Fri Apr 3 4:38pm ET
By ANDREW SELIGMAN
AP Sports Writer
In this Dec. 1, 2019, file photo, Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Nick Foles (7) scrambles out of the pocket during the first half of an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, in Jacksonville, Fla. A person familiar with the trade says the Jacksonville Jaguars have agreed to send quarterback Nick Foles to the Chicago Bears for a compensatory fourth-round draft pick. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because trades don't become official until the league year begins later Wednesday, March 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, File)
These are 2019 file photos showing, clockwise from top left, then-Jacksonville Jaguars' Nick Foles, then-Dallas Cowboys Robert Quinn, Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy and Bears general manager Ryan Pace. General manager Ryan Pace and coach Matt Nagy address an active offseason for the Chicago Bears, who are trying to bounce back after missing the playoffs in a season that began with Super Bowl hopes. Two of the most notable additions are pass rusher Robert Quinn and quarterback Nick Foles. (AP Photo/File)
The Chicago Bears declared the quarterback competition between Mitchell Trubisky and newcomer Nick Foles an open one on Friday.
General manager Ryan Pace made that clear during a conference call, saying both players are "embracing" the battle that will play out whenever offseason workouts begin.
Coach Matt Nagy stressed that Trubisky will be the first quarterback on the field whenever practices begin, But he planned to give Trubisky and Foles equal time with the starters. He also said both will play in the preseason as part of the evaluation.
"It's going to be equal and we as coaches need to make sure we do the right thing in regard to equal reps, and make sure they're playing with similar or the same players on offense and going against the same players on defense," Nagy said. "There will be some juggling that we'll have to do. It might be a little different at times on how we do it and how we get to it. But I can promise you this: It's going to be completely fair, it's going to be extremely competitive in a good way. It's going to be a healthy competitiveness."
Pace largely staked his reputation to Trubisky when he traded up a spot with San Francisco to draft him with the No. 2 overall pick in 2017. And the results have been mixed.
Trubisky was selected to replace Jared Goff in the Pro Bowl after his second season. But instead of taking another big step forward last year, he struggled as the Bears stumbled to an 8-8 record and missed the playoffs after winning the NFC North at 12-4 in 2018.
Pace said after the season the Bears remained committed to Trubisky as their starter, though they weren't ruling out bringing in a veteran to push him. They did just that when they acquired Foles from Jacksonville last month.
On Friday, the Bears indicated he's more than an insurance policy if Trubisky struggles or gets injured.
"Mitch is a competitor," Pace said. "I think when you're built that way, competition brings out the best in you. Matt and I had that discussion with him, and you could feel that in him right away - kind of that, 'OK, hey, let's go, what's best for the team and this is gonna bring out the best in all of us.' I think the key word is just that he embraced the competition."
Pace wouldn't answer if the Bears will pick up Trubisky's fifth-year option for the 2021 season. The deadline is in May, though it would be a surprise if they exercised it considering he is now in a fight for the starting job.
Foles said he called Trubisky because he thought it was important to introduce himself. He wanted to "get started on the right foot."
"Trust me, I get the situation," Foles said. "Mitch has been there for a couple years, Mitch has been the quarterback, and I'm respectful to that situation."
Foles took 2018 Super Bowl MVP honors with Philadelphia. He led Eagles past Chicago in the wild-card game at Soldier Field the next year. He's familiar with the Bears' system and worked with Nagy under Andy Reid when they were with the Eagles and Kansas City.
Foles also has something to prove, coming off an injury-riddled season in Jacksonville in which he lost his starting job to rookie Gardner Minshew. To make the trade to Chicago happen, he said he had to agree to a "crazy restructure" of the four-year, $88 million contract he signed just over a year ago.
"The quarterback competition becomes such a big thing in the NFL. Which it is," Foles said. "The quarterback is an important position. But ultimately we have to do what's best for the Chicago Bears."
May 14th: Draft Values
Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb was recently named as one of the top players under 25, a list composed and published by CBSSports. Despite the Browns' inefficient play, Chubb was solid during the 2019 campaign and finished with 1,494 rushing yards on 298 attempts while adding eight touchdowns. Though the return of Kareem Hunt from suspension decreased his production to some degree, he still finished as one of the most elite backs in the league. With a new head coach and an enhanced offensive line, Chubb should get plenty of touches this season to justify his first-round ADP, but he will likely concede most of the team's passing attempts out of the backfield in 2020 to Hunt.
San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle is expected to receive an offer from the team that could keep him in the Bay Area for the foreseeable future. NBC Sports recently reported that the former fifth-round pick could make anywhere between $12.5 to $15 million per season, ultimately making him the highest-paid tight end in the NFL. The 26-year-old compiled 2,430 yards and 10 touchdowns off of 173 catches over the last two seasons and has been a consistent source of fantasy production as a result. He should be taken somewhere in the first or second rounds of fantasy drafts for the 2020 campaign, likely being selected after fellow tight end Travis Kelce in the majority of them.
Detroit Lions running back D'Andre Swift was recently named by USA Today as one of the league's top instant impact rookies. The 21-year-old, who was drafted 35th overall in the NFL Draft, is slated to fight for carries with the oft-injured Kerryon Johnson this upcoming season. While Swift may not make an immediate impact, he could eventually find himself gobbling up carries toward the end of the year, resulting in Johnson becoming relegated to an afterthought. The former Bulldog has received plenty of praise since his selection by the team, and will likely be one of the first rookies off the board in dynasty drafts for the upcoming 2020 campaign. Swift compiled 1,216 yards and seven touchdowns off of 195 attempts (6.2 YPC) during his final season at Georgia and was also named First-Team All-SEC.
Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor could be involved in the team's offensive plan from the get-go this season. According to head coach Frank Reich and offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni, they both reiterated that the rookie, along with Marlon Mack, will form an impactful one-two punch during the 2020 campaign. Mack has missed numerous games due to injury throughout his tenure in the league, but he still managed to finish with a career-best 1,091 yards in 2019. However, with the former Badger now in the mix, Mack may concede more touches in 2020 than initially thought.
New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara has been working out with Dr. Sharif Tabbah of Athletix Rehab & Recovering, located in the Miami, Florida area. The 24-year-old, who has yet to sign an extension of his rookie contract, was relegated to playing just 14 games in 2019 as a result of a leg injury, while also accumulating a career-low six total touchdowns. With the former Tennessee Volunteer seemingly 100 percent and looking for big money in 2020, he will have extra incentive to produce, potentially surpassing his production from last year.
The Cincinnati Bengals are hoping they selected a franchise building block when they used the No. 1 overall pick on LSU quarterback Joe Burrow in the NFL draft last month. While Burrow has plenty of potential and is likely to start the majority of the team's 16 games in 2020, instant success may be hard to come by. Of the 50 rookie quarterbacks to have made at least eight starts since 2000, only 13 have finished with a winning record as a starter. Burrow has plenty of upside but he might not turn into a viable fantasy option until the 2021 season, at the earliest.
Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy has revealed that he, in a major change of course, will play his starters during the 2020 preseason. The third-year coach had been adamant about not exposing his starters to exhibition action in his first two seasons as coach but now admits that was a mistake last season. "As we talk, that's one of the things that I look back at from last year that I'm not happy about that I made a decision to do in the preseason," Nagy said on the Waddle & Silvy Show. "Number one, I think it's good for them to have it, but number two it sets the mentality. So that's not going to happen this year." The Bears have plenty to prove in 2020 after going 8-8 last season and will have a fierce quarterback competition on their hands between newly acquired passerNick Foles and incumbent starter Mitch Trubisky. In the first half of games last season the Bears offense was, perhaps, the worst unit in football. Nagy is hoping the preseason reps will sharpen an offense with plenty to prove in 2020.
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson conducted a throwing session on Friday with Marquise Brown. Jackson displayed some pinpoint accuracy while Hollywood appeared healthy after having offseason surgery on his foot back in February. With more individual workouts planned moving ahead, which will also include fellow teammate Mark Ingram II--among others--Jackson and company will likely have a leg up on others who aren't able to practice as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The 23-year-old signal-caller finished the 2019 season as one of the most productive fantasy options, while also being named the league's MVP. He will undoubtedly be the first quarterback off the board in fantasy drafts leading up to the 2020 campaign, and rightfully so.
Philadelphia Eagles TE Dallas Goedert played more snaps in 2019 than all but nine other tight ends.
Philadelphia Eagles TE Zach Ertz's 525 receptions are the most by a tight end in NFL history through their first seven seasons.
Fantasy Spin: Ertz has reached the mark by being one of the steadiest performers at the position. He has recorded at least 74 receptions and topped 800 yards in each of the last five seasons. Ertz is a top-three fantasy tight end.
New Orleans Saints TE Jared Cook scored a career-high nine touchdowns in 2019 while averaging 16.4 yards per catch and logging 15 receptions of at least 20 yards.
Fantasy Spin: Cook has been a late bloomer, topping 700 yards in each of the past two seasons while scoring 15 of his 34 career touchdowns. He should remain a key cog of the passing attack in New Orleans in 2020, giving him top-five upside at the tight end position.
Chicago Bears WR Ted Ginn Jr. has the 'slight edge' over WR Javon Wims and WR Cordarrelle Patterson for the No. 3 receiver role, according to Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com, but Rosenthal doesn't believe any of them will play 'starter' snaps.
New England Patriots fullback Dan Vitale would like to follow in the footsteps of the now retired James Develin. Vitale is aware that he has some big shoes to fill after Develin decided to call it a career due to health concerns. This marks his fourth season in the league, but the 2020 campaign will be his first with the Pats. James was a hell-of-a player, Ive enjoyed watching him, really since I got in the league now and he was really a role model at the position," says Vitale. He knows that being versatile and using his intelligence to the best of his ability are crucial to succeeding as a fullback in the league. It sounds like Vitale is prepared for his next step in his career.
New England Patriots defensive back Joejuan Williams is increasing his value through versatility this offseason. He played 82 defensive snaps last season, which is mostly due to the fact that the Pats were stacked in the secondary. The former second-round pick from 2019 will look to carve out a role as a versatile rotational player. He will likely play both defensive back and safety for the Pats next season. Williams is not expected to have a huge role on the team, but playing multiple positions should help him get on the field more often.
Denver Broncos WR Courtland Sutton caught 22 of his 40 targets for 280 yards and two touchdowns in five games with Drew Lock as the starting quarterback in 2019. In his 11 other games, Sutton hauled in 50 of his 84 targets for 832 yards and four TDs.
Detroit Lions WRs Kenny Golladay amassed 35 catches on 62 targets for 640 yards and seven touchdowns with Matthew Stafford as his quarterback in 2019. Meanwhile, Marvin Jones tallied 42 receptions on 57 targets for 535 yards and six TDs prior to Stafford getting hurt.
Cincinnati Bengals RB Joe Mixon rushed for 817 yards following the team's Week 8 bye. Only Derrick Henry ran for more yards (959) over that same span, while no back topped Mixon's 177 rushing attempts.
New York Jets WR Jamison Crowder caught 70 of his 107 targets for 758 yards and six touchdowns in the 13 games Sam Darnold was able to play in 2019. In three games without Darnold, Crowder tallied eight receptions on 15 targets for 75 yards and zero scores.
Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson was on target with 72.5 percent of his throws in 2019 - tied for the fourth-best mark by a quarterback with at least 300 pass attempts.
Minnesota Vikings QB Kirk Cousins threw a catchable ball 78.8 percent of the time in 2019 - tied for the third-best mark by a quarterback with at least 300 pass attempts.