, it was being around the people,” Foles said last Friday. It had nothing to do with football. It had to do with the culture and the energy from the human beings within the organization. Four days into training camp, I started loving the game. This love of the game poured in.”

A year later, Foles returned to the Eagles and led the franchise to its first Super Bowl championship after replacing injured starter Carson Wentz late in the regular season. Foles passed for 971 yards and six touchdowns in three postseason wins and was named MVP of Super Bowl LII.

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Players with an expiring contract: Sherrick McManis.

Players under contract for 2020: Kyle Fuller, Buster Skrine, Kevin Toliver, Duke Shelley, Tre Roberson, Stephen Denmark Jersey, Michael Joseph Jersey, Xavier Crawford Jersey.

Top-tier free agents: Devin McCourty, Damarious Randall, Rodney McLeod, Karl Joseph, Vonn Bell, Anthony Harris.

Other notable free agents: Sean Davis, Tony Jefferson, Jahleel Addae, John Cyprien, Ibrahiem Campbell, Jimmie Ward, Tre Boston, Mike Adams, Kurt Coleman.

Biggest storylines: In January the Bears guaranteed Eddie Jackson $33 million on a four-year extension that runs through the 2024 season. That deal makes Jackson the league’s highest-paid safety but, consequently, also limits the resources the Bears will use to fill out the depth chart. Ideally they will seek a partner on the back end of the defense who can complement Jackson’s greatest strengths as a ballhawk. But that search might intensify most during the draft. General manager Ryan Pace has drafted the safety position as well as any other during his time in Chicago. He landed Adrian Amos in the fifth round in 2015 and scooped Jackson up in Round 4 in 2017.

Don’t be surprised if …: The Bears find a way to re-sign Deon Bush and offer him an opportunity to compete for the second starting spot. Defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano was impressed with Bush upon his arrival a year ago, and the Bears could bring the 26-year-old safety on a team-friendly, short-term contract, giving him another shot to carve out a bigger role.

Extra point: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix was solid but not spectacular playing on a one-year, $3 million deal last season. At this point, though, all signs point to a departure, with Clinton-Dix in line to join his fourth team in the last three seasons.

Specialists

Players with an expiring contract: Patrick Scales.

Players under contract for 2020: Eddy Pineiro Jersey, Pat O’Donnell.

Top-tier free agents: Greg Zuerlein (K), Adam Vinatieri (K), Sam Martin (P).

Other notable free agents: Nick Folk (K), Dan Bailey (K), Britton Colquitt (P), Matt Bosher (P), Don Muhlbach (LS), Zak DeOssie (LS).

Biggest storyline: After the Bears spent the entire 2019 offseason immersed in a high-profile hunt for a placekicker, they appear determined to give Eddy Pineiro every opportunity to hold on to the job he won last summer. Pineiro’s first NFL season was a roller coaster. His game-winning 53-yard field goal to beat the Broncos as time expired in Week 2 was undoubtedly the high point. Pineiro, though, also suffered through a slump in which he missed four field goals in a span of seven attempts in October and November, shaking coach Matt Nagy’s faith in him. Pineiro ended the year by making his final 11 field-goal attempts. But only two of those kicks came from beyond 35 yards. The Bears might bring in competition for Pineiro. But if they go down that road, they are unlikely to spend much to do so.

Don’t be surprised if …: The Bears reach an agreement to re-sign Patrick Scales, bringing him back for his sixth season as the long snapper. Scales has signed a one-year deal with the Bears in each of the last three years.

Extra point: Pat O’Donnell signed a two-year deal worth $3.5 million last offseason and rewarded the Bears with one of his best seasons. He averaged a career-best 40.7 net yards per punt and dropped 26 of his 80 punts inside the 20.

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Jackson, 26, had just two interceptions last season — both coming on desperate late-game heaves — after posting six picks in 2018. Jackson’s drop in production came as the Bears assigned him more duties in the box. It was part of the ill-fitting tandem the team had with Jackson and fellow safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, who left the Bears in free agency to sign with the Cowboys.

The Bears have signed three safeties this offseason to form an apparent competition next to Jackson. Deon Bush, a fourth-round pick of the Bears in 2016, was re-signed on a one-year deal. They also added veterans Kentrell Brice Jersey and Jordan Lucas.

Bush seems to have the edge on Brice and Lucas given his four years of experience with the Bears, including one under defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano. The limited NFL offseason programs in which on-field activities aren’t expected to take place amid the coronavirus pandemic would seem to further ingrain Bush on the inside track, but the Bears don’t view him as the long-term answer at safety.

That’s where the draft could provide an answer, as it gives the Bears an opportunity to help bolster Jackson’s comfort for the next half-decade.

LSU’s Grant Delpit and Minnesota’s Antoine Winfield are safeties who will receive some first-round grades from scouts but could also fall to the Bears’ draft slots in the second round. Southern Illinois’ Jeremy Chinn is an intriguing option who should be available there for the Bears, as should Division-II Lenoir-Rhyne’s Kyle Dugger.

If the Bears move to address other long-term needs — such as tackle, cornerback or even quarterback — or like someone else more in the second round, they could still take a swing at safety later in the draft. They selected Jackson in the fourth round of the 2017 draft and landed Adrian Amos in the fifth round two years before.

But just as Pace prioritized signing veteran pass rusher Robert Quinn in free agency recently to complement Khalil Mack, he could do the same with a draft pick suited for Jackson. Bolstering their investment in him would make good sense given his talent.

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Bears linebacker Roquan Smith and punter Pat O Donnell Jersey have discovered a unique way to raise money and lift spirits during the coronavirus pandemic.

Through Cameo—a social media platform that allows fans to pay for personalized video messages from athletes and other celebrities—Smith and O’Donnell are taping and sending special individualized shout-outs to fans.

“I was looking for ways to really reach out and help the community, help Chicago and just bring smiles to people’s faces,” Smith told ChicagoBears.com. “I know this is a difficult time. But just knowing that there is light at the end of the tunnel and that I can actually have a positive impact on certain individuals’ lives, that means a lot to me.”

Smith has received requests to send birthday greetings, pep talks to people who are down because of the coronavirus and messages of hope to military members who are stranded in other countries, unable to return home. Click here to receive a message from Smith.

O’Donnell received about 15 requests in the first 48 hours after he joined the platform. Like Smith, the Bears punter wants to infuse a ray of light into people’s lives during a dark time.

“For those on the frontlines of what’s going on with the coronavirus—doctors, nurses—plus people who are cooped up, kids that can’t have birthday [parties], these are special announcements that can put a smile on their face,” O’Donnell said. “I thought it would be a unique experience to reach out to fans. That’s why I decided to do it.”

O’Donnell has received requests from a Bears fan in Ireland to send birthday greetings to his dad, and from the fiancé of a nurse on the frontlines in a Chicago hospital for a pep talk for her and her co-workers. Click here to receive a message from O’Donnell.

The cost for the messages is $50 from Smith and $20 from O’Donnell. “For me being a punter, it’s probably a niche market,” O’Donnell joked.

During the coronavirus, I Grow Chicago has delivered hot meals, food staples and educational flyers about COVID-19 to neighborhood residents; provided books and games, bottles of soap and hand sanitizer and drinking water; and launched a virtual tutoring program for students and a daily prayer circle.

Bears Care will match up to $2,500 of the donations generated by Smith and O’Donnell for I Grow Chicago. Fans who would like to contribute to I Grow Chicago can click here.

The Bears had already announced plans to donate $250,000 to the Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund, which was created in collaboration with the City of Chicago, the Chicago Community Trust and United Way of Metro Chicago.

Donations aim to provide increased access to emergency food and basic supplies, rent and mortgage assistance, utility assistance, direct financial assistance for household supplies, and nonprofit safety and operations assistance. All grants from the fund will go to local nonprofit organizations, who will distribute services and supplies.

UPDATE: Since this story was posted, two more Bears players have joined the cause on Cameo: Long-snapper Patrick Scales and linebacker Josh Woods Jersey.

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General manager Ryan Pace dealt the Bears’ first-round picks in 2019 and 2020 for Mack and filled out the heart of the Bears’ pass rush with Akiem Hicks on the defensive line and sack master Robert Quinn opposite Mack. He’ll take his chances with those three for another season or two.

It’s a wise plan, and the many resources Pace has allocated to the pass rush — the aforementioned trio has a collective $44.5 million salary-cap hit this season — has made it arguably the strongest aspect of his team.

So heading into the draft, edge rusher isn’t much of a concern for the Bears. That’s just as well because Pace has struggled to find the right prospects.

Behind Mack and Quinn, the Bears are working to develop Isaiah Irving and James Vaughters Jersey. Both were undrafted. If the Bears find a pass rusher who looks good enough to overtake one of them as an attractive project, then it would be worth it for them to spend a sixth- or seventh-round pick.

That’s likely the area the Bears will be shopping in, if at all. It’s possible to find pass-rushing talent late in the draft, but it’s difficult. In the last decade, only seven players chosen in the fifth round or later posted a season of double-digit sacks (nine undrafted players have hit the mark). The most recent to do it was sixth-round pick Erik Walden, who had 11 for the Colts in 2016.

The most notable frustration was Leonard Floyd, whom he traded up to pick ninth overall in 2016. He managed only 18œ sacks in 54 starts, despite playing opposite Mack for two seasons, and bottomed out at three last season.

Two seasons ago, when the Bears looked like potential Super Bowl contenders, they were third in the NFL with 50 sacks. They dropped to 24th last season with 32, in large part because Hicks was injured and Floyd didn’t produce. That left Mack facing a parade of double- and triple-teams.

The Bears’ top-heavy spending at the position limits their depth, and their draft priorities make it difficult to justify taking an outside linebacker or defensive end early. It’s essentially all or nothing on the Mack-Hicks-Quinn trio.

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When I signed on at NBC Sports Chicago, I had no idea I was about to be put in home confinement for a month. I spent exactly three days on the job before being instructed to work from home.

For sports writers, this has been a challenging time, especially those losing jobs because of the COVID-19 pandemic. My problems (which include having permanent writer’s block in my own office and juggling a five-year-old) pale in comparison to what is happening in the real world.

That said, each one of us is still dealing with our own complications during this difficult time. It’s important to keep our minds right. For me, writing has always been therapeutic and that includes this “10 Bears Things” column, which I’ve been producing since 2014. It’s a space where I can organize my many thoughts on the Bears while also hitting multiple topics that tend to circulate in the Twitter mentions. I’m excited to bring “10 Bears Things” over to NBC Sports Chicago and if you’re new to the column, I hope you enjoy it.

At this point, there’s been a ton written and said about the Nick Foles-Mitchell Trubisky quarterback competition, so I’m going to concentrate on everything else that is getting overlooked with the Bears.

Robert Quinn Jersey is a clear upgrade over Leonard Floyd. Other than the quarterback position, the pass rush is the most important weapon on the football field. Kudos to Bears general manager Ryan Pace for not ignoring an area that ranked 22nd in pass rush win rate (40 percent) last season. Pass rush win rate (or PRWR) is a metric ESPN Analytics compiles using NFL Next Gen Stats and it measures how often a pass-rusher is able to beat his block within 2.5 seconds.

Guess who had the No. 1 PRWR among all NFL edge defenders in 2019?

Robert Quinn.

Quinn beat his block within 2.5 seconds 33 percent of the time, which was five percentage points higher than Steelers edge rusher T.J. Watt, who was No. 2. Of course, it’s very notable that Quinn’s teammate, DeMarcus Lawrence, was No. 3 (27 percent) and that certainly helped both face more favorable blocking combinations.

“One of the first things that comes to mind as you strengthen your team is your pass rush affecting the opposing quarterback,” Pace said. “We just feel like Quinn’s a proven pass rusher. He’s got excellent edge speed. He’s got outstanding ability to bend the corner and I think we can take a position of strength on our defense and make it even stronger and more dangerous when you add Quinn and you combine him with the players that are already up there, especially up front.”

That’s the thing. If you’re an offensive coordinator tasked with “defending” the Bears’ pass rush, where will Quinn rank on the list of weapons you have to stop? With Khalil Mack and Akiem Hicks to worry about, Quinn will be No. 3, at best. And I’d argue that he’s No. 4 when Eddie Goldman is out there. Simply put, Quinn should have plenty of favorable pass rush situations.

Of course, the same could be said about Floyd and he rarely took advantage. He was a very good player against the run and had a unique ability to drop into coverage, but the Bears really needed a pass rusher and Quinn brings the proven productivity that Floyd lacked.

My concern is Quinn’s lack of versatility, as he does not seem comfortable rushing from anywhere other than the right side. According to Pro Football Focus, all 374 of Quinn’s pass rush snaps came from the right side in 2019.

“If you look at my career, I’ve never really played the left side,” Quinn said. “So I mean, I think we’ve got a comfortable understanding that hopefully I get to stay on the right side.”

But while Mack likes the left side, defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano does move guys around and that versatility always keeps opposing offensive lines on edge, especially when you have the threat of Danny Trevathan and Roquan Smith Jersey blitzing. When the Rams switched to a 3-4 defense in 2017, Quinn didn’t really like it, but he says that’s because he was forced to play on the left side a lot more.

“If we’ve got to flip-flop, I guess I’ve got to get more comfortable playing on the left,” Quinn said. “As I get older, I realize that you’ve got to be a little multi-talented or be able to change. I don’t want to say I felt uncomfortable, it was just really the first time I’ve really played the left a lot. I think I had 8.5 sacks that year, not to talk about myself.”

For the record, 8.5 sacks would have been second on the Bears last year. Mack had nine.

What is the plan at strong safety and corner? Look, most of the criticisms of the Bears’ offseason so far leave out the fact that there’s a salary cap. It exists for a reason. The Bears’ biggest problem is that Trubisky hasn’t worked out and they had to allocate more money at the quarterback position. That doesn’t mean the decisions they’ve made this month are wrong. In fact, many of the contracts they’ve written have been very creative to make it all work.

Pace called this “a technical free agency” and I believe that’s what he was referring to. The GM had to pick his spots and couldn’t address every position.

But that has left two starting spots on the defense unresolved. Right now, Deon Bush and Jordan Lucas will battle it out for the strong safety spot. At cornerback (opposite of Kyle Fuller Jersey), the options appear to be Artie Burns, Kevin Toliver Jersey, and maybe Tre Roberson Jersey. Perhaps if Duke Shelley Jersey emerges as a reliable option in the slot, Buster Skrine Jersey could kick outside, where he has some experience.

I’m less worried about strong safety because I think Eddie Jackson Jersey playing more free safety benefits the entire defense. The Bears can still address corner in the draft and I can tell you with certainty that they believe an improved pass rush will cover up some of the deficiencies in the secondary. That’s a big reason they paid Quinn what they did.

The offensive line is concerning. I don’t think a day went by without talking about the offensive line during the 2019 season. And to this point, the only significant move the Bears made was signing 25-year-old tackle Germain Ifedi, who will kick inside to guard.

“He’s a guy we liked coming out in the (2016) draft,” Pace said. “We’ve kept close tabs on (him). He’s a talented player — 36-inch arms. Highly intelligent. I know (new offensive line coach) Juan Castillo is really high on this player, too, and how he feels he can make him better, which we’re confident in. So we’re excited to get him where we got him.”

Ifedi’s biggest issue has been penalties (especially false starts) and that’s theoretically something a new position coach can fix. The good news is that his strength is run blocking, but he’s been a below-average pass blocker.

It’s only a one-year, veteran salary benefit deal, which gives the Bears some cap relief. It’s a project that could pan out and Ifedi will compete with Rashaad Coward and Alex Bars at right guard. But it’s also a move that doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence in the offensive line taking a big step forward. The Bears are banking on Castillo working his magic, but that’s a big gamble considering how much the running game needs to improve in 2020. Then again, maybe Pace will use a second-round draft pick on a true right guard. Nagy believes Jimmy Graham fits his offense and that’s important. Like most, I’m skeptical about the Graham signing, but I already explained why the contract wasn’t as bad as many think.

If you think this was Pace just signing one of his old Saints players, think again, because Nagy is buying in too.

“When you look at the stuff that he’s doing maybe when he’s not catching the football, or maybe when he’s not making a block, you see him within the play doing something that you like,” Nagy said. “Then you visualize that with what you can do with him and conceptually what you do and how it fits and that’s the exciting part.”

Nagy often talks about how the U tight end is an adjustor in his offense. If the player playing that position commands attention, then it not only allows other weapons to get open, but it also helps the quarterback read the defense and anticipate which receiver is going to be open. Simply put, the Bears did not have an adjustor in that spot last year.

Can Graham still command that type of attention? Maybe. He’s still a big body and has a reputation.

“He’s very, very motivated right now which I love and so it’s just a fit for us of a big sized, 6-6 playmaker that you can get some mismatches with,” Nagy said. “I know me, personally, I’m very, very looking forward to being able to put him in some great situations.” Well, that ends the preseason debate. With Trubisky and Foles in a legitimate quarterback competition, Nagy confirmed that they will play in the preseason.

“Absolutely. It’ll be equal reps and it’ll be a good competition for them. And that kind of goes in tune with what we’re doing really with our whole team,” Nagy said.

He’s not going to have Trubisky and Foles out there playing behind backups, so you can assume most of the starters will play in the preseason. Of course, there will be some exceptions, especially on defense (i.e. Khalil Mack and Akiem Hicks).

So what else are we going to talk about in the preseason? (Assuming there is a preseason.) There was an interesting nugget Nagy slipped into his conference call. Going back to the middle of last season, I’ve been suggesting Nagy scale back the volume in his playbook to help Trubisky run the offense more efficiently. And in discussing how the COVID-19 pandemic will shorten the amount of practice time he’s going to get with his team this year, Nagy casually dropped this in:

“In a good way, it’s going to make you as a coaching staff probably limit the amount of volume that you usually try to get in in a normal situation. I look at it as a positive.”

Interesting.Get ready for the NFL Draft, fantasy style. In the more immediate future, the pandemic is drastically altering this year’s NFL draft. Commissioner Roger Goodell notified teams on Monday that they will have to conduct the draft virtually from their own homes. That means no gathering of any staff in any location. Every person that would usually be in the draft room must be at home. It will be up to the individual teams to use their technology to create virtual draft rooms, have prospect tape available to everyone at the click of a button, and communicate with other teams during the draft.

Rehabbing players are still on track. The one thing that hasn’t changed is that all players recovering from offseason surgeries can still rehab at Halas Hall.

“That’s the one exception. Those guys – Anthony Miller, Roquan Smith, Mitch, Trey Burton – those guys are still able to work from a rehab standpoint. We’ve been able to keep close tabs on that and we feel real good about where those guys are heading. Nothing has changed from an injury update standpoint. All those guys should be ready to roll for training camp.” The impact of this unique draft will be felt in four years. You heard Pace mention it when he talked about the Ifedi acquisition. The Bears scouted the offensive lineman heavily in 2016 and that impacted their decision to sign him in 2020. All teams keep their draft information on every player and use it when those players hit free agency. Thus, the files on this year’s draft class will be a little thinner with fewer in-person visits and some incomplete medical information. I’m sure this is something that will be revisited in 2024. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the Bears might be the best team in the NFC North. My pal Tom Oates detailed in the Wisconsin State Journal how the entire division has failed to improve. He noted that the Packers lost seven key players in free agency, including six starters — most notably: right tackle Bryan Bulaga and inside linebacker Blake Martinez. Meanwhile, after an entire year of talking about how Aaron Rodgers needed better wide receivers and tight ends, Green Bay’s only significant addition has been wide receiver Devin Funchess.

The Vikings, who are in an even worse cap situation than the Bears, traded away wide receiver Stefon Diggs and also said goodbye to defensive tackle Linval Joseph, defensive end Everson Griffen and cornerbacks Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes. It’s starting to look like a rebuild in Minneapolis — at least in 2020.

As for the Lions, well, as I often say, they’re just kind of the Lions.

Oates also broke down all the Bears’ moves, but I think the one thing he is underestimating is how much better off the Bears could be at quarterback. No one is expecting Trubisky or Foles to be anywhere near as good as Rodgers, but just competence and steady play at the quarterback position could make the Bears the favorite in the North right now.

Usually at this point in the year, the owners have already voted on rule changes. But because the NFL Annual Meeting didn’t happen last week, that’s all been tabled until late May. Still, we got one piece of information Monday, via NFL.com’s Judy Battista.

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The NFL announced its All-Decade Team on Monday, and four Chicago Bears players were named among the best players of the 2010’s.

Current Bears Khalil Mack Jersey and Cordarrelle Patterson Jersey were both named to the All-Decade Team, as were legendary kick returner Devin Hester and former defensive end Julius Peppers.

Mack, who was acquired by the Bears prior to the 2018 season, has made the Pro Bowl in each of the last five seasons. In two seasons with the Bears, Mack has registered 11 forced fumbles and recovered three more, with 21 sacks and 94 combined tackles to his credit.

Patterson just wrapped up his first season with the Bears after spending the first six seasons of his career with the Vikings, Raiders and Patriots. In 16 games last season, Patterson racked up 825 kickoff return yards and a touchdown for the Bears, the seventh touchdown return of his NFL career.

For Hester, the All-Decade honor was his second, as he was also named to the All-Decade Team for the 2000’s. Hester played in four seasons with the Bears during the 2010’s, with six punt return touchdowns and a kickoff return touchdown during those seasons. He set a career high for kickoff return yardage with the Bears in 2013, with 1,436 return yards to his credit. He also tied a career high in punt return touchdowns in 2010, scoring three times and appearing in all 16 Bears games.

Peppers spent four seasons with the Bears, appearing in 64 total games. Peppers racked up 37.5 sacks with the Bears during his stint with the team, forcing 10 fumbles and recovering seven more after signing a lucrative free agent contract with the club prior to the 2010 season.

The NFL’s All-Decade Team is chosen every 10 years by the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee.

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It doesn’t make headlines like quarterback trades and tight end travails but the Bears special teams has underwent big changes in free agency and could be poised to build on its modest but much-needed gains last season.

In safety Jordan Lucas Jersey and linebacker Barkevious Mingo Jersey, the Bears this week signed two proven-plus performers in the third phase. They’ve also re-signed long snapper Patrick Scales and safety Deon Bush, and reportedly brought back safety DeAndre Houston-Carson. Their busiest (linebacker Joel Iyiegbuniwe Jersey) and best (wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson) special-teamers are entrenched, and a newcomer, such as Artie Burns Jersey, and still-unknown Devante Bond Jersey also could be ticketed for big kicking-game roles.

However, the Bears let homegrown special teams demon Nick Kwiatkoski leave in free agency, same as fellow linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis, and that’s before we get to their most notable free agent who remains unsigned — Sherrick McManis.

Lest we forget, the Bears added explosive special teams depth last season, including Patterson and Pierre-Louis, but it wasn’t until they learned from their early-season mistake of taking McManis’ helmet that Chris Tabor’s group started to fully click. In weeks two and three when McManis was a healthy scratch, his replacement Buster Skrine Jersey jumped offside on a missed point-after that gifted Denver 2 points and nearly a win, and Chicago ceded a season-high 105 kickoff return yards in Washington.

McManis’ return to the field in Week 4 coincided with the Bears’ best win of the season, and over the next two games, he made the critical, near-game-turning block with remarkable hustle on Tarik Cohen’s punt return in London after a goal-line forced fumble that took seven points off the board, and delivered another critical assist on Cordarrelle Patterson’s kickoff return score vs. the Saints.

In the game when McManis suffered a season-ending groin injury vs. the Giants, the Bears allowed their second-highest kickoff return total of 2019. It was then one step forward and two steps back, with Patterson breaking loose in Detroit to open Week 13 — McManis’ first time being inactive since Week 3 — before the Packers’ previously left-for-dead return game stung Chicago on the frozen tundra two weeks later in its best showing of the season.

Indeed, this isn’t simply a case of absence making the heart grow fonder; McManis’ absence clearly had an adverse effect, whereas his return made a marked if not immediate difference last season.

Now comes the part where we remind everyone that McManis is the Bears’ longest-tenured player, which means no team since Lovie Smith’s penultimate group in Chicago in 2011 knows what it’s like to weather a full season without the soft-spoken and versatile Northwestern product. Are we advising Ryan Pace allows sentiment to factor in his decision? Although we think McManis deserves a better Bears send-off than his trip to IR to end last season or giving up the final touchdown in the wild-card defeat two years ago, and sentiment certainly appeared to be in play with the Jimmy Graham signing and Nick Foles trade, absolutely not.

Alas, it shouldn’t be required in the decision on McManis, who has proved his worth repeatedly to three separate Bears regimes. And if the current one seemingly is gravitating toward 30-somethings in its all-in-on-2020 free-agent approach, wouldn’t it make sense to return the 32-year-old leader of the Bears’ special teams for most of the past decade, whose most recent absence obviously hurt the unit?

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According to media reports, the Bears have agreed to terms with two of their own free agents, safety DeAndre Houston-Carson Jersey and defensive end Brent Urban Jersey.

Houston-Carson, 26, was selected by the Bears in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL Draft out of William & Mary. He has appeared in 48 games the past four seasons, all as a reserve, and played predominantly on special teams.

Last season Houston-Carson appeared in all 16 games for the first time in his career and tied for third on the Bears with six special-teams tackles.

Urban, 28, originally signed with the Bears last Oct. 21, two days after he had been released by the Titans. The 6-7, 300-pounder appeared in the final nine games of the season, all as a reserve, and registered 16 tackles.

Before joining the Bears, Urban had played in 41 games with 19 starts in five seasons with the Ravens (2014-18) and Titans (2019) and compiled 52 tackles, 3.5 sacks and seven tackles-for-loss.

NFL teams are prohibited from officially announcing that they have signed a free agent until 1) the parties have agreed to terms; and 2) the written contract has been sent to the player and his agent.

Due to concerns about the coronavirus, NFL teams are not allowed to meet with players at their facilities or other locations. On Monday, it was announced that no physicals will be conducted on free agents or draft prospects until the COVID-19 pandemic has passed.

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With the majority of free agency done, what does the Chicago Bears defensive line depth chart look like?

Now that we are in the small break between the free agency and the NFL draft, it is a good time to look at the Chicago Bears roster as a whole. What does the depth chart look like heading into the draft, and what are the positions of need that are still unfilled?

Akiem Hicks Jersey only played five games in 2019. He started the first four and came back by the end of the season to get some snaps in before being shut down again when the Bears were out of playoff contention.

Hicks gave his all for the team to come back from injury, and there were stark differences when he was on the field compared to off of it. Hicks is 30 and coming off an injury so there is a concern, but there is no doubt that he is the most important player on this defensive line.

Eddie Goldman Jersey had yet another solid season in 2019. It is worth noting that his snap total went down from 591 the year before to 467 in 2019. Goldman did not suit up Week 17, but still, his snap share has gone down from 57% in 2017 to 52% in 2018 and now 47% last season. He has always been a rotational player, and this speaks more to the depth of the line than Goldman, but still, it is a reason not to expect a bigger role for Goldman moving forward.

Bilal Nichols Jersey saw a good portion of that snaps that Goldman lost in 2019. He went from playing 31% in 2018 to 42%, as he started to break out in year two. Nichols is now heading into year three, and the 47-42% difference in playing time between him and Goldman may get closer in 2020, if not flip towards Nichols.

Brett Urban was brought in after being let go by the Tennessee Titans towards the end of last season. He filled in well and is a solid run defender, but he did not have a market this offseason and re-signed with the Bears on a cheap deal. Urban should make the roster, but he is a depth defensive end.

Abdullah Anderson Jersey is currently the backup nose tackle. Not many others on the roster can stand in the 0 or 1 gap besides Anderson and Goldman and that provides value for Anderson. Anderson played just over 100 snaps in 2019 and struggled when he did get on the field, causing him to be inactive often. Still, that is a step up from his 2018 where he played on the practice squad all year as a rookie UDFA. He has taken steps from Bucknell, to practice squad to active roster. Hopefully 2020 means being a contributor more than a liability.

Still, the Bears have their defensive line set for the most part. They may add depth at both end and nose tackle, but those would be late picks, and more than likely would be UDFA additions due to needs elsewhere. Expect a UDFA nose tackle to be brought in to push Anderson, but do not be surprised if this is the six that are on the initial roster.