Before the Chicago Bears can start thinking about what they may or may not do in free agency next month, they have internal questions to answer. As of now, there are 25 on their roster set to become free agents. GM Ryan Poles and head coach Matt Eberflus must begin working to determine if they wish to keep any of them. This new regime envisions if whether they might have a place in the future. There isn’t much time.
Poles hasn’t offered any clues as to who may or may not be in his plans. All people have to go on are rumors. If those are to be believed, then one thing is clear. There is a strong possibility that most of the top names among the Bears’ internal free agents will hit the open market in March. It seems Jeremy Fowler of ESPN agrees. When offering his projections for the top 50 free agents, two Bears made the list. Allen Robinson and James Daniels.
Both of them were picked to end up with different teams.
“14. Allen Robinson II, WR
Best team fit: Indianapolis Colts
Why it makes sense: We love the fit as a do-it-all receiver option opposite Michael Pittman Jr. But the Colts rarely spend big. Is Robinson attainable coming off a down year statistically? Maybe that’s when Indy pounces.
28. James Daniels, G
Best team fit: New York Giants
Why it makes sense: The Giants need several new pieces along the offensive line, and Daniels would instantly upgrade the Giants’ mobility in the interior.”
It is hard to say this is a surprise. Neither player performed at his best in 2021. Robinson posted the worst numbers of his career, going for just 410 yards and one touchdown in 12 games. He believes it was because former coach Matt Nagy froze him out of the offense. Yet there were indications that the wide receiver’s commitment at times was shaky. Dropped passes. Lazy routes. A general lack of urgency.
As for Daniels, his season started fine. He seemed to take to playing at right guard pretty well. However, things unraveled as the months passed. By the time the final game ended, he’d allowed 40 total pressures on the quarterback. The most of any offensive lineman on the team. Not exactly the sort of impression one needs to make to get that new contract he wants.
Chicago Bears will have several big holes to fill
Some people might not be happy learning this. They believe Robinson and Daniels are too talented to let walk. They weren’t the problem offensively. It was the coaching staff. The truth is players have to own what they put on tape. Robinson didn’t get as many targets as he was used to. That is out of his hands. Even so, he wasn’t nearly as productive whenever he was targeted. Just 10.8 yards per reception after 12.3 the year before and multiple drops.
Daniels hasn’t been able to settle into any one spot on the offensive line due to the Chicago Bears moving him around every year. He was good at left guard but struggled at center and right guard. Versatility was supposed to be one of his strengths, but that hasn’t been the case. Not to mention the young blocker has a somewhat passive reputation. He lacks the physical edge and nastiness Poles supposedly wants up front.
The truth is neither man is irreplaceable.
Robinson and Daniels have been good players but not superstars. Throw in the fact that each plays a position (wide receiver and guard) that is far easier to replace than others, and it shouldn’t be a shock the Bears may end up letting both of them walk.
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