With precious little money to spend after last season’s Khalil Mack and Allen Robinson splashes, the Bears got off to an unassuming start to the free agency legal negotiating period.
The Bears agreed to deals with cornerback Buster Skrine and running back Mike Davis on Monday. The names hardly inspire championship grandeur, but remember: this is a team that has most of its pieces in place. General manager Ryan Pace is now just filling in the cracks.
Skrine is the Bears’ logical choice to replace the soon-to-be departing Bryce Callahan as the team’s nickel back. The Bears likely realized that they could not afford the salary that Callahan will command on the open market, thus decided to cover their bases.
Skrine is an eight-year veteran who has been lauded for his ability to stay healthy, missing just five games in his career. He spent the first four years of his career with the Cleveland Browns and the last four with the New York Jets. In his time with the Jets, Skrine recorded three interceptions and three forced fumbles while defending 30 passes.
Needless to say, a change of scenery while joining a solid defensive unit like the Bears could be just what he needs.
Davis is a curious signing for the Bears. The big question on everybody’s mind when the deal was reported was: what does this mean for the future of Jordan Howard?
Howard is a workhorse and a lead back. Davis is a complementary piece. Davis likely will assume the role that Benny Cunningham filled last year as roster depth and special teams assistance. In limited duty with the Seattle Seahawks last year, Davis rushed 112 times for 514 yards and scored four touchdowns. He also caught 34 balls for 214 yards and a score. Davis seems to have that versatility and skill set that would mesh with Matt Nagy’s offense — if and when he was called upon in spot duty.
Bigger move to come?
After two early moves on the first day of the negotiating period, the Bears don’t appear to be done yet. ESPN NFL Insider Field Yates reported that a source says the Bears have created $11 million in cap space by restructuring Mack’s monster deal.
Source: the Bears have created $11M of cap space by converting $13M of Khalil Mack’s base salary & roster bonus into a signing bonus. Chicago positioning itself to make moves if desired…
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) March 12, 2019
One has to wonder if the move was made in an effort to land a big fish in free agency. Free agent running back Le’Veon Bell has had his name linked to the Bears in recent days.
It’ll be a fun period of speculation and stipulation as the first week of the free agency period unfolds. Stay tuned.