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.
With speculation about Sean Desai possibly joining the Seahawks, do you think the Bears would consider bringing back Vic Fangio as their defensive coordinator in 2022?
That decision no doubt will be made by the Bears' next head coach, and until that person is hired, it's really impossible to speculate about the likelihood of Vic Fangio returning to the team as defensive coordinator. Another factor, of course, is whether Fangio would want to return if the Bears were interested in him. He signed a four-year contract in 2019 when he was hired as Broncos head coach, so he will still be paid by Denver in 2022 despite being relieved of his duties. Given his reputation as an excellent defensive coordinator—most recently with the Bears from 2015-18—I'm sure Fangio will have several options. Other veteran coaches who likely will draw interest as defensive coordinators include former Ravens defensive coordinator Don Martindale and former Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer, a long-time defensive coordinator with the Cowboys, Falcons and Bengals.
With their general manager and head coach positions currently empty, why did the Bears sign 11 players to future/reserve contracts, and who is making those decisions?
Shortly after their seasons end, NFL teams typically sign several players from their practice squad to reserve/future contracts. And that was the case with the Bears, who inked 11 players Jan. 11. All 11 spent part or all of the season on their practice squad, and eight of the players appeared in regular-season games. Those signed to reserve/future contracts were defensive tackles Auzoyah Alufohai and LaCale London, receivers Isaiah Coulter and Nsimba Webster, offensive linemen Dieter Eiselen and Tyrone Wheatley Jr.., cornerbacks Michael Joseph and BoPete Keyes, outside linebackers Ledarius Mack and Charles Snowden, and quarterback Ryan Willis. In terms of who signed those players, the Bears are still operating with a fully intact personnel department despite general manager Ryan Pace being relieved of his duties. The department is headed by director of player personnel Josh Lucas and assistant director of player personnel Champ Kelly.
What is the status of contracts for Dazz Newsome and Thomas Graham Jr.? They were not listed as free agents in your recent "Chalk Talk."
All NFL rookies selected in the second round and later in the NFL Draft sign four-year contracts. So, 2021 sixth-round choices Dazz Newsome and Thomas Graham Jr. are both under contract through the 2024 season. Players picked in the first-round also ink four-year deals, but their contracts include a fifth-year option that their teams can either pick up or decline. The Bears, for example, picked up 2018 first-round selection Roquan Smith's fifth-year option for 2022.
Chalk Talk features fan questions multiple times each week. Email your question to Larry.