A New Clean
Chicago goes fire sale earlier than expected
In something that has never been heard of or done before, the Chicago Bears began cleaning house after Week 3.
Jared Allen and Jon Bostic were traded for 6th Round picks, to the Carolina Panthers and New England Patriots, respectively, and Brock Vereen (once the starting safety) was cut. All of these moves further cemented that the Ryan Pace Era is here, building the roster according to his beliefs and views of how football should be played. Some have even estimated that less than 8 players will be left from the Jerry Angelo and Phil Emery years.
However, these moves have not only put certain players on notice, but even after a Week 4 victory over the Raiders signified to others that the Bears do not consider themselves a playoff contender. The Allen move was well documented as a deal that not only helped the Bears, but honored the aging veteran with his wishes of playing in a 4-3 scheme for a contender. Willie Young took notice of this and before the victorious locker room had emptied, stated his case for wanting to be traded as well. While Young may have been the first outspoken veteran asking to be moved, he will not be the last, especially with a roster loaded with aging players who want to win.
Ultimately, Ryan Pace may be starting a trend for the NFL. Why do General Managers have to wait until the offseason to begin their rebuild? If they can get value for players on their roster today, versus cutting them later, shouldn’t they field offers and make deals? Think about this, Pace got two 6th round picks in his deals and eliminated future cap hits for players that were going to be cut! Who wouldn’t make those trades? Moreover, Bears fans need to trust Pace, as his 2015 draft has led to 3 starters (Eddie Goldman, Hroniss Grasu and Adrian Amos) without their 1st round pick playing yet (Kevin White)!
Furthermore, it sounds like the Bears are not done. According to multiple sources, no one on the roster is “untouchable,” and this includes Matt Forte and Alshon Jeffery. I would expect Forte to be with another team before the trade deadline on November 3rd, especially with Jeremy Langford (another Pace draft pick) looking more than suitable to be Forte’s replacement. The big question will be the value that Pace can get for Forte? As for Jeffery, this is an interesting situation, as he will be a restricted free agent next year, but losing him may leave the Bears without any top wide receivers, depending on Kevin White’s return.
No matter what happens with the Bears, Pace may have made the NFL trading deadline a must watch. Who knows what other cellar dwellers will catch on and begin to move their assets to contenders that are one player away from being playoff to Super Bowl bound. As for the fans, teams who embrace the rebuilding process as a season-long effort not only give them excitement today, but hope for the future.