It hasn’t exactly been a banner season for the Chicago Bears. Their defense has bled talent all season due to injury, their franchise-tagged #1 wide receiver has been in-and-out with injury and suspension, and they are on their third-string quarterback. It’s no surprise that they have been bounced from playoff contention early this year. As they look forward to 2017, there are questions about for the once-proud franchise.
Is 2017 John Fox’s last year (does he even make it to 2017)?
There are a lot of problems with John Fox, and a lot of benefits of having him as your coach. It boils down to two things: Fox can make a good roster great (see Denver) and he has a lot of trouble developing young quarterbacks. The Bears don’t have a good roster, and they are going to need some quarterback development over the next few years. Fox may be on his way out because he doesn’t fit the needs of the team right now.
Who is in the 2017 quarterback room?
Jay Cutler is definitely out. Brian Hoyer could stick around as a backup, but who else is in there? Has Matt Barkley earned the right to stick around? It’s likely the Bears are picking a quarterback as their first rounder (because they desperately need one and desperate franchises reach). Then they might bring in a veteran on his last legs like Ryan Fitzpatrick, just to see what happens. It’s a certainty, however, that the man who is under center in week one isn’t on the roster already.
Is Alshon Jeffery back?
The Bears’ best wide receiver has had a bad year, highlighted by a four-game suspension for PEDs. They weren’t able to work out a long-term deal with Jeffery last year, and he got slapped with the franchise tag. According to OverTheCap, he currently has the highest non-QB salary of all pending free agents. He will likely get a big money deal elsewhere by a desperate franchise looking to rebuild their franchise good will with the fans. A smart team won’t give Jeffery the money he wants, but are the Bears a smart team?
How can they improve this defense?
The Bears’ defense was pretty middle-of-the-road in yards, scores, and DVOA, but it isn’t a playoff competitor defense, not with this offense. Do they eschew a QB in the first to snag one of the great defenders at the top? They’re tied for #6 in sacks as I write this, but they could definitely use one of the pass rushers at the top of the draft. More than likely, however, they will need a secondary playmaker (they’re tied for #26 with seven interceptions this year).
Are they destined to the dumpster in 2017?
The Vikings are resurgent behind their amazing defense, the Lions behind Matthew Stafford and Jim Bob Cooter are looking like the real deal and the Packers are the Packers. Even if the Bears get better this year, they aren’t nearly as good as any of those teams. They need two of them to collapse in a big way to have any sort of playoff chance next year, so all these questions may not even mean anything next year.