Chalk Talk

Chalk Talk: What is deepest position in free agency?

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 position do you see as the deepest heading into free agency?
Tim H.
Roselle, Illinois

I’d say that the safety position looks to be the deepest in free agency this year. In addition to the Bears’ Adrian Amos, other safeties set to hit the open market include the Giants’ Landon Collins, the Texans’ Tyrann Mathieu, the Seahawks’ Earl Thomas, the Cardinals’ Tre Boston, the Redskins’ Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, the Jaguars’ Tashaun Gipson and the Rams’ Lamarcus Joyner. As you can see, there's a lot of depth and talent there. The next couple of days certainly will be interesting. NFL teams were permitted to begin negotiating with free agents at 11 a.m. (CT) Monday and can begin signing them at 3 p.m. Wednesday.

Which veteran kickers are available for the Bears to sign?
Walter S.
Midlothian, Illinois

The top veteran kickers who are due to become free agents are the Patriots’ Stephen Gostkowski and the Jets’ Jason Myers. Matt Bryant also will be available after the Falcons announced that they will not exercise his option for the 2019 season. Gostkowski has been incredibly consistent and Myers was voted to the Pro Bowl this past season after struggling a bit the previous year with the Jaguars. Bryant made 20 of 21 field-goal attempts last season, but he had some injury issues and will turn 44 in May.

I’m hoping the Bears can land a running back in the mid-rounds of the draft. Is it just me or have some of the best backs in the league been picked in the third round or later?
Harold P.
Oregon

That’s certainly been the case in recent years. Just look at the Bears; they picked Jordan Howard in the fifth round in 2016 and Tarik Cohen in the fourth round in 2017 and both have performed well and been voted to the Pro Bowl. The third round in 2017 produced three running backs who also have been named to the Pro Bowl in the Saints’ Alvin Kamara, the Chiefs’ Kareem Hunt and the Steelers’ James Conner. Bears general manager Ryan Pace was asked at the NFL Combine why teams can often find productive running backs in the middle rounds of the draft. Here’s what he had to say: “Running back is such an instinctive position, and I think as scouts sometimes we can get enamored with height/weight/speed, when really that position starts with instincts and vision, and I think we always have to be mindful of that and not overlooking that. I think sometimes scouts trip themselves up when you get focused too much on the physical measurables and not the instincts and the vision that comes with that position.”

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