Mrs. O’Leary’s cow didn’t start this fire, but big changes are coming to Chicago.
When GM Ryan Pace took the job this offseason, he knew there was a lot of work to be done. Former GM Phil Emery had his vision for the team and when he was let go, the players were left in a bit of limbo. Whenever a new regime comes to any company, or team in this case, there’s an air of uncertainty. The players have their gripe, as they were brought to Chicago to do a job and they aren’t done yet. The Front Office also has a gripe, and rightly has no loyalty due towards these players, and will do with them as they see fit. We’re starting to see some of that going on right now. Described by some as a “purge”, the Bears are clearly looking towards the future after an 0-3 start.
This week alone, Brock Vereen, a fourth round safety in the 2014 Draft was released. Veteran DE/OLB Jared Allen was traded to the Panthers for a sixth round pick. The Allen move could have been seen coming; an aging veteran who has aspirations to be on a competing team before his career is over and a team looking to move on from the previous leadership of the organization. Vereen however, is a young player who was thought to have a bright future at one time. Clearly the Bears’ brass didn’t see the same and suffered little penalty from parting with the second year Safety.
There have also been rumblings for the better part of a year that the Bears may be looking to part ways from their “franchise” signal caller Jay Cutler, who has been ripped apart by the media. From being a bad teammate, to one lacking intestinal fortitude, to simply not being a good player, Cutler has been a scapegoat for the media for all of these allegations. While I don’t see it that way, it can’t be ignored that this team is headed in a new direction and it’s completely justified to consider moving on from Cutler. He’s only part way through his seven-year $126 million dollar contract in Chicago. It’s unlikely that the Bears will find a suitor for Cutler due to his large contract. If they’re willing to look at trading their starting QB, they’ll look at moving all players as evidenced by the latest rumors.
Matt Forte, the bell cow of this offense for years now, has been talked about being on the trade block and receiving “mild interest” from other teams. Forte is a dynamic talent, as he’s a threat running the ball as well as a major threat to catch passes out of the backfield. Already this season he leads the team in rushing and is third in receptions entering Week 4.
Forte is on the wrong side of 25 and has had a lot of touches over his career. It’s tough to speculate, but it’s not unforeseen for a player like Forte to drastically decline over the next couple of seasons: (see Michael Turner and LaDainian Tomlinson). It will be interesting to see how this proceeds moving forward.
This past draft, we started to get an idea what Pace and the new regime are looking to do. Kevin White in the first round presents immense upside for the future. Eddie Goldman is a huge body up front who also provides versatility across Vic Fangio’s defensive line. Hronnis Grasu is a very smart, technically sound football player at center. Jeremy Langford is a solid runner who is very dependable, and Adrian Amos is a versatile defensive back. These are building blocks for the future and Pace will keep cleaning shop until he has the team that he wants. The question is, who’s next?