2019 Chicago Bears season

The 2019 Chicago Bears season will be the franchise's 100th season in the National Football League, as well as the second under head coach Matt Nagy. They will attempt to improve upon their 12–4 record from 2018, make the playoffs for the second consecutive season, and break their eight-year playoff win drought.

2019 Chicago Bears season
Chicago Bears 100 logo
Head coachMatt Nagy
General managerRyan Pace
OwnerThe McCaskey Family
Home fieldSoldier Field
Results
Record0–0

Bears100 celebration

The 2019 season marked the Bears' centennial as a franchise, dating to the NFL's inaugural season in 1920 as the American Professional Football Association (APFA) and the team's debut as the Decatur Staleys. Of the original 14 teams in the NFL (then the American Professional Football Association) that year, only the Bears and Arizona Cardinals (then in Chicago) are still in existence.[1]

To celebrate the anniversary, the Bears unveiled a special logo that was featured on their jerseys.[2] On June 7–9, the team will hold the Bears100 Celebration Weekend at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Illinois.[3]

Offseason

Organizational changes

On January 9, defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, who guided the Bears to the top-ranked scoring defense in 2018, left the team to become head coach of the Denver Broncos.[4] Two days later, Chicago hired former Indianapolis Colts' head coach Chuck Pagano to take over the position; before joining the Colts in 2012, he served as the Baltimore Ravens' defensive coordinator for one season in 2011, during which they ranked third in total defense.[5] In assembling his defensive staff, Pagano chose not to retain outside linebackers coach Brandon Staley and assistant defensive backs coach Roy Anderson, both of whom had been with the Bears since 2017,[6] and inside linebackers coach Glenn Pires, who had been on the Bears staff since 2015.[7] Staley and defensive backs coach Ed Donatell followed Fangio to the Broncos.[8][9] Following the moves, line coach Jay Rodgers and quality control coaches Bill Shuey and Sean Desai were the remaining defensive assistants;[10] on February 8, Shuey and Desai were promoted to defensive pass analyst/assistant linebackers coach and safeties coach, respectively.[11]

Pagano began replacing the departures by hiring Deshea Townsend as defensive backs coach and Ronell Williams as defensive quality control coach on January 18. Townsend was a two-time Super Bowl champion cornerback with the Pittsburgh Steelers before becoming a coach; he was most recently the assistant defensive backs coach of the New York Giants. Williams, a defensive analyst for the Temple Owls football team, worked with the Bears during Training Camp in 2018 as a member of the Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship;[12] former Arena Football League wide receiver Chris Jackson, who also participated in the program, was hired as a defensive assistant on February 12.[13] On January 21, former Kansas State defensive coordinator Ted Monachino was hired as senior defensive assistant and outside linebackers coach; Monachino worked with Pagano in Baltimore and Indianapolis, the latter as defensive coordinator.[14] The Bears later added Kansas City Chiefs inside linebackers coach Mark DeLeone to serve the same position, reuniting him with Nagy.[15]

On May 1, Brad Childress rejoined the team as a senior offensive assistant. During the 2018 offseason and training camp, Childress had worked with Nagy and the Bears as a consultant; the two had been acquainted as co-offensive coordinators in Kansas City.[16]

Roster changes

Position Player Free agency
Tag
Date signed 2019 team
SS Adrian Amos UFA March 13[17] Green Bay Packers
WR Josh Bellamy UFA March 13[18] New York Jets
TE Ben Braunecker RFA March 11[19] Chicago Bears
QB Tyler Bray UFA March 20[20] Chicago Bears
TE Daniel Brown UFA March 18[21] New York Jets
FB Michael Burton UFA May 13[22] New Orleans Saints
CB Bryce Callahan UFA March 15[23] Denver Broncos
OL Rashaad Coward ERFA April 5[24] Chicago Bears
RB Benny Cunningham UFA April 2[25] Jacksonville Jaguars
SS DeAndre Houston-Carson UFA March 29[26] Chicago Bears
LB Isaiah Irving ERFA April 15[27] Chicago Bears
OL Eric Kush UFA March 14[28] Cleveland Browns
LB Aaron Lynch UFA April 1[29] Chicago Bears
OT Bobby Massie UFA January 26[30] Chicago Bears
TE Zach Miller UFA April 25[31]
P Pat O'Donnell UFA March 18[32] Chicago Bears
DE Roy Robertson-Harris ERFA March 13[27] Chicago Bears
LS Patrick Scales UFA April 3[33] Chicago Bears
WR Kevin White UFA March 15[34] Arizona Cardinals
CB Marcus Williams UFA
DE Nick Williams UFA March 15[35] Chicago Bears
OL Bryan Witzmann UFA March 22[36] Cleveland Browns

Entering the 2019 offseason, the Bears had 21 players set to become free agents, including three restricted free agents and three exclusive-rights free agents.[37] Two of the restricted free agents, safety DeAndre Houston-Carson and long snapper Patrick Scales, became unrestricted free agents when the Bears did not extend qualifying offers to them.[38]

Acquisitions

Two days after their 2018 season ended, on January 8, the Bears signed ten players to futures/reserve contracts, nine of whom were part of the practice squad in 2018: running back Ryan Nall; offensive lineman Dejon Allen; defensive tackle Abdullah Anderson; linebacker Josh Woods; defensive backs John Franklin III, Cyril Grayson, Michael Joseph, and Jonathon Mincy; and Canadian Football League player James Vaughters, who last played for the Calgary Stampeders.[39] Later in the month, Chicago signed receiver Jordan Williams-Lambert and linebacker Jameer Thurman — also CFL players — New Orleans Saints offensive tackle Cornelius Lucas, and Tulsa kicker Redford Jones.[40] A second kicker, Pittsburgh Panthers alumnus Chris Blewitt, was signed on March 6.[41]

The NFL conducted a two-day negotiation period for incoming unrestricted free agents on March 11–12, with free agency beginning the next day.[42] During the period, running back Mike Davis, wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson, and cornerback Buster Skrine committed to signing with the Bears, with Davis and Patterson finalizing two-year contracts and Skrine a three-year deal when free agency opened.[43][44][45] With the Seattle Seahawks, Davis recorded 514 rushing yards and four touchdowns, along with 214 receiving yards and two touchdowns in 2018;[46] on the New England Patriots in 2018, Patterson had 247 receiving yards and three touchdowns, along with 42 carries for 228 yards and a touchdown as a running back and averaging 28.8 kickoff return yards as a return specialist;[47] in 14 games for the 2018 New York Jets, Skrine had a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, and four tackles for loss, with Matt Nagy calling him "one of the better nickels in this league, if not the best".[46]

At the start of free agency on March 13, the Bears signed Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Ted Larsen, who started eight games for Chicago in 2016, to a one-year agreement.[48] The following day, safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, who played for the Green Bay Packers and Washington Redskins in 2018, joined Chicago on a one-year deal.[49] Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Marvin Hall signed with the Bears on March 15; a fast player, he recorded ten receptions for 149 yards and a touchdown, along with 616 kickoff return yards in 2018.[50]

On April 12, kicker Elliott Fry, who was a member of the Alliance of American Football's Orlando Apollos until the league's shutdown ten days prior, was signed to a three-year deal.[51] A month later, on May 8, the Bears picked up Jets linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis, who played in Kansas City with Nagy in 2017.[52]

Departures

On February 21, tight end Dion Sims was released with one year left on his contract; he was on injured reserve for half of the 2018 season and caught only two passes.[53] The following day, it was reported kicker Cody Parkey would be released at the start of the league year on March 13 after 11 missed kicks in 2018 and $3.5 million guaranteed still on his 2019 contract.[54] Linebacker Sam Acho, who spent much of 2018 on injured reserve, was let go on March 5.[55]

Once free agency began, various unrestricted free agents opted to sign with other teams, including strong safety Adrian Amos, who signed with the Packers,[17] and cornerback Bryce Callahan joining the Denver Broncos.[23] Departing non-starters included running back Benny Cunningham to the Jacksonville Jaguars,[25] fullback Michael Burton to the New Orleans Saints,[22] wide receivers Josh Bellamy and Kevin White respectively to the Jets and Arizona Cardinals,[18][34] tight end Daniel Brown with the Jets,[21] and offensive linemen Eric Kush and Bryan Witzmann with the Cleveland Browns.[28][36]

On March 28, running back Jordan Howard, who struggled to adapt to Nagy's offense as he recorded a career-worst 935 rushing yards and nine touchdowns in 2018,[56] was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles for a conditional sixth-round pick in 2020.[57]

After suffering a serious injury in a 2017 game that forced him to miss the entire 2018 season, tight end Zach Miller announced his retirement on April 16.[58] Nine days later, the Bears officially released Miller with a failed physical designation.[31]

On May 3, wide receiver Cyril Grayson and offensive linemen Dejon Allen and Willie Beavers were waived. Grayson and Beavers were on the Bears' practice squad in 2018, while Allen joined the team in May 2018 but did not play in the regular season.[59]

NFL Draft

In a press conference on April 23, two days before the 2019 NFL Draft, general manager Ryan Pace explained the team did not have "pressing, huge needs" and "can honestly select the best players". The Bears entered the draft without picks in the first two rounds after trading the first rounder (No. 24 overall) to the Oakland Raiders for linebacker Khalil Mack and the second rounder (No. 56) to the New England Patriots for their 2018 fourth-round selection, respectively.[60] It was the first draft since 2010 in which the Bears did not have first- nor second-round picks.[61]

During the draft, the Bears traded with the Patriots once again with an exchange that sent the former's third- (No. 87) and fifth-round (No. 162) for the latter's third- (No. 73) and sixth-round (No. 205) selections, and a fourth-round pick in the 2020 draft. With New England's 73rd-overall selection, Chicago drafted Iowa State running back David Montgomery; in 2018, Montgomery led the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision in missed tackles forced with 99, along with recording 24 rushing touchdowns and averaging 4.7 yards per carry and 8.2 yards per reception in his three-year college career.[62] In the fourth round, the Bears used the 126th-overall on receiver Riley Ridley, who had 70 receptions for 1,026 yards (14.7 yards per catch) and 13 touchdowns at Georgia.[63]

Two rounds later, the Patriots' No. 205 was used on Kansas State cornerback Duke Shelley; although his 2018 season was marred by a toe injury, Shelley recorded 33 tackles and three interceptions that year. In four years at Kansas State, Shelley had 165 career tackles and eight interceptions.[64] With their two seventh-round picks, Chicago drafted Florida Atlantic running back Kerrith Whyte Jr. (No. 222) and Valdosta State cornerback Stephen Denmark (No. 238). Whyte attracted Pace's attention with his speed, running a 4.38-second 40-yard dash, and was a running back and return specialist at FAU; in 2018, Whyte had 134 carries for 866 yards and eight touchdowns, along with 19 kickoff returns for an average of 28.7 yards and a touchdown.[65] A receiver who was converted to cornerback for his final year at Valdosta State, Denmark recorded 55 tackles and three interceptions in 2018.[66]

Following the draft, the Bears signed 22 undrafted free agents: receivers Emanuel Hall (Missouri) and Thomas Ives (Colgate); tight ends Ian Bunting (California), Dax Raymond (Utah State), and Ellis Richardson (Georgia Southern); offensive linemen Alex Bars and Sam Mustipher (Notre Dame), Blake Blackmar (Baylor), Joe Lowery (Ohio), and Marquez Tucker (Southern Utah); defensive linemen Daryle Banfield (Brown), Jonathan Harris (Lindenwood), and Lawrence Marshall (Michigan); linebackers Mathieu Betts (Laval) and Chuck Harris (Buffalo); defensive backs Jomon Dotson (Nevada), Clifton Duck (Appalachian State), Doyin Jibowu (Fort Hays State), Adarius Pickett (UCLA), and Josh Simmons (Limestone); kicker John Baron II (San Diego State); and long snapper John Wirtel (Kansas).[67]

Ridley, Whyte, and Denmark signed their four-year rookie contracts on May 13.[68]

2019 Chicago Bears draft
Round Pick Player Position College Notes
3 73 David Montgomery  RB Iowa State
4 126 Riley Ridley  WR Georgia
6 205 Duke Shelley  CB Kansas State
7 222 Kerrith Whyte Jr.  RB FAU
7 238 Stephen Denmark  CB Valdosta State
      Made roster    *   Made at least one Pro Bowl during career

Notes

  • The Bears traded their 2019 first- and sixth-round selections (Nos. 24 and 196 overall, respectively), as well as their 2020 first- and third-round selections to the Oakland Raiders in exchange for linebacker Khalil Mack; the Bears will also receive a 2020 second-round selection and a conditional fifth-round selection in 2020 from the Raiders.[69]
  • The Bears traded their second-round selection (No. 56 overall) along with a 2018 fourth-round selection to the New England Patriots in exchange for the Patriots' 2018 fourth-round selection.[70]
  • The Bears acquired an additional seventh-round selection (No. 222 overall) in a trade that sent cornerback Deiondre' Hall to the Philadelphia Eagles.[71]
  • The Bears acquired the New England Patriots third and sixth round pick (73rd overall and 205th overall, respectively) in exchange for the Bears' third round pick (87th overall), fifth round pick (162nd overall), plus a 2020 fourth round pick.[72]

Offseason activities

The Bears began offseason workouts on April 15. NFL rules stipulate teams may hold a voluntary nine-week program that is divided into three phases: the first phase, running for the first two weeks, may only consist of physical conditioning; the three-week second phase involves position drills but no contact nor offense against defense; the third phase has ten offseason team activities (OTAs) in which teams conduct drills between offenses and defenses without contact. Chicago's voluntary mini-camp was held on April 23–25, with OTAs on May 21–23, May 29–31, and June 4–7, and a required mini-camp on June 11–13.[73]

On May 3–5, Chicago held a rookie mini-camp for draft picks, undrafted free agents, and others on a tryout basis.[74] The Bears, who had struggled with kicking success since 2016 (they had the second-worst field goal conversion percentage during the stretch), invited eight kickers to the camp: Blewitt, Fry, Jones, and Baron were under contract, while Notre Dame's Justin Yoon, Minnesota's Emmit Carpenter, Minnesota State's Casey Bernardski, and Purdue's Spencer Evans were tryouts.[75] McNeese State punter Alex Kjellsten also participated in the session; he described the camp as "almost like a combine for kickers", with the Bears conducting measurements and analysis of each kick.[76] In conjunction with the kicker competition, the team hired Jamie Kohl, director of the Kohl's Professional Camps kicking organization, as a kicking consultant for the 2019 season.[77]

At the rookie camp's conclusion, Jones and Baron were released and none of the tryouts were signed, leaving Blewitt and Fry as the remaining kickers.[78] Marshall and Pickett were also waived, while offensive lineman Tommy Doles and defensive lineman Jalen Dalton — all tryouts at the camp — received contracts.[79] On May 6, the Bears traded a conditional 2021 seventh-round draft pick for Raiders kicker Eddy Pineiro; in his rookie year in 2018, Pineiro made all three of his preseason field goals, but missed the regular season with a groin injury. Under the conditions of the trade, the Raiders would receive the pick if Pineiro was on the Bears' active roster for at least five games in 2019.[80] Princeton receiver-turned-tight end Jesper Horsted was signed on May 13, with Doles being released to make room before he was brought back three days later after Dotson was waived/injured.[81][82]

Staff

Chicago Bears staff
Front office
  • Secretary of the board of directors – Virginia Halas McCaskey
  • Chairman – George McCaskey
  • President/CEO – Ted Phillips
  • General manager – Ryan Pace
  • Vice president & general counsel – Cliff Stein
  • Director of player personnel – Josh Lucas
  • Assistant director of player personnel – Champ Kelly
  • Director of college scouting – Mark Sadowski
  • Director of football administration – Joseph Laine
Head coaches
Offensive coaches
 
Defensive coaches
  • Defensive coordinator – Chuck Pagano
  • Defensive line – Jay Rodgers
  • Senior defensive assistant/Outside linebackers – Ted Monachino
  • Pass rush analyst/Assistant linebackers – Bill Shuey
  • Inside linebackers – Mark DeLeone
  • Secondary – Deshea Townsend
  • Safeties – Sean Desai
  • Defensive assistant – Chris Jackson
  • Defensive quality control – Ronell Williams
Special teams coaches
  • Special teams coordinator – Chris Tabor
  • Assistant special teams – Brock Olivo
  • Kicking consultant – Jamie Kohl
Strength and conditioning
  • Strength and conditioning – Jason Loscalzo
  • Assistant strength and conditioning – Casey Kramer
  • Strength and conditioning assistant – Pierre Ngo
  • Head athletic trainer – Andre Tucker

Coaching staff
Management
More NFL staffs

AFC East
BUF
MIA
NE
NYJ
North
BAL
CIN
CLE
PIT
South
HOU
IND
JAX
TEN
West
DEN
KC
LAC
OAK
NFC East
DAL
NYG
PHI
WAS
North
CHI
DET
GB
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ATL
CAR
NO
TB
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Current roster

Chicago Bears roster
Quarterbacks

Running backs

Wide receivers

Tight ends

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen

Linebackers

Defensive backs

Special teams

Reserve lists
  • 25 Jomon Dotson CB (IR) Injury icon 2.svg
  • -- Rashard Fant CB (PUP) Injury icon 2.svg
Rookies in italics

Roster updated May 22, 2019
Depth chartTransactions
88 active, 2 inactive, 2 unsigned

AFC rostersNFC rosters

Preseason

The Bears' preseason opponents, along with that of the rest of the NFL teams, were announced on April 9, 2019. After opening the preseason at home against the Carolina Panthers, the Bears will play the New York Giants and Indianapolis Colts on the road before hosting the Tennessee Titans. 2019 will be the first year in which the Bears and Titans regularly play each other in the preseason as part of an agreement between the teams; it is Chicago's first preseason partnership since their affiliation with the Cleveland Browns in 2004–2017.[83]

Week Date Kickoff (CDT) Opponent Result Record Game site TV NFL.com
GameBook
NFL.com
recap
1 August 8 7:00 p.m. Carolina Panthers Soldier Field WFLD
2 August 16 6:30 p.m. at New York Giants MetLife Stadium WFLD
3 August 24 6:00 p.m. at Indianapolis Colts Lucas Oil Stadium WFLD
4 August 29 7:00 p.m. Tennessee Titans Soldier Field WFLD

Regular season

Schedule

The Bears' regular season schedule, along with that of the rest of the NFL, was released on April 17, 2019. [84]

As of April 18, 2019, Chicago will be playing in six Prime time games. Five of which will be Night time games, and one of which will be on Thanksgiving day.

Week Date Kickoff (CT) Opponent Result Record Game site TV NFL.com
GameBook
NFL.com
recap
1 September 5 7:20 p.m. Green Bay Packers Soldier Field NBC
2 September 15 3:25 p.m. at Denver Broncos Broncos Stadium at Mile High Fox
3 September 23 7:15 p.m. at Washington Redskins FedEx Field ESPN
4 September 29 3:25 p.m. Minnesota Vikings Soldier Field CBS
5 October 6 12:00 p.m. at Oakland Raiders Tottenham Hotspur Stadium (London) Fox
6 Bye
7 October 20 3:25 p.m. New Orleans Saints Soldier Field Fox
8 October 27 12:00 p.m. Los Angeles Chargers Soldier Field Fox
9 November 3 12:00 p.m. at Philadelphia Eagles Lincoln Financial Field Fox
10 November 10 12:00 p.m. Detroit Lions Soldier Field CBS
11 November 17 7:20 p.m. at Los Angeles Rams Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum NBC
12 November 24 12:00 p.m. New York Giants Soldier Field Fox
13 November 28 11:30 a.m. at Detroit Lions Ford Field Fox
14 December 5 7:20 p.m. Dallas Cowboys Soldier Field Fox/NFLN/
Amazon Prime
15 December 15 12:00 p.m. at Green Bay Packers Lambeau Field Fox
16 December 22 7:20 p.m. Kansas City Chiefs Soldier Field NBC
17 December 29 12:00 p.m. at Minnesota Vikings U.S. Bank Stadium Fox
Notes: Intra-division opponents are in bold text. Networks and times from Weeks 7–17 are subject to change as a result of flexible scheduling, with the exceptions of Week 13 (Thanksgiving) and Week 14 (Thursday Night Football).

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