Written by: John Stocco
Even though I’m almost done with the 2019 version of the Chicago Bears I still have to come to the realization that this team is built to win now, and Ryan Pace is not going to give up on the pursuit to win a Super Bowl. The trade deadline is right around the corner and right now the Bears have $17 million in cap space which is 12th right now in the NFL. $17 million certainly gives the Bears enough flexibility to make a move or two to improve the team for 2019, and quite possibly 2020. Here are the players that the Bears should focus on at the trade deadline.
1, Andrew Norwell: G, Jacksonville Jaguars.
If one thing is for sure, the Bears offensive line is horrendous and any acquisition would be an upgrade at this point. Norwell is not just any acquisition, Norwell would be a huge upgrade, and an upgrade that could finally get the running game going. Kyle Long’s days as a Chicago Bear are all but over, and players like Ted Larsen or Rashaad Coward aren’t good enough to be the starter on every snap. It’s the 100th season of Chicago Bears football, and in those 100 seasons, every time the Bears were a successful team they had a great rushing attack. The Bears have the backs, they just have zero protection. Andrew Norwell gives the Bears that protection at the guard position. It would eat up the majority of the Bears cap space, as Norwell is set to make $36.5 million over the next three seasons, but if you win the war upfront you will win football games. So far the Bears have been demolished upfront and Ryan Pace must do whatever it takes to get this starting five fixed.
2, Ty Sambrailo: T/G, Atlanta Falcons.
It sucks to be a Bears fan, but it cannot suck as much as being a Falcons fan right now. 1-6, and their future is anything but bright by being ranked 30th in the NFL salary cap. The Falcons need to focus on the future and they need to shed salary quickly. The Bears could acquire the versatile offensive linemen from the Falcons for a late-round pick. Like James Daniels and Cody Whitehair, I believe Sambrailo is playing the wrong position. The Falcons offensive line is crowded, and with Sambrailo under contract for three more seasons, I think it’s worth the risk of bringing him into Halas Hall and testing the waters with Sambrailo at guard.
3, Cameron Brate: TE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
If you’ve been following my tweets or my articles you know that I absolutely despise the Bears tight end group. Trey Burton looks like he’s ready to quit at any time as we speak, and Adam Shaheen leads the NFL in limping off back to the bench. That leaves us with Ben Braunecker and JP Holtz. Do you get the point? The Bears must add a tight end either via trade, free agency, or the draft. No better option right now than Cameron Brate. The Bucs have been firm on their decision to not trade away OJ Howard, and for the Bucs, I believe that is the right decision. For the Bucs, there are too many mouths to feed on offense when it comes to receivers. Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, OJ Howard, and Cameron Brate. One of those tight ends are bound to go, and the Bears should be all in on Brate. Brate is not only a safety blanket with dependable hands-on short passing plays, but he’s also an option as a deep threat. Too bad we don’t have a quarterback who can throw the ball deep. Brate signed an extension with the Bucs, and he’s barely being targeted. Matt Nagy’s offense heavily relies on a tight end, and Brate would instantly become a massive hit in Nagy’s offense. Bucs might want to cut salary as they look to regroup with Evans, Godwin, Howard, and a new quarterback.
4, Cam Newton: QB, Carolina Panthers.
It’s pretty obvious that Cam Newton is no longer the guy in Carolina. Kyle Allen has been given every opportunity to take the job, and even though he’s not completely lighting up the scoreboard, the Panthers are winning with him taking snaps behind center. Cam Newton is going to be out there for the taking, and the Bears would be fools not to at least kick the tires on the idea. It hasn’t looked pretty for Cam Newton. It has looked awful for him to say the least. Cam Newton has taken too much abuse, and I really think he needs the time off to heal the wounds. Cam is well-rested, and bringing him to a new team could bring back the fire in his game. There was nobody more exciting than Cam Newton. His swagger and his confidence lifted the Panthers’ locker room and made people believe that they were the NFL’s best team. Cam Newton is a former MVP, and maybe he needs an identity change. Bringing him to a new team, bringing him into a new atmosphere, and pairing him with a coach like Matt Nagy could rejuvenate his career.
5, Andy Dalton: QB, Cincinnati Bengals.
By naming two quarterbacks you could tell that I’m done with Mitch Trubisky. It’s time to admit we were wrong about him and pull the plug. The Bears can’t stick around and hope he figures it out. This is a win-now situation and the Bears can’t care about egos and feelings right now. Get the Red Rifle to Chicago immediately. The Bengals are in the race for the number one pick of the NFL draft, and 99.8% chance they’re going to draft a quarterback. I believe in Andy Dalton’s talents. Sure it hasn’t looked pretty, but who on earth would actually look good playing for the Bengals? Andy Dalton opens up the Matt Nagy playbook and it gives the Bears more chances to throw down the field and get more receivers involved in the game plan. I’m not saying Andy Dalton is the future, but this gives the Bears a better chance at winning football games while we draft a quarterback in the early rounds and have him sit for a season while learning the complicated Matt Nagy playbook. Sounds familiar? Say hello to Alex Smith and Patrick Mahomes back when Matt Nagy was the Chiefs, offensive coordinator. I think that worked out pretty well.
If this was baseball or Madden, Andy Dalton and Cameron Brate would be on the Bears today.