So, Lord willing and the creek don’t rise, RB Mike Davis and nickel CB Buster Skrine are the newest Bears.
Neither can sign contracts until 3:00 Wednesday, but it’s obviously their agents leaking these deals and the products of the early negotiating period rarely are overturned.
By Allen Robinson, Bobby Massie, Trey Burton, Akiem Hicks, Danny Trevathan and even Prince Amukamara standards, don’t be holding your breath waiting for the Earth to move or the ground to shift underneath you.
But the two signings are interesting to say the least.
Skrine is the more obvious and logical move, so let’s take it first.
If you were watching closely and saw what the Detroit Lions agreed to pay nickel back Justin Coleman ($36 million) Monday, or what the Ravens gave Tavon Young a couple weeks ago ($25.8 million), you had to know the Bears couldn’t re-sign Bryce Callahan.
Callahan is just as good as Skrine, but the Bears' salary cap limitations with other needs to address made keeping him a huge gamble and fiscally irresponsible.
Once the Bears were relegated to the bargain rack, Skrine was the most attractive prize in the store.
Both Callahan and Skrine are between 5-9 and 5-10 and a tightly packed 185 pounds.
Skrine is 2 ½ years older than Callahan and will turn 30 on Day 2 of this year’s draft, but he has been more durable than Callahan and is a notch faster.
At $16.5 million with half of it guaranteed over three years, Skrine appears to be a safer and better fit.
He is also likely to be extremely hungry to win after dual four-year stints in the wastelands of the Cleveland Browns and more recently the New York Jets defensive backfields.
The Davis signing will be more complicated until we learn exactly how Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy view it later in the week.
What is easily lost in all the focus on Jordan Howard and the limitations of the Bears running game in 2018 is that Benny Cunningham, the Bears third-down back and a valuable special teamer is a free agent.
As a replacement and possibly an upgrade over Cunningham, Davis is three years younger (turned 26 in February), almost identical in size at 5-9, 218 and noticably quicker, faster and more elusive.
Like Cunningham, he is a good receiver out of the backfield and a nice fit in Nagy’s offense.
But there is absolutely nothing in Davis’ background or on his resume to suggest he can fill Howard’s shoes.
A fifth-round choice out of Indiana, Howard has missed just one game in three seasons and started 44-of-48, and I’m sorry if you’re tired of hearing it but he is the NFL’s third-leading rusher, trailing only Todd Gurley and Ezekiel Elliott over that time frame.
Davis was drafted in the fourth round in 2015 by the 49ers and played in just six games with no starts, and he got one start in 2016 while getting into eight games total.
He was cut by the Niners and picked up by the Seahawks in 2017, earning six starts in six games, and two starts in 15 games last season.
We should also note in ’15 and ’16 he played behind Carlos Hyde (who missed half of 2015) and ex-Bear Shaun Draughn and couldn’t take carries away from them, and in Seattle he was unable to beat out Chris Carson and J.D. McKissic, among several others for playing time.
Davis’ career numbers are 234-862-5 rushing and 59-408-1 receiving.
Howard’s are 778-3,370-24 on the ground and 72-568-1 receiving in one less season.
The idea that all that ails the Bears ground game is a back who better fits the offense than Howard is extremely silly, and assuming a career backup and rookie, Day 2 or Day 3 draft choice is an upgrade over Howard is playing with fire.
We have to hope that Davis is targeted as a replacement for Cunningham, and if so, like Skrine he could be a promising move.
But the Bears still have a lot of work to do if the plan is to move on from Howard.