The Chicago Bears inked a low-risk, one-year deal with former 2013 first-round pick Barkevious Mingo late last night. Here’s how he could impact the team.
On a day in which the New England Patriots added quarterback depth to begin their new regime and the Miami Dolphins shelled out the most guaranteed money to a defensive back in league history, the Chicago Bears made a pair of under-the-radar moves to shore up their defense and special teams depth.
Late into the night, the Chicago Bears agreed to a one-year deal worth $1.1 million with $887,000 fully guaranteed with former 2013 No. 6 selection, Barkevious Mingo. The move won’t shift the Vegas Super Bowl odds, but it does provide the Bears with depth at a position it sorely lacked at times a season ago.
Last season, the Chicago Bears had “only” 110 combined missed games last season by players, which ranked second-healthiest in the league, trailing only NFC North rival Minnesota (76). However, Chicago had to endure losses to Danny Trevathan for nearly half the season and Roquan Smith for one-fourth of the season, as well as a few scratches here and there within the linebacking corps, which makes this signing a safety valve if nothing else.
Best of all, the acquisition breeds familiarity. As NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport brought forth, Mingo spent time with Bears’ defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano as an Indianapolis Colt in 2017, and special teams coach Chris Tabor in Cleveland, from 2013 to 2015. Mingo impressed during a Monday Night Football game against Chicago two seasons ago, where he put his versatility on display.
For Chicago Bears fans, perhaps it’s hard to feel any sense of enthusiasm about any special teams guru that isn’t say, Devin Hester, or even Sherrick McManis. However, when thinking about how Mingo assists the team, that’s the bonafide way. Similar to fellow signee Jordan Lucas, Mingo provides the team with another “headhunter” on kickoffs, an area in which the Bears struggled mightily a season ago.
Chicago didn’t have many kickoffs in 2018-19 — they seldom scored — but when they did, they weren’t a standout. Only six teams gave up more average yards per return than the Chicago Bears did.
At this point, Mingo can probably be referred to as an “ace” on special teams. Mingo played 391 snaps last season for the Houston Texans, with 318 of those coming on special teams. He’ll likely play a part in replacing Nick Kwiatkoski.
During his time with the Seahawks, special teams coordinator Brian Schneider shed some positive light on Mingo’s impact in those settings, as well as how it translates to leadership:
"“If you ever watch Mingo, the style in which he plays is exactly what we’re looking for. He is going full-speed, full-strain, running and hitting people. It’s just a great example for younger guys on how to practice and then how to play.”"
That’s not bad for someone who served merely as a footnote in the Jadeveon Clowney deal. Mingo’s days as a full-time starting linebacker are at a crossroads; he’s played in over 50 percent of his team’s defensive snaps just once since 2014. And last year, he produced just six tackles and two QB hits.
Such is the life for a now eight-year veteran on his sixth team. But, he was a key contributor to a 10-6 Seattle Seahawks team in 2018, where both his coverage skills and his weakside-a-gap presence were lauded in a deep-dive analysis film study. He’s also proven he can succeed in both a 4-3 and a 3-4, and brings championship experience from New England.
Coaching changes and injuries ranging from knee to lung have stunted any chance he’s had of building on something season-after-season. As the Chicago Bears await a chance to see how it plays out, they’ll be left with the hope that they can get some ‘Bark, and a little bite as well.