Just like many of you, I still — at times — shake my head in disbelief. Even though Chicagoans are now two days removed from the Bears’ 16-15 loss to the Eagles, the sound of Cody Parkey’s missed field goal is still as deafening as it was on Sunday night: doink, doink.
That sound is something that would be frequently found on the pages of a Marvel comic written by the great Stan Lee. Except this isn’t fiction for the Bears; Instead, it is just the harsh reality that is the NFL. Chicago’s 2018 season is over, and just like all of the teams that are not in the playoffs changes must be made moving forward.
And an all too familiar opponent, the Packers, have made their first move by hiring former Titans’ offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur to be their next head coach. The Bears won’t be looking for anybody to replace Matt Nagy, but they may have to go into the 2019 season looking for a new defensive coordinator. On the Monday following the Bears’ loss, Vic Fangio had his head coaching interview with the Denver Broncos and also had dinner later that evening with John Elway.
Fangio did not travel with Elway back to Denver, but that is no guarantee the mastermind behind Chicago’s dominating defense will stay. To add, on what could be a coachless-lead unit in the upcoming days, there is also more uncertainty. Both safety Adrian Amos and nickel corner Bryce Callahan will be free agents next season, and Ryan Pace could be forced to let one of the members of the Bears’ secondary, which helped lead the league in interceptions (27), hit the open market.
Of course, another obvious change, and understandably so, is that the Bears part ways with Parkey. According to Spotrac, the Bears would lose just under $5.2 million. It’s a price the organization must be willing to pay, especially if Chicago wants to avoid future disastrous situations from repeating themselves. Imagine what would happen if Parkey hit another field goal post in the closing seconds of a game. No joke, Bears fans might storm the field.
The Bears’ offense should also expect to see some possible changes heading into the next season. This shouldn’t shock anyone, but Pace’s first-ever pick as Bears GM, Kevin White, will be gone. Also, a decision will have to be made on whether the Bears bring back soon-to-be free agent right tackle Bobby Massie.
And I wouldn’t bet my money that running back Jordan Howard is a lock to be on the team next season. Yes, Howard still does have a year remaining on his rookie contract, but with the inconsistency of the running game and Nagy favoring a more versatile back, Howard’s time in Chicago could be over.
Change is common and to be expected in the NFL, and this is especially true when the ultimate goal of winning a Super Bowl is not obtained. For the Bears, a team that finished far ahead of schedule than what they were projected coming into the 2018 season, the next changes could be the ones that propel the organization from deafening disappointment to overwhelming success.