Bears GM Ryan Pace opened up about the roster in 2020, starting with the tight end position after the trade of TE Adam Shaheen.
Pace told Kevin Fishbain of The Athletic that the team had been in talks with the Dolphins “for a while” and called the trade “a win-win situation.”
Fishbain notes that the additions of TE Demetrius Harris and rookie TE Cole Kmet made it hard to see how Shaheen would’ve made the roster regardless of the trade. Bears HC Matt Nagy boasted about the current group of tight ends featuring Graham, Harris, and Kmet.
“We’ve got a great group of guys,” Nagy said. “I mean Jimmy coming in here with the experience that he has, I told you he’s got a little chip on his shoulder right now which I like. Demetrius Harris, I have a history with from Kansas City so we have a plan with him. We drafted obviously Cole Kmet and then we have a nice group of other guys that we’re excited to see really come in and compete.”
According to Fishbain, Pace wouldn’t have had to spend money on TE Jimmy Graham or draft Kmet had Shaheen and TE Trey Burton stayed healthy and reliable. He believes that money could currently be going towards re-signing WR Allen Robinson.
“I feel like with David (Montgomery), we’re going to continue to see him progress and we’re really happy with the way that he performed last year,” Pace said. “Definitely arrow up. Tarik (Cohen), everything that we can gather as far as his mental mindset right now, his approach to this season, we’re excited about Tarik. I like his approach. You factor in Ryan Nall, who we like, who’s growing here in our organization. So I’m excited about our running back room. I think there’s some new wrinkles this season in regards to Matt, his staff, and what they’ll do. So I would disagree. I think it’s a talented room and we like our depth in there.”
Fishbain wonders if the team would be forced to use WR Cordarrelle Patterson if Montgomery were to go down with an injury, something the team cannot afford after losing DT Eddie Goldman after he chose to opt-out this season.
“We told him we support him, we told him what we have, the education part, we told him what we have here so he knows, and that’s the decision that he decided to make,” Nagy said. “… He’s a part of our family and this is what he chose to do and we just gotta make sure on our end now that we don’t flinch and we move forward. But he did it the right way and feel good about where we’re at and fully support him.”
On the defensive side of the ball, former CFL CB Tre Roberson had several NFL offers but chose the Bears in order to battle for the starting job opposite CB Kyle Fuller. Roberson then sustained a broken foot and was waived. He is now part of the Bears non-football injury list and is still technically still on the team.
“That was disappointing,” Pace said of Roberson’s injury. “He’s disappointed. He broke his foot this offseason training, and we’re going to work through that with him. He’s a good young player – someone we scouted heavily in the CFL. It’s just an unfortunate injury, but something we can recover from and we’re going to work through him on that process.”
Pace believes that cornerback is now an issue for the team and that the young players on the roster will have to step up and fill Roberson’s absence.
“Corner comes to mind right away,” Pace said. “There’s a lot of young, intriguing players there from Kevin Toliver and Artie Burns, and Jaylon Johnson that will be intriguing and fascinating to let this thing play out.”
- Per the Athletic’s Matt Schneidman, Packers GM Brian Gutekunst said he didn’t have any update on if the team planned to bring back CB Tramon Williams.
- Despite Packers WR Devin Funchess opting out, Gutekunst doesn’t seem worried about the receiving corps: “I wouldn’t say we’re any more active than we ever have been looking for help at any position.” (Ryan Wood)
- Packers HC Matt LaFleur specifically mentioned WR Equanimeous St. Brown, but said everybody will need to step up to replace Funchess. (Schneidman)
- Regarding Packers QB Aaron Rodgers‘ comments that he expected to be on the outs in Green Bay sooner rather than later, LaFleur said Rodgers is their starting quarterback right now: “Right now, most importantly, Aaron’s our quarterback and I see him here for a really long time. However long that is, I don’t think anybody knows. Nothing’s guaranteed in this league. But I feel so lucky to be able to work with him on a daily basis.” (Schneidman)
- LaFleur mentioned he’s floated the idea of having a quarantine quarterback separate from the others on the roster. (Demovsky)
- The Packers tried to sign FB John Lovett as an UDFA after the 2019 draft, but he landed with the Chiefs, per Gutekunst. Green Bay claimed him off waivers last week. (Schneidman)
- Gutekunst indicated Green Bay would keep the roster at 90 and use the split-squad option to start training camp. (Rob Demovsky)
- Saints’ veteran QB Drew Brees wouldn’t comment on whether he will continue playing past the 2020 season: “Man, I’m not looking past one day at a time,” per Larry Holder.
- Saints waived DB Chris Johnson, G Adrian Magee, RB Taquan Mizzell, WR Maurice Harris, WR Tommylee Lewis, RB Ricky Ortiz, CB Deatrick Nichols, OL Gus Cumberlander and WR Krishawn Hogan. (NFLTR)