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10 Early Winners and Losers of the Chicago Bears Offseason

Ross ReadContributor IIIDecember 24, 2016

10 Early Winners and Losers of the Chicago Bears Offseason

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    It almost seemed like the Chicago Bears made it a point to have a different story every day during the offseason. The team made up for their lack of postseason story lines by having an active and somewhat strange offseason. 

    New coaches, a retired superstar, some run-ins with the law and a surprise first-round draft pick are just a few of the occurrences that made the news. As we look back at what happened, it is only right to see who the winners and losers of the offseason were. 

    Cycle through to find out who made the list. 

Winner: Marc Trestman

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    Clearly you have upgraded in life when you go from coaching in the CFL to the NFL. Marc Trestman has over 30 years of coaching experience, but never got a shot at a NFL head coaching job until now. 

    Trestman is now the leader of one of the league's most storied franchises. He gets his shot to show off his much talked about offense, and show people he has the cure to whatever ails Jay Cutler

    Whether Trestman can deliver a Super Bowl win to the Bears still remains to be seen, but thus far his hiring has been a win-win situation for both sides. 

Loser: Brian Urlacher

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    There's no doubt Brian Urlacher did the right thing by retiring but he should have went out on a higher note. Pride seemed to get in the way of what could have been a smoother separation between Urlacher and the Bears. 

    Urlacher was probably surprised when the general public sided with the Bears on what he thought was a low-ball one year offer. He was probably even more surprised when he tested the market and did not find many suitors. 

    Eventually, Urlacher gave in and announced his retirement on Twitter. A social media network is a far cry from having one more farewell season or even a proper send off by the organization.

    I'm sure he would have handled it all differently in hindsight.

Winner: Martellus Bennett

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    Last season, Martellus Bennett was on a one-year deal worth $1.79 million. He agreed to be the Bears new starting tight end to the tune of four-years, $20 million. 

    That's a huge pay raise for a player who set personal bests in receptions, touchdowns and yards last year.

    With the big contract comes big responsibility, and Bennett will be counted on to take the pressure off of both Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall

Loser: Henry Melton

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    Henry Melton made it to his first Pro Bowl last season, but you still get the feeling the Bears aren't sold on him long-term. Melton failed to get the long contract he hoped for, and will be forced to play a year under the franchise tag. 

    Melton has a reputation of disappearing in big games, and the Bears are looking for more out of him before they hand over a large chunk of money. This puts a huge amount of pressure on Melton to perform this upcoming season. 

    The addition of Sedrick Ellis doesn't help Melton either. Ellis is looking for a bounce back season, which means more money for him too. The Bears could eventually choose Ellis over Melton or walk away from both and spend a future first-round pick on a defensive tackle. 

Winner: Jermon Bushrod

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    Jermon Bushrod got to have his cake and eat it too; he got the big contract with a new team, but was still able to keep the offensive line coach that made him so successful. 

    Under Aaron Kromer's tutelage in New Orleans, Bushrod made it to the Pro Bowl back in 2011. His ability to protect the pass-happy Drew Brees was sufficient enough for the Bears to give him a five-year contract with $17.7 million in guarantees. 

    Like Martellus Bennett, Bushrod did not have to wait very long in the free agency period to get his deal. It was locked up on the first day players could agree to terms with new teams. 

Loser: Evan Rodriguez

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    Did Evan Rodriguez have more run-ins with the law than catches in a Bears uniform? I'm sure the two numbers are very close. 

    The Bears' fourth-round pick from last year was released after an arrest in late May for a DUI. He has since moved on to the Miami Dolphins, and now plays in a city where he had another run-in with the law in March of this year. 

    Phil Emery had a vision for Rodriguez that will now never come to fruition. Rodriguez will have a difficult time making any other roster due to his limited ability and continuous issues off the field. 

Winner: Matt Blanchard

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    Matt Blanchard hasn't played a down in the regular season, but the hype around him this offseason seems to be growing by the week. 

    It started with a very successful rookie camp that saw Blanchard wear a small camera to track his throws and progressions. He has continued to take great steps under the watchful eye of Marc Trestman, and could very well be Jay Cutler's primary backup when the season starts. 

    Any time a quarterback can go from a relative unknown to a possible backup in the NFL's lull point of the year, he is doing big things. 

Loser: Alshon Jeffery

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    Alshon Jeffery's rookie season was derailed due to injuries. He was just never able to get into a groove last season, which really made this offseason a key for his development. 

    Sadly, injuries have once again plagued Jeffery during the offseason. A hamstring issue has kept the wide receiver from spending quality time on the field with his quarterback in a new offense. 

    Jeffery is still slotted in as the starter, but the Bears need him to take a major step in his second year. If he can't even get on the field to practice and get better, then that is a problem. 

Winner: Kyle Long

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    Virtually every person with a mock draft had Kyle Long going somewhere in the second round. That didn't matter to Phil Emery, who took the athletic lineman out of Oregon in the first round. 

    Long impressed the Bears at the scouting combine and his pro day—they love his upside and physical tools. It was a win for Long who got a more lucrative contract by going in the first round. 

    The love affair with Kyle Long and Chicago is still in its honeymoon phase right now, but no games have been played yet. If he wants to stay on the fans' good side and earn even more respect, he is going to have to go out and perform in a very tough and physical division. 

Loser: Gabe Carimi

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    When you decide to blow off OTAs knowing you have a new head coach and a new offense, you set yourself up for a quick exit. Gabe Carimi booked himself a one-way ticket out of Chicago with his actions. 

    Prior to his actions, Carimi was already on the hot seat.

    He lost his job as a tackle only to see the Bears draft a guard and sign a veteran at the same position. 

    The fall from first-round grace to being traded for a sixth round pick was pretty quick and meteoric for Carimi. He now has to regroup and salvage his career in Tampa Bay

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