May 24, 2024

The Chicago Bears don’t have a playoff berth at stake once they play the Inexperienced Bay Packers on Sunday at Lambeau Discipline. The Bears (7-9) formally had been eradicated in Week 17.

However there’s a lot to maintain the Bears motivated within the season finale — and never simply enjoying spoiler to the Packers playoff hopes.

When time runs out Sunday, the Bears shall be on the clock to make main choices in an important offseason.

Right here’s a have a look at the choices forward.

Not all of Poles’ strikes since becoming a member of the Bears in January 2022 have labored out, however the way in which he has gone about constructing the roster is wanting higher and higher.

His commerce of the 2023 No. 1 draft decide to the Carolina Panthers final offseason netted him not solely the No. 1 draft decide this yr, but in addition high large receiver DJ Moore, promising rookies in proper sort out Darnell Wright and cornerback Tyrique Stevenson and a 2025 second-round decide.

His acquisition of defensive finish Montez Sweat from the Washington Commanders and subsequent four-year, $98 million contract extension has lifted the complete protection to a brand new degree. And there have been loads of different strikes which have seemed good this season, together with the 2023 free-agent signings of linebackers Tremaine Edmunds and T.J. Edwards, guard Nate Davis and defensive sort out Andrew Billings.

Provided that the roster has proven marked enchancment in additional than doubling its win complete from 2022 and contemplating Poles’ working relationship with President Kevin Warren, his place with the Bears would appear to be protected, however official affirmation probably will come subsequent week.

In early October, questions arose about whether or not the Bears even would let Eberflus end out the season. The Bears began 0-4, the fourth loss that includes a crushing 21-point comeback by the Denver Broncos.

In the course of all of it, defensive coordinator Alan Williams resigned amid unusual circumstances which sources advised the Tribune was conduct-related. The Bears had an abrupt breakup with large receiver Chase Claypool, whom they traded to the Miami Dolphins. And Eberflus’ dealing with of all of it left one thing to be desired.

That tough begin hasn’t been forgotten, however the vibe round Halas Corridor is significantly totally different in Week 18, with the Bears successful 4 of their final 5 video games and 5 of their final seven. The turnaround has largely been fueled by a protection that has come into its personal with Eberflus calling the performs and the addition of Sweat.

Will these components play into Eberflus returning?

The dialog round Fields’ future has been ongoing, largely as a result of the Bears have been eyeing the No. 1 decide by way of the now 2-14 Panthers for months.

The Bears should resolve whether or not they imagine Fields is the quarterback who can cause them to the Tremendous Bowl or in the event that they wish to guess on a quarterback prospect with the highest decide as an alternative.

Fields was simply constructing momentum along with his recreation earlier than he dislocated his proper thumb Oct. 15 in opposition to the Minnesota Vikings and the Bears began former Division II star Tyson Bagent for 4 weeks. Since Fields has returned, he has made clear progress, constructing as much as one among his greatest performances of the season in opposition to the Atlanta Falcons on Dec. 31.

How do the Bears’ consider Fields’ season — and his future?

Whereas the choice about what to do with the No. 1 decide is hard, it’s additionally an enviable place to be in.

The Bears can have their decide of quarterbacks within the draft — together with USC’s Caleb Williams and North Carolina’s Drake Maye — or they’ll follow Fields and commerce the highest decide for a haul just like or higher than what they obtained for the No. 1 decide final yr.