NFC Notes: Bears, Packers, Saints

     

Bears

Bears K Eddy Pineiro won a high-pressure kicking competition to become Chicago’s Week 1 starting kicker and held onto the job through injury, missed game-winning field goals and made game-winners. Heading into 2020, however, Pineiro isn’t naive enough to think he’s safe. 

“Last year I had to compete against eight different guys, so I don’t think that’s going to change,” Pineiro said via Jason Lieser of the Chicago Sun-Times. “Hopefully it’s not eight again, but I definitely expect competition. If I’m the only guy, that would be a blessing, but I expect competition. They’ve always got guys to compete against you.”

  • Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune writes that he can’t see Chargers QB Philip Rivers being an option for the Bears, as Rivers would likely want to be guaranteed a starting job and it doesn’t appear Chicago is that down on incumbent QB Mitchell Trubisky yet. 
  • Biggs says the Bears are unlikely to cut CB Prince Amukamara, as they’d be hard-pressed to find an upgrade for less than his $9 million cap hit. They could approach him about taking a small pay cut, though. 
  • Biggs adds the Bears need to find a way to get RB Tarik Cohen in space more in 2020 after he was bottled up in 2019. 

Packers

ESPN’s Rob Demovsky writes that the Packers have $28.3 million in projected cap space to use when deciding if they should re-sign the following unrestricted free agents:

Saints

Saints QB Teddy Bridgewater has pulled his career back from the brink by betting on himself and winning, first impressing enough on a one-year deal with the Jets to prompt the Saints to trade for him, then by returning to the Saints as a backup before thriving when pushed into the starting lineup because of injury. Bridgewater is once again set to be an unrestricted free agent this offseason and says he’ll continue to be crafty with where he chooses to go. 

“Last year everyone said I turned down X amount of dollars to go back to New Orleans. Honestly, for me, I’m a businessman but I’m a smart businessman,” Bridgewater said in an interview with SiriusXM NFL radio via Pro Football Talk. “I don’t make decisions with my heart, I use my brain to think things through. Last year I made the decision to return to New Orleans and it worked out for the better for me. This year, it’s one of those deals where like I said it’ll be the same thing. I don’t try to make any decision of the impulse of my heart. I think things through and go from there.”

Though the Saints would like to keep all three of Bridgewater, Drew Brees and Taysom Hill, the market realities make that highly unlikely. Saints RB Alvin Kamara acknowledged as much. 

“We have got to print some more money, but you know Drew has a great career,” Kamara said via Pro Football Talk. “Everybody wondering now what Drew is going to do, and I always say it he can play as long as he wants to and Teddy we saw what he did when he had to answer the call and then Taysom he is like the jack of all trades and he does it all.”

  • Per NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, Kamara is well aware of his own contractual situation and market dynamics: “We’ll see what gets done. I’m obviously in my third year of my rookie contract, so we’ll see. Might be something going on.”
  • The Athletic’s Katherine Terrell lists linebacker as a position up in the air for the Saints, as A.J. Klein is a free agent and Kiko Alonso is coming off the third ACL tear of his career. 
  • Terrell writes the Saints don’t consider $11.25 million too expensive for a quality starting corner if CB Janoris Jenkins plays out the last year of his deal. The Saints could consider an extension, though. 
  • New Orleans could also bring back CB Eli Apple despite his late-season struggles if the price is right. 
  • Terrell expects 2019 sixth-round S Saquan Hampton to push starting S Marcus Williams for playing time in 2020.
  • Terrell doesn’t anticipate the Saints doing anything with an extension for DT Sheldon Rankins this offseason given his injury history and the impact from 2019 UDFA Shy Tuttle

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