Good morning, Chicago!
The Chicago Bears own the No. 1 pick in April’s draft and man did we earn that.
The last six to eight weeks have been so strange for Bears fans, depending on when you threw up your hands and started hoping for the highest draft pick possible.
I got there after the first loss to the Lions on November 13 though I’ll admit to a brief break when the Packers came calling in early December.
The rest of the last two months put me in a spot I didn’t like. I felt conflicted over the smallest of positive developments for the Bears like first downs or turnovers. Watching the actual games felt like an exercise in nihilism.
Beat the Jets or Falcons? But why?
Upset the Eagles or Bills? What’s the point?
Electric highlights from Justin Fields provided enough nourishment and excitement that it didn’t feel like a total waste of time. Knowing we have the quarterback of the future made the 10-game whipping a lot more bearable.
And it all sure felt nice on Sunday as the Bears lost to the Vikings and the Texans pulled off a miracle win over the Colts in what turned out to be Lovie Smith’s last game as Houston’s coach. There was a small part of me that thinks it’s weird we celebrated that No. 1 pick the way we did in studio, but also can you blame us? That was probably the third-best moment of the past 10 years, just behind beating the Packers in 2018 to clinch the NFC North and Fields falling to the Bears two springs ago.
A tough task now awaits
Ryan Poles took the Bears GM job less than a year ago and immediately committed himself to eating the dead cap money, stocking up on draft picks and rigging the squad so it had as poor of a chance to win games as possible. (Not that he’d ever admit to that last point.)
The plan all came together with a Fields level-up as the biggest bonus imaginable and trading the 33rd pick for Chase Claypool as an unexpected booby trap we’d all like back.
Now comes the hard part. Poles must wisely spend over $100 million in cap room while also succeeding in a draft that is long on possibility when it comes to picks and potential trade partners.
All of it must be done in the name of restoring order to the Bears universe and returning us to a spot where we’re entering each Sunday hoping for a real victory and not a “tank win.”
And the franchise better succeed after what it just put us through because I’m not sure we can go through that again.
The Week Ahead
• The White Sox will be thinking of closer Liam Hendriks who will begin cancer treatment today after announcing on Sunday night that he has non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
• Are the Bulls good now? Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves but they’ve looked good on this current three-game winning streak over Milwaukee, Philadelphia and Utah. They can get back to .500 with a solid week that starts tonight in Boston and travels to Washington on Wednesday before returning home to face Oklahoma City on Friday and Golden State during a Sunday matinee.
• Two straight wins for the Blackhawks earns them a few days off before facing the Avalanche on Thursday and the Kraken on Saturday. Both games are at home.
• After two winters without a convention, the Cubs and their fans will again convene at the Hilton starting on Friday. Our CHGO Cubs crew will be there all weekend long making content and hanging out with fans. Say hi if you see them around!