Peering into her crystal ball, Sports Illustrated writer Melissa Jacobs predicts that the Bears will make major strides in 2017.
Bears defensive tackle Eddie Goldman was one of the many players placed on injured reserve in 2016.
Blaming the team's porous 3-13 record in 2016 on a rash of injuries, Jacobs thinks "the Bears will win 10 games, okay maybe just nine" this coming season.
"Of all the teams decimated by injuries in 2016, the Bears may have been the most ravaged," she wrote. "A heavy dose of talent was sidelined. From Pro Bowl guard Kyle Long to running back Jeremy Langford to tight end Zach Miller to prized free agent pickup ILB Danny Trevathan, key players fell throughout the season and forced the Bears to try and be resourceful when they had no more resources. Add in Alshon Jeffery's four-game suspension for a PED violation, and the Bears never stood a chance.
"The talent is there throughout Chicago's roster, and assuming this group can stay healthy, crystallizing this prediction will hinge on the new starting quarterback. (Jay Cutler being released or traded is a forgone conclusion.) There will be plenty of options for the Bears, both in free agency and the draft. SI's Chris Burke has the Bears selecting Pittsburgh's Nathan Peterman in the third round of his latest mock draft. Jumping from 3–13 to 10–6 or thereabouts isn't so improbable in today's NFL. Ask the Cowboys."