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"Bears Face Backlash Over Controversial Offseason Move"


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Vince Carbonneau
May 15, 2024  (2:06 PM)
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Ryan Poles at the podium
Photo credit: Sports Illustrated

The Chicago Bears have experienced one of the most transformative and thrilling offseasons in the NFL. Their noteworthy acquisitions include No. 1 overall draft pick Caleb Williams, a promising quarterback who could reshape the franchise. Complementing him are skilled wide receivers such as veteran Keenan Allen and newcomer Rome Odunze.

On defense, the Bears have been equally active, securing players like veteran safety Kevin Byard on a two-year deal. However, this signing has been met with criticism. Alex Kay of Bleacher Report included it in his list of the "Worst Decisions of the 2024 NFL Offseason," citing concerns over Byard's age and diminishing capabilities as he enters his age-31 season.
Kay suggests that Byard, who had notable success with the Tennessee Titans and a brief stint with the Philadelphia Eagles, may no longer deliver the performances he once did, potentially complicating the Bears' efforts to improve in 2024. Despite the skepticism, the financial impact of Byard's contract appears minimal. The Bears managed to save money by releasing former veteran safety Eddie Jackson, who had a higher salary cap hit, thus making Byard's contract seem financially sensible.
Byard's contract ranks tenth in terms of value on the Bears' roster for 2024, a year when the Bears still have nearly $23 million in cap space. This allows them flexibility for further signings and rookie contracts.
Though concerns about Byard's age and past performance linger—highlighted by a challenging last season with the Eagles where he allowed a career-high in receiving percentage and yards—comparatively, he still outperformed Jackson in several metrics, indicating potential value as a more versatile safety option for the Bears.
As Byard steps into the Chicago defense, the Bears hope his experience and skill set will strengthen their secondary, despite the critiques of his signing.
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MAY 15   |   53 ANSWERS
"Bears Face Backlash Over Controversial Offseason Move"

Do you think Kevin Byard will improve the Bears' defense in 2024?

Yes4381.1 %
No1018.9 %
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