The best meal at the best bar in the world. Burger at the Billy Goat (with a proper beer).
I sat on what’s probably my favorite bar stool in the world, back to the wall of Wise Guy’s Corner in the World-Famous Billy Goat Tavern. In this hallowed drinking alcove were my friends Brian, long-time member of the Josie Woods mafia, and Rick, the Trib’s chief political reporter. We talked about stuff – Illinois state budget insanity, Trump, self-driving cars and their impact on the American workforce…etc. – and then the conversation switched over to the Bears.
And then it ended.
There’s nothing to talk about.
Not living in Chicago, I can really only take the pulse of the town when I’m here for short bursts. And in December, the number of “Bears tourists” can mask the city’s prevailing winds. These are people who don’t live in the city but travel here, maybe from downstate, maybe from Indiana, maybe from Queens New York, to see the Bears because they love the Bears despite their record. They wear Bears hats and jackets. They go to the bars and want to talk about the Bears and very little else.
And they’re not here in March. My Bears hat is one of about eleven I’ve seen since last Wednesday. People are asking me for directions on the street because, hey, if I’m still wearing a Bears hat I have to be from here.
Jerry had a mane of white hair and nursed a mug of Schlitz at the Goat for the better part of 20 minutes before finally speaking to me.
“What do you think of the Bears?”
What did he do next?
He laughed. Didn’t even wait for me to respond. Just laughed.
This town is not bracing for the worst. They believe the Bears have already begun their descent into the toilet. They didn’t see anything to be optimistic about in 2016 and don’t see any reason for optimism with the current make-up of the roster. Especially when it comes to the guy throwing passes.
“What if they take a quarterback early in the draft?” I asked Jerry.
“Their draft choices never work out.”
Who was I to argue? It was going to take more than one great draft class to convince Jerry of anything. And if the Bears want to keep Jerry watching on Sundays, they better start winning football games.
Hell, forget about getting Jerry to watch. That seems like a Pizano’s deep dish pie in the sky. Just get him to stop laughing.
While the Cubs were losing Game One of the World Series, rumors were circulating regarding a potential trade of Alshon Jeffery to the Philadelphia Eagles. My opposition to such a move has been stated many times. Brad Biggs addressed the situation in his mailbag this week:
Forget additional draft picks for the Bears for a minute. What would they do at wide receiver without Jeffery? It’s widely assumed at this point that the franchise is going to go in a different direction at quarterback at the end of the season. I imagine general manager Ryan Pace is going to want some wide receivers that can be real assets for his new quarterback. Take Jeffery out of the equation and the Bears are one of the weakest teams in the NFL at the position because they have no idea what Kevin White will be like in 2017. It’s uncertain at this point if White will return from leg surgery to play in December. Eddie Royal is hurt once again and the guaranteed money in his contract is done after this season. Cameron Meredith has been a pleasant surprise with expanded opportunities in the last two months but he’s probably not ready to be a frontline player. I think there is a much better chance the Bears look at signing Jeffery to a long-term contract averaging $14 million per season.
The bottom line to me is trading Jeffery for a mid-round draft pick doesn’t benefit the Bears.
If Ryan Pace doesn’t value Jeffery, Ryan Pace is wrong.
Adam Jahns and I will spend a lot of time on tomorrow’s podcast discussing Jay Cutler so I won’t sample any of that material here. But I did like the frustration emanating out of his lede here: