A few thoughts on this decision by Poles and Flus:
- Houston-Carson has always seemed a player that deserves more snaps on defense, and a natural complement to Eddie Jackson’s game at safety. He’s a playmaker; what he might lack physically down-for-down he can overcome by rising in the bigger moments. (The pick above, the pick to ice a victory over the Panthers, etc.)
- Chris Tabor referred to DHC as the “straw that stirs the drink” on specials and I’m not sure a more glowing review can come from a third phase coordinator.
- The Browns gave Jakeem Grant a three-year deal worth up to $13.8 million. The Packers needed to clean up their horrific special teams and brought in Pat O’Donnell at $2 million a year. Those are the kinds of moves that make sense for contenders – teams looking to patch their few holes for a championship run. The Bears can fill those two spots with Khalil Herbert and an undrafted free agent (or late pick). The signing of DHC suggests the Bears see him as an essential piece.
- There’s been some conversation about the Bears being in a “rebuild” but there’s an absent nuance to that conversation. In baseball, a team can definitively rebuild by dealing off veterans for prospects. But football doesn’t have prospects; it has lottery tickets called draft picks. The Bears didn’t deal Khalil Mack for the second-round pick. They dealt Khalil Mack to clear $25 million (or whatever) off their books next off-season. Everything Poles is doing is geared towards next off-season. Would he love for Pringle, St. Brown and DHC to become reliable contributors? Of course. But signing them to low-risk, one-year deals gives the coaching staff a year to evaluate them up close, while giving them full roster flexibility next off-season. When folks talk of rebuilds, they seem to suggest multi-year projects. Those don’t exist in the NFL. If Justin Fields takes a significant step in 2022, the Bears can absolutely be contenders in 2023. And Poles, wisely, recognizes that.