No draft pick is worth losing to the Packers. I hate it. I hate it so much. I often hear, “Why don’t you just switch teams? Cheer for someone else.” As every Bears fan knows, it simply isn’t an option. In the 1980s my dad thought the Bears had swagger and now my girlfriend doesn’t hear from me on Sundays.


So, what is one to do when the very embodiment of evil is on an 8-0 run against your favorite team? Run 17 mock drafts on Pro Football Network. Then, take the bye-week to relax and mentally prepare yourself for four more weeks of pain.


Rather than think of these final games as real professional football contests, it’s best to pretend we’re watching an early training camp. Remember how fun it was to have all the hope in the world? With much of the team either on rookie deals or short-term contracts, we should get a glimpse of who will return wearing navy blue and orange in 2023.


Who’s In:


Teven Jenkins

Despite preseason rumors of a possible trade, Jenkins has been a wrecking machine at right guard. He has gone from an unproven project to a cornerstone prodigy. The former second-round selection is tied for the third lowest in sacks-allowed and the second lowest in penalties among right guards. He is also grading at 80.1 overall according to Pro Football Focus. Simply put, switching Jenkins to guard turned out to be a genius move.


Jack Sanborn

The Bears struck gold with this undrafted free agent. He plays sideline to sideline racking up 45 solo tackles and 2 sacks. A Bears fan for life, Sanborn has been a surprisingly perfect replacement for Roquan Smith. Thanks to his production, Chicago can confidently focus on defensive linemen in the earlier selections of the 2023 draft.


Who’s Out:


Sam Mustipher

With Lucas Patrick’s unfortunate injuries, Sam Mustipher stepped up as the starting center on the offensive line. He seems like a perfectly nice guy, and I hope he lands somewhere, but he hasn’t cut it in Chicago. With a PFF grade of 64.7 and the seventh-most penalties for centers, it simply is not worth offering a new deal once his contract expires at the end of this season.


Cairo Santos

Once a guaranteed field goal machine, Santos has been struggling lately. The Bears have already paid most of his contract, so the cost to cut him would be low. Kickers are easy to come by and each year dozens of competent specialists go unsigned. Perhaps Santos is simply falling victim to a rut, but Chicago fans deserve better than to lose games on missed kicks. (pain)


Who’s on the Bubble:


Velus Jones Jr.

A great returner, Jones failed to closely resemble Deebo Samuel, as many Bears fans had hoped. He dropped a few key passes and muffed two critical punts. Still, he’s a rookie and suffered from some hamstring issues, so maybe we haven’t seen the real Velus yet. If he can rip off a few more big returns this year, he may earn himself a long-term roster spot.


Eddie Jackson

This one hurts my heart. Ever since his explosive 2018 season, which ended with a game-sealing Aaron Rodgers interception, Jackson has been a bright spot in the Bears’ secondary. He was having a great resurgence year before suffering a Lisfranc injury against the Jets—which may take up to a year to heal. Chicago’s highest-paid player, Jackson is still under contract for two more years. Depending on his recovery time, the 28-year-old’s future with the Bears is at best questionable.




Image courtesy of USA Today

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