The Chicago Bears have addressed many areas of need this offseason, but one position needs some serious help in 2020.
The Chicago Bears upgraded many positions that were a disappointment in 2019, however, one area seems to not have been addressed at all this offseason. No, I am not referring to any of the offensive line positions. As much as it pains me to say this, signing Germain Ifedi and Jason Spriggs are actually upgrades, despite them not being major upgrades.
No, I am referring to a position that the only additions the team made were via undrafted free agents — inside linebacker.
Inside Linebacker Depth
When it comes to the starters at inside linebacker, the team is set. Roquan Smith and Danny Trevathan make up one of the better inside linebacker duos in the NFL. At least when they are both healthy. That was not the case in 2019 though.
While both missed time, backup linebackers Nick Kwiatkoski and Kevin Pierre-Louis had to step up. Kwiatkoski stepped up indeed and found himself a starting role with the Las Vegas Raiders. The Chicago Bears chose to extend Trevathan over Kwiatkoski. Pierre-Louis also found what could be a better opportunity in Washington.
When we look at the players behind Smith and Trevathan, we will see some similar names. Two guys who were on the team already are now going to have to step up. Josh Woods and Joel Iyiegbuniwe will have to prove they can contribute if Smith or Trevathan are injured again this year. Although I like both young players, I do not have great confidence in the two of them and would prefer Ryan Pace adds at least one more veteran with proven success.
The name everyone else refers to at this position for the Bears is undrafted free agent Rashad Smith out of Florida Atlantic. Listen, I like this guy’s potential, but there are reasons these guys go undrafted. We cannot expect him to take over a starting role and succeed should Smith or Trevathan sustain a serious injury.
As offseason programs are hopefully opening up soon, Pace should take a serious look at some inside linebacker help once the June 1st cuts start to happen. Standing pat with the current roster might burn them since Trevathan has some injury history and Smith has not been a gold standard for health either. As of now, this position has been downgraded from a depth perspective and that is a risky move for a team trying to prove 2018 was not a fluke.