Khalil Mack
© Brace Hemmelgarn | 2018 Dec 30
Khalil Mack © Brace Hemmelgarn | 2018 Dec 30

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Sloan Analytics Conference gave the Raiders the best transaction award for receiving "two 1st round picks, one 2nd round pick, and one third round pick" and the deal was 2 first round picks, a third, and a sixth, so did they incorrectly state the transaction or did they incorrectly analyze the trade? Submitted by Tim K.

Tim, I haven’t wasted any time reading something as silly as the Sloan Analytics story, but if it’s written as you say, not only did they embarrass themselves by suggesting the Raiders won the trade or made a good move, they didn’t bother to get the trade right and therefore didn’t even analyze it correctly.

The Raiders got the Bears' 2019 and 2020 first-round picks, third rounder in 2020 and a sixth-round pick in 2019 in exchange for Mack, their second-round pick in 2020 and a conditional fifth-round pick in 2020.

The suggestion that the Raiders made a “good” deal — let alone the “best” deal — is both laughable and absurd. But in fairness to the Raiders, if the only way they could keep Mack was to give him the same deal the Bears did, they couldn’t keep him.

When the Bears guaranteed Mack $90 million of the $143 million in his contract, they had to put that money in escrow.

The Raiders didn’t have that cash to escrow.

When you look at the Raiders' three big signings this year — Trent Brown, Tyrell Williams and Lamarcus Joyner, all of whom they ridiculously overpaid for — the total guaranteed dollars is $78.75 million, which had to be escrowed.

How did these folks come up with something so dumb?

As Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, who is apparently one of the founders of the conference explained: “Analytics tend to fly in the face of popular convention pretty often. We don’t really care what people say.”

Obviously.

They also don’t know anything about football.

Obviously, if the Raiders find a couple of perennial All Pros with those draft picks, they’ll start to look a lot smarter.

But right now the Bears are the huge winners, probably should have gotten the Sloan award and the Raiders look like fools.

What kind of deal is Justin Houston looking at this point in FA? Submitted by Neely

Neely, everything I’ve heard is that Houston, who will still be only 30 this season and has been relatively healthy the last two seasons, is looking for a multi-year deal and real money.

That said, I’ve also heard he very much wants a ring and will only talk seriously with contenders, at least for right now.

Houston’s problem is going to be that the teams that best fit his criteria – Patriots, Saints, Bears, Chiefs, Cowboys, Eagles and Seahawks – are all tight on cap space and may be reluctant to offer any more than a one-year, prove-it deal.

The one exception is a club not on my list but with a real need and by far the most cap space in the league — approximately $75 million — and that’s the Indianapolis Colts.

We should also note the guy in charge in Indy was the Director of Pro Personnel in Kansas City with Houston, Chris Ballard.

One of the reasons Ballard has so much cap space is he is the most fiscally responsible general manager in the league and he will not overpay for anyone, but there is no hurry for Houston to make a deal. He may wait until after the draft, when some teams may be even more desperate for a professional pass rusher, and the fit in Indianapolis is too good to ignore.

Why doesn't Bronco Nagurski get more love? I mean football champion war champion wrestling champion the guy is probably the greatest character in Chicago sports history but never gets mentioned. Submitted by Mr. Bearup

OK ... is this a serious question? Nagurski is a charter inductee into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1963, was voted to the NFL’s all-time 75th Anniversary Team and the 1930’s Team of The Decade, his number has been retired by the Bears and the University of Minnesota and he is pretty much universally recognized as the greatest fullback of all time.

But Nagurski died 29 years ago at the age of 81 after retiring from football in 1943 — 75 years ago.

In what context would you like to see him get more love?

Or let me put this in a different context. Nagurski retired from the NFL 10 years before I was born — and I’m older than dirt, easily the oldest member of the media still on the Bears beat.

I’m just not sure where, when, how and why you’d like to see him get more love.

What are Ha Ha Clinton-Dix’s biggest strengths and weaknesses as a safety? Submitted by Gill Martin

Gill, Clinton-Dix is one of the most talented ball-hawking safeties in the NFL (17 INTs and 4 FFs), and until the last year and a half or so one of the best coverage safeties in the game (39 passes defensed).

For context, Adrian Amos, in one less season, leaves the Bears with 4 INTs and three FFs.

Where Clinton-Dix struggles is he is not a physical player and not a great presence against the run. That said, he has averaged 77 ½ solo tackles a year in his five seasons while Amos has averaged 58 ¾ solos over four seasons.

The reason the Packers quit on Clinton-Dix is he appeared to lose focus and avoid contact over the last year and a half or so. Why, I can’t really tell you.

But on a one-year, prove-it deal at the bargain rate of $3.5 million — compared to what other starting safeties will be earning and still just 27 years old — if Clinton-Dix reverts to his 2014-16 form, he is a huge upgrade over Amos and costs far less.

If Clinton-Dix does not improve over his play of the last season and a half, he still may be an upgrade for the Bears, who had the NFL’s best run defense last season. And with his coverage and ball-hawking skills, playing next to two first-team All Pros in Eddie Jackson and Kyle Fuller, the Bears may just have the best coverage secondary in the league.

Paper or plastic? Submitted by Jim Gottberg

It’s paper all the time for me. It’s because I assume paper is far more recyclable and biodegradable than plastic and better for the environment, but I must admit way back in the day I never met a science class I couldn’t flunk and I don’t know that my assumptions are solid.

I mean well and I hope I’m doing the right thing?

Did u see the toy story 4 trailer? Are u playing the Powerball 2nite? (I met u in 1989 at NBC tower) Do u have a "man cave" at home? Have u created a bucket list? Submitted by Dan Hawker

Dan, not only have I not seen the Toy Story 4 trailer, I didn’t know there was a 3 and I’ve never seen 1 or 2. I have absolutely nothing against Buzz Lightyear — and I love Tom Hanks. It’s just that my kids were already teens when 1 came out and my grandkids didn’t start coming until the Toy Story ship had sailed for me.

I will throw away a couple bucks on Powerball. You can’t win if you don’t play, and if I do win I promise to give a ton of it away to charity. Hopefully the big guy is listening.

No man cave. I’m still trying to figure out how to use the VCR I can’t get tapes for — am I the only one who misses Blockbuster? — I have never played a video game and I suck at pool. We do have a home theatre, surround sound setup in the family room because my wife and I are hopelessly addicted to The Voice.

Technically, I guess I have to say no bucket list. My wife, our five kids and five grandchildren have blessed us more than I could have ever imagined, although I’d love another dozen or so grandkids if anyone’s listening — Billy, Arthur, Josie, Taylor and Kevin.

I joined the Bears radio broadcast in 1985, finally got my Cubs World Series at the age of 63, enjoyed three Hawks Cups and six Jordan/Bulls titles and I satisfied my skydiving jones before Candace found out the life insurance policy wouldn’t pay if my chute didn’t open and put an end to that.

The only things I need before I croak are a trip to Israel and just one more Bears Lombardi Trophy. A couple of wishes but not enough to call a list, is it?