Chicago Bears vs. 49ers: Which franchise will be competitive first?

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 10: General manager Ryan Pace of the Chicago Bears is seen on the sidelines before a preseason game against the Denver Broncos at Soldier Field on August 10, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 10: General manager Ryan Pace of the Chicago Bears is seen on the sidelines before a preseason game against the Denver Broncos at Soldier Field on August 10, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Can the Chicago Bears get back to their winning ways before the 49ers do?

With the 3-8 Chicago Bears taking on the 1-10 San Francisco 49ers there is not much on the line in 2017 for either side. These two teams swapped the second and third pick last year and both will likely be back in the top five in after this year. With consistent struggles in recent history for prominently known teams, it does beg the question, which team will get back to relevance first? We just the Rams find their way from having the fifth worst record in the NFL to winning eight games. Can either team be the 2018 version of that?


As we go position by position to look at who will be better, the 49ers get off to a gigantic lead in the long term hope category when it comes to coaching. To start, they do know who their coach will be in 2018. Let’s face it, John Fox will not be here. All of the rumors aside, until we see who the Bears do hire, this is an incomplete grade with the 49ers off to a huge head start in terms of continuity. It also appears as though the 49ers respect their coach, and that he may be able to sustain success soon.


The quarterback situation between the 49ers and Bears is always going to be one to watch. The 49ers sat at pick two and the Bears at pick three. Both had eyes on Jimmy Garoppolo and Mitchell Trubisky. While it took longer than expected, both wound up with their guys one way or another. How each turns out will be discussed for years to come.

At the moment, you could make a case for Garoppolo having the slight edge, showing more on tape over a four-year career. However, the 49ers are going to have to make a long-term commitment on Garoppolo this offseason. The Bears, on the other hand, have four more years before making long-term decisions on Trubisky.

If the 49ers extend Garoppolo, which they likely will, their ability to build a team around him will become hindered with less cap space. The Bears now have a much higher percentage of cap space to spend on pieces to make Trubisky better, which gives the Bears the slight edge here.

Running back

The 49ers are in another predicament when it comes to Carlos Hyde. Hyde is arguably a top ten running back in the NFL, but he is a free agent in 2018. If so much money is going to the quarterback, how much can go to big-name running back? They drafted Joe Williams, but they play undrafted free agent Matt Breida. Is that enough, or do they draft?

On the other side, the Bears are in a position to succeed because of their ground attack. Jordan Howard is a top ten running back, and a power player between the tackles. Tarik Cohen is the lightning to his thunder with big plays waiting to happen in the hands of a new coaching staff. Both are signed for the next few years and give the Bears a chance to win before the 49ers

Wide receivers

Not many teams are going to have a worse receiving corps than the Bears. That holds true with the 1-10 49ers. It is not to say that their receivers are great, and Pierre Garcon is injured, but he is the best of the bunch. Trent Taylor also brings upside in the slot. The Bears are hoping Cameron Meredith can come back from a gruesome knee injury and are essentially done thinking about Kevin White at this point. That is long term outlook at wide receiver. Score this to the 49ers.

Tight End

Both teams invested in tight ends via the NFL draft in May. The 49ers drafted George Kittle later but played him earlier. He has had his moments, ripped off some big plays and is proving he can block and catch in the NFL. Adam Shaheen has had ups and downs but has hardly seen the field enough to tell. This is becoming an early lead for the 49ers hopes, and if the Bears continue to refuse to play Shaheen while the 49ers develop their tight end on the field with their young quarterback, the 49ers can only fly ahead of the Bears.

Offensive Line

The Bears are going to have to answer some serious questions this offseason, but they currently have a better offensive line. The 49ers have very little invested in the offensive line aside from Joe Staley, who is aging.

Josh Sitton is as well for the Bears, and Kyle Long has injury questions but they do have Eric Kush, who has shown at times as a potential starter. They also invested in Charles Leno, and Cody Whitehair, while struggling in his second season is still a better long-term bet than Daniel Kilgore. Overall, this position goes to the Bears.