Barnwell’s NFC North report cards: Chicago’s head-scratching offseason

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Updated: May 19, 2017

8:07 AM ET

It’s time to reflect on the 2017 offseason. There are a few stray veterans left in the free-agent pool, and teams could still execute something unexpected if injuries arise, but organizations have mostly closed their checkbooks and built the rosters they’re going to take onto the field in September.

Of course, we can know only so much right now. This time last year, there was no way anybody knew that the Cowboys had drafted a franchise quarterback. Kyle Shanahan was lucky to survive the offseason in Atlanta as an offensive coordinator, let alone be considering head-coaching roles.

At the same time, we can look at what each team’s goals were (or should have been) heading into March and gain a sense of whether they did enough to address those concerns. In most cases, we also can plot what they have to do before hitting Week 1.

We’ll run division by division over the next two weeks. Time for the NFC North, where everyone’s trying to dethrone the Packers yet again …

Bears | Lions | Packers | Vikings


Chicago Bears

What went right

The Bears’ secondary is better. After fielding a series of truly terrifying defensive backfields since Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings left town, they finally invested in upgrades this offseason. They found a good deal on Prince Amukamara, signing the former Giants corner to a one-year, $7 million deal after he had a solid season in Jacksonville. The three-year, $16 million deal they gave Marcus Cooper isn’t quite as promising, but it’s reasonable money for a player who has looked competent at times for the Chiefs and Cardinals. Quintin Demps isn’t a star, but he’s a functional safety. These are all upgrades for a unit that sunk below the depths of replacement level far too frequently last season.

What went wrong

They threw assets at their quarterback situation and came away with question marks. Even if the Bears end up finding a useful quarterback out of the combination of Mike Glennon and Mitchell Trubisky, it’s difficult to admire how they approached the market in doing so. General manager Ryan Pace committed $18.5 million in guarantees to Glennon despite suggestions that nobody else was interested in coming close to matching Chicago’s offer. It’s hard to imagine that there was an enormous market of teams lining up to give Glennon starting quarterback money, given his relative ineffectiveness during his time with the Bucs and perennial inaccuracy dating back to college.

Pace then usurped Glennon before the QB ever took a snap by trading up one spot with the 49ers to grab Trubisky in the draft at No. 2 overall. Chicago was able to recoup some of the picks it gave up in the Trubisky deal by trading down with Arizona on Day 2, but it’s telling that the Browns and 49ers — two teams in desperate need of a quarterback — didn’t think Trubisky was worth taking with the first or second overall selection. (The Bears could have also made that Day 2 trade with the Cardinals without making the Trubisky deal and just enjoyed extra picks.)