The Chicago Bears have been one of the most disappointing teams in the NFL this season, and it’s due to a litany of problems.
Their quarterback stinks, they lack top-end talent at the skill positions in general, their offensive line is porous and even their well-renowned defense has taken a step back.
No one thing is going to be the solution for the Bears, as it’s looking more and more like their 12-win campaign in 2018 was more smoke and mirrors — and perhaps the product of a weak NFC North — more than anything else.
With Chicago sitting at 3-5 entering Week 10 and staring an early offseason in the face, it’s time for the Bears to start thinking about how they will improve their team going into 2020.
One obvious area of concern is the run game.
Chicago went into this season thinking it would have sort of a three-headed monster in its backfield that featured Mike Davis, Tarik Cohen and rookie David Montgomery.
Instead, what we have gotten is an unmitigated disaster.
Davis carried the ball 11 times for 25 yards over the first half of the season and was just cut. Cohen has been a virtual non-factor all year. Montgomery has shown some flashes, but he is averaging just 3.6 yards per carry overall.
Basically, the Bears have had one of the worst run games in the NFL this year, and while horrendous quarterback play from Mitchell Trubisky and a shaky — to say the least — offensive line have played a clear role in Chicago’s inept ground attack, it also seems pretty evident that Matt Nagy’s club lacks elite talent in its backfield.
That’s why the Bears should be one of the first teams calling once Melvin Gordon hits free agency this offseason.
No, Gordon isn’t Saquon Barkley or Ezekiel Elliott, but he is certainly better than anything Chicago currently has in its backfield, and he does have a couple of Pro Bowl appearances on his resume.
It certainly doesn’t look like Gordon will be back with the Los Angeles Chargers next season after all the two sides have been through since the summer, so the 26-year-old will almost definitely be wearing another uniform come 2020.
Why not the Bears?
It should be noted that Chicago doesn’t exactly have the best salary cap situation heading into the spring, but the NFL is not like the NBA, as you can simply cut players top open up cap room.
Of course, that isn’t an easy task, as sometimes, you have to make some tough decision as an NFL general manager. But if it’s for the overall betterment of the team, you have to do it.
Let’s be real: the Bears haven’t had a good offense in what literally seems like forever. They are not known as an offensive franchise, and that’s okay, but in order to contend for a Super Bowl, they need more than what they have.
At the very least, Chicago needs at least one player who somewhat resembles an elite guy at his respective position, which is something the club just does not have at the moment.
The Bears certainly don’t have that in their backfield, and while Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel are solid wide receivers, they are far from being among the best at their position (even though Robinson does have one genuinely great season in his rearview mirror).
But right now, Chicago should just focus on getting a running back who can actually carry the load on a weekly basis (like Gordon), which would also help Trubisky potentially settle in and become something more than a liability under center.
That, in turn, would open up the Bears’ aerial attack and would make their offense much more balanced as a whole.
Again, Gordon is not one of the top five halfbacks in the league, and he actually may even be a bit overrated at this point, but he’s no scrub. Furthermore, he is a superior rusher to Cohen and Montgomery — at least right now.
To be clear, Chicago needs more than just Gordon. Simply adding a running back will not suddenly turn your offense from miserable to great. Just ask the New York Jets, who have learned the hard way that merely plugging Le’Veon Bell into their system will not solve their problems in one fell swoop.
But it’s better to have Bell than not to have Bell, and the Bears can follow that same logic with Gordon.
Yes, Chicago still needs to add some offensive linemen who can actually stay healthy. Yes, the Bears need a true No. 1 receiver. And yes, Trubisky needs to play up to the standard of a No. 2 overall pick.
But sometimes, you have to take baby steps to reach your final destination, and for Chicago, adding Melvin Gordon this offseason could be a rather significant step to future success.