Pro Football Weekly editors Jon Styf and Kyle Nabors debate the best way to fix the Chicago Bears' issues this offseason.
Styf: The Bears have been a mess for awhile, we know that. And no amount of GM/coach changes can fix a bad organization, the Browns keep proving that. But I actually am optimistic that the Bears are headed in the right direction and it's the draft that will take them there. They just need to be better to go all in on free agency, where for now it's all about finding value where other teams don't see it. As I've said before, I think the Bears had a great draft last year, and yes I think Adam Shaheen will be a productive player too. Another one of those and we could be looking at an 8-8 or better team next year fighting for a wild card spot.
Nabors: We're actually on the same page for once. It's definitely an odd feeling, but you're right. I think there's reason for optimism, and I actually anticipate the Bears challenging for a playoff spot next year. That doesn't mean they'll make it, but I believe the pressure will really build on Ryan Pace if this team isn't playing meaningful games in December. The question I keep asking myself is which positional upgrade would have the most impact?
Styf: They need people to catch the football. Shaheen is a project but he's huge and athletic and seemed to be getting better at catching the ball as the season went on. Once you get better wide receivers, it opens up the running game and Mitch Trubisky will be able to show his capabilities. They also can use an upgrade at corner and no team can have too many top pass rushers. But even if they don't go after a wide receiver in Round 1, there are usually plenty of impact guys in Rounds 2-4 to get a couple that can help. This is also a key area for finding value in free agency. Don't expect the Bears to get a No. 1 guy there, but they need to get better at Nos. 2-6 too, because injuries happen often. You can't expect Kevin White to ever be the guy here, but what if he was at least a decent downfield threat, you added two guys in the draft and a couple more in free agency with Cam Meredith returning too? Maybe there's a decent receiving corps in there.
Nabors: I don't expect the Bears to target a receiver in the first round. Pace can't afford another miss on a wide receiver in the Top 10. It's more likely they target a top wideout in free agency (Allen Robinson, Sammy Watkins) and then take another in the draft's middle to late rounds. But the biggest impact has to be an edge rusher. Leonard Floyd has looked terrific when healthy. He's having trouble staying on the field, and even then, the Bears need someone on the other side.
Styf: We'll find out pretty quick next season, but after Year 1 do you think that doing all they could to get Trubisky was the right move? Or will he be the next Cade McNown and ... well, you remember him. And who will be the backup next year, assuming Mike Glennon doesn't feel bad enough about the $18.5 million guaranteed he signed for and play for free this year. Mark Sanchez can't be your quarterback if Trubisky gets hurt.
Nabors: Well, Pace has claimed that teams should take a quarterback in the draft every year, but he hasn't followed his own advice. I'm not sure who the backup will be. Though, it's probably not Mike Glennon unless he returns on a much cheaper deal. When you put it that way, a quality left tackle in the first round doesn't sound like a bad idea.
Styf: The Bears and Trubisky could definitely use one of those. I'll ask again because you dodged me the first time. How very John Fox of you. Is Trubisky the answer for the Bears?
Nabors: If I was Fox, I would have told you it's all a problem. And, yes, the Bears will be competing for a playoff spot in the near future because of Trubisky.