The Bears have until Wednesday to apply the franchise tag on Alshon Jeffery, but they won’t do it, which means that on March 9 the wide receiver would be able to pull a hamstring as he raced into free agency.
To be fair, as loathe as I am to be fair, each player’s exit requires a specific look.
Brandon Marshall was an organizational nightmare and continued his perfect playoff-less career with the Jets.
Matt Forte was a 30-year-old running back, but he was still the best and smartest all-around back the Bears had.
Martellus Bennett caught seven TD passes for the Patriots, which is three more than any Bears target scored, oh, and by the way, the guy Bears coach John Fox didn’t want just caught five passes in the Patriots’ Super Bowl win.
Jeffery, the next expected Pro Bowler to leave Fox’s roster. was supposed to become a star No. 1 receiver after Marshall was traded, but instead spent half of the first season hurt and a quarter of the second season suspended for cheating.
This is so Fox: dumping talented players because he doesn’t like something about them, no matter how productive they are, but standing fiercely behind Dowell Loggains and his oft-inexplicable play-calling.
While some reasons for letting players leave are understandable, the Bears still have lost four offensive Pro Bowlers and replaced them with a rookie Pro Bowler in Jordan Howard and, what, Josh Bellamy and a biology graduate from Harvard.
Photos of Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery.
That, see, is the issue here and now: If you’re a coach who can’t coach or won’t coach players with personality or players who aren’t all-football all the time but still produce, then you’d better produce as a coach.
But the only thing Fox has produced is the lame consolation that his players tried hard, the sure sign of someone desperate to hold a job.
The Bears had better be good in free agency, I guess. Or Fox had better be good picking the players he thinks he can coach.
But then, maybe that’s part of Ryan Pace’s plan: Let Fox have his way with these player decisions so the general manager has solid reasons to fire the head coach when the Bears go 3-13 again and then hire a coach he wants instead of someone who appears passive-aggressively forced on him by a consultant and a Bears Senior Disorganizational Figure or two.
Minnesota forward Mikael Granlund scored an amazing goal 12 seconds into overtime in the Wild’s first game back from their bye. Just when the Blackhawks had climbed within a point of first place. Most teams have lost returning from the five days off, but not the Wild, not even while missing two regular forwards because of mumps. This looks like it’s going to be the Wild’s regular season. Fortunately for the Hawks, it’s never Wild coach Bruce Boudreau’s postseason.
The Predators have a four-point lead on the Blues for third place in the Central Division, so Hawks fans have about five weeks to establish residency in Nashville to have the right ZIP code for buying tickets to first-round road games.
The NHL trade deadline comes Wednesday, so everyone in Canada is going nuts, even players’ wives. With Edmonton in St. Louis on Monday, Oilers defenseman Eric Gryba tweeted a series of texts with the comment "When your wife thinks you got traded but your (sic) not even on the radar":
-- "call me when your (sic) back to the hotel!"
Your (sic) killing me"
-- "If your (sic) not on the phone with your agent right now I’m gonna kill you"
-- "Call me yesterday!!!!"
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