Good morning, frents!
So just when we thought we were done watching the Bears this season, 2020 returns and makes us watch a Bears game for the Super Bowl.
Still, hope you enjoyed the weekend ... and The Weeknd.
Fun times ahead here: Not only is it just 52 days until Opening Day, Wednesday marks Midway Minute's one-year anniversary.
Also, it looks it's going to be a week on the Bears beat. If you know someone who'd enjoy this newsletter, forward it to them (and if you're here for the first time, you can sign up here.)
Hawks 2, Stars 1 (OT)
Wizards at Bulls (7, NBCSCH)
So this is how it's going to be.
Bears fandom had barely stopped percolating the Derek Carr scenarios when Carson Wentz's music started playing on Friday.
Several national NFL reporters tweeted that the Eagles were going to aggressively pursue re-homing the No. 2 pick from the 2016 draft. Other local reporters followed with more specific reports that had the Bears' offer as the clubhouse leader.
By the time Saturday night rolled around, you'd have thought Wentz was already house-shopping in Glencoe and Ryan Pace and Co. were done collaborating on the position for this offseason.
That was far from the truth, though. A Wentz remains a highly-paid member of the Eagles and my rush of Pete Wentz-Fallout Boy jokes remains purely theoretical.
Here are the two tweets that drove much of this weekend's speculation:
- Philly radio reporter Natalie Egenolf tweeted on Saturday night that the Bears were close to sending Nick Foles, Tarik Cohen and the No. 20 pick to Philadelphia for Wentz. Cohen quickly shot the speculation down and gave a reason why he'd recently scrubbed his Instagram.
- Windy City Gridiron's Brandon Robinson kickstarted a lot of the speculation with a tweet on Friday and then a screenshot of a text from a source on Saturday night that said the Bears' offer would be more than just the No. 20 pick.
And that's pretty much it for now.
That doesn't mean that things can't change quickly
And if and when Wentz becomes a Chicago Bear, it's going to kick off six months of strife this fanbase hasn't seen before.
You think things were bad with Mitch Trubisky? A good portion of the fanbase actually liked Mitch and wanted to see him work out as recently as last month.
Wentz would land in Chicago needing to fight not only the doubts he's created with his recent play, but the battles of the man who would bring him here.
Make no mistake. A lot of this weekend's knee-jerk reaction to the Wentz rumors is a reaction to Pace's decision-making with quarterbacks. Anyone short of Deshaun Watson is going to face the same dynamic if they're tabbed the Bears quarterback of the future.
Wentz would bring plenty of his own baggage, though. He's coming off a historically-bad 2020 season and carries a hefty contract. The Eagles would have to eat a record $34.6 million cap charge just to get rid of him. If that doesn't scream red flag, I'm not sure what does.
At the same time, anyone wanting to talk themselves into Wentz before next September can find material. He's only 28 and was a MVP candidate during the Eagles Super. Bowl season before a late injury created the opportunity for Nick Foles. He posted a 4,000-yard season in 2019.
Still, if there's still a there there, why don't the Eagles want him to stick around to capitalize on it? Why are they willing to walk into NFL purgatory without him?
"The narrative here in Philly goes both ways," said an Eagles fan friend when I texted him. "The first is that Howie Roseman ruined him by providing zero talent for him from the draft and whiffed big by not taking advantage of the WR market last offseason.
"The second is that he's a selfish crybaby who's been coddled and protected by the organization since Day One."
Take away the character concerns and add in some stuff about Matt Nagy's gameplan and Mitch just not being very good. You get close to the dichotomy that's existed here between the Mitch Truthers and Haters for the past couple of seasons.
Like with Trubisky, I assume the truth with Wentz lies somewhere in that vast middle of people who see more gray than the extremists.
But the possibility of Pace swapping one former No. 2 pick who didn't prove worth the value of his tradeup bundle for another remains puzzling
As does getting into bed with another QB the Eagles didn't want.
With his job on the line, could Pace really be looking at combining both mistakes into a giant head scratcher of a finale that would cost even more money and draft capital?
That's the problem with continually missing on quarterback, though. The interest never stops compounding and the rumors never stop coming.
Buckle up for the week ahead.
Who relieved Mark Prior in his MLB debut in 2002?
Hawks win opener in Dallas
The Super Bowl didn't produce, but the Hawks-Stars opener before it sure did. Alex DeBrincat scored a power-play goal in regulation and then the game-winner in OT to earn a 2-1 win over the Stars in Dallas.
- Malcolm Subban turned in a good start, stopping 30 of 31 shots.
- The Hawks are 5-1-3 in their last nine games after a slow start to the season. At some point the power play might run cold and a few more shots will start slipping past the keepers. It'd be nice if the team starts getting more production on 5v5. For now, though, they're on a nice run.
- Hockey fight in a pandemic alert!
1. Devin Hester is eligible for the Hall of Fame starting next year. I'm guessing he'll probably have to wait a few years as he battles a bias against special teamers, but Luis Medina is already hitting the ground running to make #23's case. (Bleacher Nation)
2. Trevor Bauer is gone. So is Marcell Ozuna. The best free agents remaining with less than 10 days remaining until spring training. (Sox Machine)
3. Albert Almora is off the market, too. He's landed with the Mets. (NY Post)
4. Joc Pederson wrote a long piece for the Players Tribune and says he predicted he'd end up on the Cubs. (Players Tribune)
5. An oldie but a goodie: Bruce Arians says he was "bothered" by 2013 interview with the Bears. (CBS2Chicago)
Bonus link: Kevin Harlan's call of the Super Bowl streaker was maybe the best thing to come out of the game. (Westwood One)
Trivia answer: Pat Mahomes relieved Mark Prior on May 22, 2002 after Prior struck out 10 Pirates batters in six innings.