Brad Biggs Ten Thoughts

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Brad Biggs Ten Thoughts

Thu Sep 20, 2018 8:33 pm

It's lengthy so I won't post it all but rather highlight a couple of things. ... story.html#" onclick=";return false;

7. The Bears are probably done handing out big contracts — I mean really big contracts — for a while after the extension to nose tackle Eddie Goldman. Could safety Adrian Amos eventually be paid? That’s possible, but at some point the Bears are not going to be able to pay everyone and they’ll finally get back into the game of picking up occasional compensatory draft picks (which happens only when you allow players whom other teams covet to walk in free agency). It’s always wise to track the marketplace when it comes to the largest contracts across the league and given the ongoing stare-down between the Steelers and running back Le’Veon Bell.

I asked former agent Joel Corry, who is now a contract and salary-cap expert for CBS Sports, if we should expect to see more players either playing out their contracts to reach the open market or holding out in order to get raises. “You’ve got to get them (signed) before the (contract) season starts because there becomes a point in time during the season where the guy has incurred enough of a risk for injury and poor performance that he would rather just see it through. So you better do it early, so you either do it now or during the first quarter of the season because he might go, ‘You know what, I’ll play out the string.’

9. The NFL released statistics on Week 1 rosters and the Bears were the 12th youngest in the league with an average age of 25.77 years. The Vikings have the youngest roster in the NFC and third youngest in the league at 25.47 years. The Packers and Seahawks are just ahead of the Bears, tied for the 10th youngest at 25.74. The Bears opened the season with four players 30 and older — Chase Daniel (31), Sam Acho (30), Sherrick McManis (30) and Patrick Scales (30). None is a starter. Only the Browns, Jaguars and Jets (three each) and Cowboys (two) have fewer 30-year-olds.

6. The developmental 10-man practice squad generally has had quite a bit of turnover,
although the Bears have yet to make a move this season. One player to keep an eye on is outside linebacker Josh Woods, who went undrafted out of Maryland. He has an interesting back story, and when the Bears re-signed him to the practice squad after he missed the majority of the preseason, it was a tipoff. Woods was converted to outside linebacker after coming to rookie minicamp on a tryout basis as a safety in May. Woods had a breakout senior season with 62 tackles, 4½ tackles for loss, four pass breakups, two interceptions and a forced fumble in 10 games (nine starts). But Woods went undrafted, and only the Bears called his agent — and that was to offer him a tryout.

“I think I turned some heads,” Woods said. “I was obviously disappointed in not getting signed after rookie minicamp but I talked to my agent, and he said he had some conversations with the Bears and they were interested if I was willing to make that change to linebacker. So I went home (to Baltimore) and gained some weight, started doing linebacker individual drills, just trying to catch up really because I am way behind the learning curve at linebacker, obviously.”

Woods worked out daily after the initial tryout — and then hammered a steak and baked potato for lunch after every session in an effort to build out his frame. He played in college between 205 and 210 pounds and surprised himself when he stepped on the scale at Halas Hall during rookie minicamp and weighed 220.

“When I came here and throughout pro day and training, someone put the idea in my head about guys like (Cardinals linebacker) Deone Buchanon and the hybrid positions, so I gained a little weight to see how it would feel. I still felt fast, still felt agile. The heaviest I got during training was 225. I dropped all the way back down for pro days so I could play as a safety. When I came out here for rookie minicamp and I stepped on the scale I was 220. I was like, ‘Whoa. That’s a big safety.’ I still felt like I was doing well. People were still telling me I was doing well at safety. But that last day of rookie minicamp, they threw me in at linebacker just to see what I could do. But like I said, nothing came of it.”

In five weeks, he got up to 229 pounds in training for a new position, and the Bears brought him back in June for veteran minicamp, again on a tryout basis. He secured a contract that time, earning a trip to training camp. Woods was doing his best to learn on the fly when he suffered a broken left pinkie finger on the a punt in the second preseason game against the Bengals. His arm got twisted on the tackle and he knew something was wrong.

The Bears kept Woods, and by the time the regular season rolled around, he was ready to get back on the practice field. He’s weighing in between 233 and 237 pounds. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.66 seconds at the Maryland pro day, so he can move well. He’s facing the starting offense in practice daily and hoping to continue to impress.

Woods is a long shot, just like all the players on the practice squad. But the Bears are always going to keep an eye out for athletic edge defenders, even after adding a player at the top of the depth chart in Khalil Mack. There’s no such thing as having too many pass rushers.

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