Bears GM Ryan Pace Aiming To Put Chicago Back On The Map

Ryan PaceAfter a disappointing 2015 Chicago Bears 6-10 campaign, the Bears are playing no games this offseason. General Manager Ryan Pace’s rebuilding plan has gotten off to a thunderous start.

In February, the Bears bid farewell to fan-favorite running back Matt Forte. Forte rushed for 8,602 yards in eight seasons with the organization that drafted him. The 2008 second-round pick will be joining former Bear Brandon Marshall in New York with the Jets.

Most spectators were devastated after Forte’s departure.

Chin up, Bears fans.

Newly hired Offensive Coordinator Dowell Loggains will be putting faith in Jeremy Langford, who made some noise while Forte was sidelined with a knee sprain last season. Ka’Deem Carey and Jacquizz Rodgers will accompany Langford in the backfield.

The Monsters of the Midway also released left tackle Jermon Bushrod following a failed physical. Bushrod spent three seasons protecting Jay Cutler’s blind side. He will be taking his talents to South Beach with the Miami Dolphins. The Bears will look to Charles Leno, Jr. to replace him; he started 13 games at the position last year.

One major priority entering the offseason was locking up star wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, who was going to be an unrestricted free agent. The Bears got the job done for the moment, at least.

Jeffery was franchise tagged for $14,599,000. Now, he’s required to attend June’s veteran minicamp and training camp or he will receive a fine. “The Show” caught 54 passes for 807 yards and four TD’s this past season despite his term being cut short due to a hamstring injury.

On March 9, free agency officially began. The Bears entered with 17 unrestricted free agents.

A player the Bears would love to have return in 2016 is 31-year-old tight end Zach Miller.

Miller recorded admirable numbers last season with five TDs and 34 receptions. The Bears are reportedly ready to move on from Martellus Bennett, therefore sustaining Miller is imperative. Losing both Miller and Bennett would lead to zero production from the position- a major step backward in the Bears offensive scheme.

Pace began free agency with an exclamation point after he made some valuable acquisitions.

Cornerback Tracy Porter, who the Bears anticipated to bring back, will continue to don the blue and orange uniform until 2018. The 29-year-old’s career rejuvenated after a noteworthy season, which included 35 tackles and one interception. Porter has been injury prone most of his career, but when healthy, he can make key plays down the stretch. He will compete alongside former first round-pick Kyle Fuller and Bryce Callahan.

Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio hoped for a solid linebacker to work with in the 2016-17 season. After experimenting with Christian Jones and free agent Shea McClellin, he sought for an upgrade.

To answer his prayers, linebacker Danny Trevathan was inked to a four-year deal. The leading tackler for the 2015 Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos has three years of experience under coach John Fox. Trevathan will join fellow newcomer Jerrell Freeman, previously the second leading tackler for the Indianapolis Colts. The Bears finally have depth at the position, and arguably received their best upgrade since former captains Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs left.

Additionally, defensive end Akiem Hicks agreed to terms with the Bears on a two-year deal. Hicks was traded from the New Orleans Saints to the New England Patriots last season. At 6’5”, 318 pounds, he is a solid fit for the Bears 3-4 defense. Plus, the California native is a strong run defender.

It seems like the defensive depth fans have longed for quite some time is finally back.

To further protect the line of scrimmage, the Bears searched for more grit on their O-line. Welcome former Arizona Cardinals right tackle Bobby Massie. Massie’s arrival moves three-time Pro Bowl offensive lineman Kyle Long to his original position of right guard.

Looking ahead, Chicago’s first selection in the 2015 NFL Draft will finally be able to perform. All eyes will be on rookie wide receiver Kevin White, who sat out in 2015 as a result of a shin ailment.

White is a 23-year-old from West Virginia University. The wideout is known for his physique at 6’3″, 217 pounds. Not to mention, at the 2015 NFL Combine he ran a 4.35 40-yard-dash. The last player to register those numbers at White’s size was former Detroit Lions star Calvin Johnson, who recently announced his retirement. The man should be a huge complement to Jay Cutler’s offense.

Overall, this Bears squad is going to look very different next season. Keep in mind, the 2016 NFL Draft is upon us in April. The excitement has only just begun.

After years of struggling to contend, something needed to change. Thus far, significant adjustments have been made, and Ryan Pace is shaping this team to be a tough out next season.