Three Bears storylines at the NFL Scouting Combine

With the NFL Scouting Combine upcoming and free agency and the draft on the horizon, the 2018 version of the Chicago Bears will slowly take shape over the next few months. Here are some things to watch as the NFL’s “underwear Olympics” kicks off.

1. What will the Bears do with CB Kyle Fuller?….After the Bears declined the fifth-year option, Fuller turned in his strongest season since his rookie campaign and will look to get paid. Chicago General Manager Ryan Pace’s decision looks precarious now, as the Bears may be forced to franchise tag Fuller in order to keep him. The franchise tag won’t come cheaply (approximately $14-15 million) and though Chicago has plenty of cap space, that’s a lot of money to sink into one player and position. The Bears other corner, Prince Amukumara, is also a free agent. If the Bears allow Fuller to hit the market, it’s highly unlikely he returns to Chicago.  The deadline for franchise players is March 6, which means Pace may have his plan formulated when the Bears entourage hits Indy. READ MORE

Former Bears LB Urlacher earns Hall of Fame honor

New Pro Football Hall of Famer Brian Urlacher discussing strategy with then Bears head coach Lovie Smith.

New Pro Football Hall of Famer Brian Urlacher discussing strategy with then Bears head coach Lovie Smith.

Former Chicago Bears Linebacker Brian Urlacher, who symbolized pro football’s modern player with his speed and range, became the 28th player in franchise history to be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame Saturday evening. Urlacher was elected in his first year of eligibility and gives the Bears the most players to be enshrined in the Canton, Ohio museum.

Urlacher led the Chicago attack unit during former head coach Lovie Smith’s tenure. Unlike the Hall of Fame Bears Linebackers who preceded him (Bill George, Dick Butkus, and Mike Singletary), Urlacher was cut from a different cloth. Smith’s “Cover-2″ defensive scheme fit Urlacher’s skill set perfectly. Measuring 6-feet-4, 255 pounds with 4.6 40-yard dash speed, he combined rare size, speed, and athletic ability to dominate opponents. His range, coverage skills and playmaking prowess were on display during a 13-year career that included a Defensive Player of the Year award, Defensive Rookie Of The Year, five All-Pro and eight Pro Bowl selections. Chicago won four division championships and made trips to the Super Bowl and NFC Championship game during Urlacher’s era. READ MORE

Nagy builds Bears staff with teachers

As new Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy rounds out his initial coaching staff, a reoccurring theme shines through. Each of the new assistants brought on board have reputations as strong teachers of the game.  With some positional coaches yet to be named, the makeup of the staff demonstrates a blend of experience and youth.

Nagy’s first win was retaining Defensive Coordinator Vic Fangio. Fangio’s decision to remain with the Bears on a three-year contract gives both credibility and continuity to Nagy and the franchise. While there is work to be done on that side of the ball, the defensive unit has improved measurably from what Fangio inherited. He’ll have an opportunity to further develop a young corps that includes Leonard Floyd, Eddie Goldman, Eddie Jackson, and Akiem Hicks, among others. It is hoped that several of Fangio’s defensive assistants, including secondary coach Ed Donatell, return. READ MORE