Wondering about a player, a past game or another issue involving the Bears? Senior writer Larry Mayer answers a variety of questions from fans on ChicagoBears.com.
What type of impact do you expect Cordarrelle Patterson to make with the Bears?
I think there's a good chance that Cordarrelle Patterson makes a big impact with the Bears both on offense and special teams. As one of the best kickoff returners in the NFL, he instantly upgrades a weakness for the Bears, who ranked last in the NFL in kickoff returns last season with a 19.1-yard average. Patterson has returned six kickoffs for touchdowns in his six-year NFL career—with two coming against the Bears at Soldier Field—and is a threat to go the distance each time he touches the ball. During this past season, Bears special teams coordinator Chris Tabor described him as "a locomotive coming downhill." I met Patterson this week at Halas Hall and he's bigger than you'd expect. It'll also be interesting to see how he's employed on offense. Patterson has played receiver and running back in the past, and given coach Matt Nagy's creativity and penchant for lining up some players all over the field, I'm sure the Bears will try to take advantage of Patterson's tremendous versatility and athleticism.
Regardless of any past success the Bears have had I do not want them using one of their few draft picks this year to take a kicker. I believe they would be best suited by setting up a competition between an undrafted gem and a veteran free agent. What are your thoughts?
If there's a kicker that general manager Ryan Pace deems worthy of being selected on the third and final day of the draft, I would have absolutely no problem with that—especially given that the Bears have two picks in the seventh round. Coming off a 12-4 season with 21 of 22 starters under contract, the Bears are in position to spend a draft pick on a good kicker. It's probably their most pressing need and one of the few positions on the roster that no one would argue absolutely needs to be upgraded. I don't think that teams with more holes than the Bears generally should spend a draft pick on the kicker, but a good kicker could be among the final pieces the Bears need to advance deep into the playoffs and win a championship.
How many Bears free agents have signed with other teams so far?
Four Bears players have joined other teams since the start of free agency: Safety Adrian Amos (Packers), receivers Joshua Bellamy (Jets) and Kevin White (Cardinals) and guard Eric Kush (Browns). That leaves eight Bears unrestricted free agents still unsigned in nickel back Bryce Callahan, tight end Daniel Brown, outside linebacker Aaron Lynch, punter Patrick O'Donnell, fullback Michael Burton, running back Benny Cunningham, offensive lineman Bryan Witzmann and cornerback Marcus Williams.