As the 2020 season came to a predictable end for the Chicago Bears, the fanbase had little to look forward to. The team was stuck in neutral, was up against the salary cap, and therefore restricted from making significant changes to the core of the team. General manager Ryan Pace then revitalized Chicago’s football fans’ energy by trading up in the first two rounds, picking Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields and Oklahoma State offensive lineman Teven Jenkins. Suddenly, there was a lot to be excited about heading into the 2021 season. Fields instantly becomes the most physically talented quarterback the franchise has ever had and, at a minimum, somebody the Bears can expect to build around.
Justin Fields will be the Opening Day Starting Quarterback?
False. Everybody is excited for the rookie and while he has significant high-level college experience, the Bears will give him a few weeks before they bring him as the starter. One of the biggest moves the Bears made in free agency was adding retread quarterback Andy Dalton. This, of course, was before they traded up to draft Fields, but Dalton may actually be a perfect bridge quarterback for Chicago. Even if Dalton would sustain an injury, Nick Foles is still on the roster. Mitchell Trubisky sat for the first four games during his rookie season. That is the likely path for Fields in 2021.
David Montgomery will be a Top-10 Running Back in 2021?
True (as long as you’re not taking into account pass-catching). Montgomery’s strong finish to 2020 coincided with the Bears revamping their offensive line. In the last six games of the season, Montgomery averaged 99.7 yards per game and scored seven rushing touchdowns. In the first 10 games of the season, he averaged 47.2 yards per game with just one rushing touchdown. He’s a strong runner with excellent vision. While Montgomery lacks break-a-way speed he still averaged over five yards a carry in those last six games. Given that the Bears won’t want to completely rely on a rookie quarterback, Montgomery will get fed the ball enough to easily land in the top 10 running backs.
Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy will be Fired after the 2021 Season?
False. Both are in the last year of their contracts and given the team’s lack of progress, this would have seemed likely before the draft. But along with injecting a shot of adrenaline into the fanbase’s veins, the drafting of Fields will allow Pace and Nagy to continue on in their current roles as they will tie their future with that of the young quarterback from Ohio State. If Fields shows promise, it reflects well on the general manager and head coach who targeted him.
The Bears Defense will Return to an Elite Unit in 2021?
True. Eddie Goldman is the glue of the defense but he opted out of the 2020 season due to Covid-19 concerns. His presence will solidify the front seven. There was speculation that Akiem Hicks would be a salary cap casualty but the Bears have managed to circumvent that scenario. When healthy, Hicks is still a force. Roquan Smith is one of the best linebackers in football and Khalil Mack is a player that opposing offenses always game plan against. The secondary will be the big question. Jaylon Johnson had an excellent rookie season, and there is hope safety Eddie Jackson can get back to his Pro Bowl level. If they get a strong pass rush, perhaps offseason free-agent signee Desmond Trufant won’t be too exposed.