Bears headed toward full-blown rebuild

Trading wide receiver Brandon Marshall to the Jets is a clear signal new Bears GM Ryan Pace and head coach John Fox are prepared to wipe the slate clean and build the roster from scratch.

This morning, Bear Report’s Aaron Leming broke the news that the Chicago Bears will be trading wide receiver Brandon Marshall to the New York Jets.

Marshall was, by far, the greatest receiver to ever play in the Windy City. He set franchise records in 2012 with 118 catches and 1,508 receiving yards, then caught 100 passes for 1,295 yards in 2013. In three years as a Bear, Marshall caught 31 touchdown passes.

By the numbers, he’s one of the greatest receivers of his generation. The Bears will not be able to replace that level of production overnight.

In fact, they may never be able to replace what Marshall brought to the field.

This is the first official bomb GM Ryan Pace has dropped during his brief tenure in Chicago. Dumping one of the NFL’s most dominant receivers for a fifth-round pick does not constitute easing into your job.

It’s a move that sends a clear signal to the rest of the roster that change, both in personnel and in attitude, is coming.

There are strong rumors the Bears are shopping both Jay Cutler and Matt Forte, and may be willing to take 30 cents on the dollar to dump their cumbersome contracts – Cutler is due $15.5 million this year, with another $10 million becoming guaranteed on March 12, while Forte carries a $9.2 million cap hit in 2015.

If Pace is willing to move Cutler, Forte and Marshall all in the same offseason, it’s clear he’s ready to make wholesale personnel changes.

And remember, this is a team with serious needs on the defensive side of the ball. In fact, one could make the case the Bears need new starters at every position on defense.

If Pace cuts the legs out on offense, it means he’ll be rebuilding both sides of the ball from the ground up.

That’s a monumental task for the league’s youngest GM, a goal that will take much longer than one offseason to accomplish. At this point, Bears fans should temper expectations for 2015, as it will likely be the first year of a long development process.

That said, substantial improvement can be made over the next few months if the club can dump the salaries of Cutler and Forte. With Cutler, the club could save $15.5 million this year and another $10 million in 2016, while cutting Forte would add another $8.2 million in spending money.

The Bears will have roughly $31.5 million in available cap space after the Marshall trade. Adding nearly $24 million by purging Cutler and Forte would give the club in the ballpark of $55 million to spend in free agency.

That’s enough money to build a solid foundation for the future.

Things could be rough in the short-term but if all goes according to plan, Pace will have enough money to rebuild this team in short order, assuming he’s a better judge of talent and character than his predecessor.

DISCUSS THIS TOPIC AT OUR BEAR REPORT FORUMS

VIEW MORE CONTENT AT BEAR REPORT


Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. He is in his fifth season covering the Chicago Bears full time. Follow Bear Report on Twitter.

Bear Report Top Stories

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Marshall was, by far, the greatest receiver to ever play in the Windy City. He set franchise records in 2012 with 118 catches and 1,508 receiving yards, then caught 100 passes for 1,295 yards in 2013. In three years as a Bear, Marshall caught 31 touchdown passes.

\r\n\r\n

By the numbers, he’s one of the greatest receivers of his generation. The Bears will not be able to replace that level of production overnight.

\r\n\r\n

In fact, they may never be able to replace what Marshall brought to the field.

\r\n\r\n

This is the first official bomb GM Ryan Pace has dropped during his brief tenure in Chicago. Dumping one of the NFL’s most dominant receivers for a fifth-round pick does not constitute easing into your job.

\r\n\r\n

It’s a move that sends a clear signal to the rest of the roster that change, both in personnel and in attitude, is coming.

\r\n\r\n

There are strong rumors the Bears are shopping both Jay Cutler and Matt Forte, and may be willing to take 30 cents on the dollar to dump their cumbersome contracts – Cutler is due $15.5 million this year, with another $10 million becoming guaranteed on March 12, while Forte carries a $9.2 million cap hit in 2015.

\r\n\r\n

If Pace is willing to move Cutler, Forte and Marshall all in the same offseason, it’s clear he’s ready to make wholesale personnel changes.

\r\n\r\n

And remember, this is a team with serious needs on the defensive side of the ball. In fact, one could make the case the Bears need new starters at every position on defense.

\r\n\r\n

If Pace cuts the legs out on offense, it means he’ll be rebuilding both sides of the ball from the ground up.

\r\n\r\n

That’s a monumental task for the league’s youngest GM, a goal that will take much longer than one offseason to accomplish. At this point, Bears fans should temper expectations for 2015, as it will likely be the first year of a long development process.

\r\n\r\n

That said, substantial improvement can be made over the next few months if the club can dump the salaries of Cutler and Forte. With Cutler, the club could save $15.5 million this year and another $10 million in 2016, while cutting Forte would add another $8.2 million in spending money.

\r\n\r\n

The Bears will have roughly $31.5 million in available cap space after the Marshall trade. Adding nearly $24 million by purging Cutler and Forte would give the club in the ballpark of $55 million to spend in free agency.

\r\n\r\n

That’s enough money to build a solid foundation for the future.

\r\n\r\n

Things could be rough in the short-term but if all goes according to plan, Pace will have enough money to rebuild this team in short order, assuming he’s a better judge of talent and character than his predecessor.

\r\n\r\n

DISCUSS THIS TOPIC AT OUR BEAR REPORT FORUMS

\r\n\r\n

See what Bears fans are saying here

\r\n\r\n

VIEW MORE CONTENT AT BEAR REPORT

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Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. He is in his fifth season covering the Chicago Bears full time. Follow Bear Report on Twitter. \r\n \r\n","mobileBody":"

This morning, Bear Report’s Aaron Leming broke the news that the Chicago Bears will be trading wide receiver Brandon Marshall to the New York Jets.

Separate sources have confirmed that WR Brandon %%MATCH_5%% will be traded to the #Jets for a "late round" pick on Tuesday. #Bears

— Aaron Leming (@AaronLemingNFL) March 6, 2015

Marshall was, by far, the greatest receiver to ever play in the Windy City. He set franchise records in 2012 with 118 catches and 1,508 receiving yards, then caught 100 passes for 1,295 yards in 2013. In three years as a Bear, Marshall caught 31 touchdown passes.

By the numbers, he’s one of the greatest receivers of his generation. The Bears will not be able to replace that level of production overnight.

In fact, they may never be able to replace what Marshall brought to the field.

This is the first official bomb GM Ryan Pace has dropped during his brief tenure in Chicago. Dumping one of the NFL’s most dominant receivers for a fifth-round pick does not constitute easing into your job.

It’s a move that sends a clear signal to the rest of the roster that change, both in personnel and in attitude, is coming.

There are strong rumors the Bears are shopping both Jay Cutler and Matt Forte, and may be willing to take 30 cents on the dollar to dump their cumbersome contracts – Cutler is due $15.5 million this year, with another $10 million becoming guaranteed on March 12, while Forte carries a $9.2 million cap hit in 2015.

If Pace is willing to move Cutler, Forte and Marshall all in the same offseason, it’s clear he’s ready to make wholesale personnel changes.

And remember, this is a team with serious needs on the defensive side of the ball. In fact, one could make the case the Bears need new starters at every position on defense.

If Pace cuts the legs out on offense, it means he’ll be rebuilding both sides of the ball from the ground up.

That’s a monumental task for the league’s youngest GM, a goal that will take much longer than one offseason to accomplish. At this point, Bears fans should temper expectations for 2015, as it will likely be the first year of a long development process.

That said, substantial improvement can be made over the next few months if the club can dump the salaries of Cutler and Forte. With Cutler, the club could save $15.5 million this year and another $10 million in 2016, while cutting Forte would add another $8.2 million in spending money.

The Bears will have roughly $31.5 million in available cap space after the Marshall trade. Adding nearly $24 million by purging Cutler and Forte would give the club in the ballpark of $55 million to spend in free agency.

That’s enough money to build a solid foundation for the future.

Things could be rough in the short-term but if all goes according to plan, Pace will have enough money to rebuild this team in short order, assuming he’s a better judge of talent and character than his predecessor.

See what Bears fans are saying here

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