Is Bryce Callahan the most undervalued player on the Chicago Bears?
One of the most consistent yet underrated players for the Chicago Bears this season has been nickel-corner Bryce Callahan.
There are many narratives ascribed to the Chicago Bears’ 2018 season. One of the topics on the back burner is the looming contract extensions for some key players.
The most notable is Leonard Floyd whose contract isn’t up until after the 2019 season. The most impending would, of course, be safety Adrian Amos, who is in the final year of his rookie deal.
While there are other players whose upcoming contracts need attention, I’d argue the most pivotal is the undrafted free-agent from Rice University, Bryce Callahan.
Callahan has seen steady growth in his four-year tenure with the Bears. He came in as a rotational slot corner who only saw playing time when the starters needed a rest. Every season after that, Callahan has seen his role increase as his speed and natural coverage ability were far better than advertised.
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In Callahan’s third season, it was apparent that he was a valuable cornerback, but the reservations that the organization would have with a potential extension were health related. Callahan has yet to play a full season due to various small injuries. He missed six games his rookie season, five the next, and only four in 2017. In 2018, Callahan has played in all eight games and is already having his best season.
Through eight games, Callahan has already matched his season-best in tackles with 32 total tackles. He also has one interception, one sack, six QB pressures, and four passes defended throughout the first half of the season, setting a pace for him to smash his season totals in every area.
Just how good has Callahan been this season? Pro Football Focus gives Callahan an 82.6 overall rating, good enough to be the eight best corner in the NFL. Who is the seventh best corner according to PFF? Arizona Cardinals’ veteran Patrick Peterson with an 82.7 rating. Pretty good company.
Callahan has informed the media that he and the Bears’ organization have yet to have contractual negotiations, but that his sole focus is on this 2018 season. If the Bears perform to the level that many expect this season, with Callahan being an impactful part of the process, the Bears will have to find a way to retain their invaluable slot cornerback.