Could Bears bump up bid for franchise running back?

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Could Bears bump up bid for franchise running back?

The best part of the Super Bowl is the week before it. Not the peripheral events, but the time to connect with some key individuals in the game. Thats where you learn things.

NBC cousin Peggy Kusinski over at WMAQ reported last week that running back Matt Forte was going to meet with Phil Emery this week. Forte has been professing some optimism about getting his contract impasse solved with someone other than Jerry Angelos hand on the tiller.

Dont count on it. Emery knows why theres a franchise tag (a players concession in negotiations to owners so a central figure could be retained, at a nice price) and Angelo wasnt being capricious or personal in the offer the Bears had to Forte back before training camp. A deal of that magnitude had buy-in from Ted Phillips and Cliff Stein, both in their same posts now, and Emery has struck no one as a soft touch.

And Emery was with a Kansas City Chiefs organization that set a price point with Jamaal Charles deal prior to last season. He also saw how that investment can net nothing because of an injury.

New England Patriots guard Logan Mankins told me last week that he strongly advised against holding out because of the tag. Its simply too much money (nearly 8 million in Fortes case). And Mankins knows of what he speaks, having been an unhappy franchise tag-ee not that long ago.

If the Bears decide to bump up substantially the bid for a franchise running back, though, perhaps they would also be looking outside the (tackle) box. If the decision was that the organization was willing to put 20 million guaranteed for a running back, would Forte be the call?

Or would they look at Ray Rice, for example? The Baltimore Ravens are no more likely to let Rice hit the free market than the Bears are with Forte. But Rices numbers through four years are a step up from Fortes, both receiving and rushing, and scoring. And Rice is a year younger than Forte.

Best guess is that something like that never happens. Rice has stated a wish to remain a Raven, but thats also pretty standard rhetoric; Forte says the same about remaining a Bear.

But for the money involved, the mistake would be not thinking outside all boxes.

CSN Chicago's 2017 NFL Mock Draft: Version 2.0

CSN Chicago's 2017 NFL Mock Draft: Version 2.0

With most of the heavy lifting already done in free agency, we look ahead to the 2017 NFL Draft as 31 teams try to build a roster that will compete with the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots.

It's early in the process with the draft still a month away, so expect some change in each mock draft we unveil.

So without further adieu, check out CSN's 2017 NFL Mock Draft version 2.0:

1. Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett (EDGE), Texas A&M

The Browns don't need to make this rocket science. Garrett is arguably the best defensive lineman to come out of college since Julius Peppers. There shouldn't be any drama at No. 1 this year.

2. San Francisco 49ers: Solomon Thomas (DL), Stanford

Thomas' stock has risen more than any other prospect since the NFL Combine and it appears to be a real possibility he will hear his name called at No. 2. Thomas fulfills a major need on the edge for the 49ers and would become a foundation piece on their front-seven alongside last year's first-rounder DeForest Buckner.

3. Chicago Bears: Jamal Adams (S), LSU

Bears GM Ryan Pace has put the team in a position to draft the best available player at No. 3. While quarterback could still be in play here, I expect the Bears to look on the defensive side of the ball after giving Mike Glennon $18.5 million in guaranteed money. If it weren't for Jonathan Allen's shoulder issues — I can't see Pace taking a flyer on another player with medical red flags after seeing what's happened with former first-rounder Kevin White — he would probably be the pick here. Adams can play either strong or free safety, and would provide immediate stability by becoming the field general the Bears have been lacking in the secondary since the days of Mike Brown. 

4. Jacksonville Jaguars: Leonard Fournette (RB), LSU

After handing out blank checks to defensive studs Calais Campbell and A.J. Bouye this offseason, it's time for the Jaguars to add some talent to their backfield. Fournette's unparalleled size/speed combo make him a once-in-a-generation talent at the running back position. 

5. Tennessee Titans: Marshon Lattimore (CB), Ohio State

I was tempted to give Marcus Mariota another weapon in the passing game, but pairing Lattimore with free-agent addition Logan Ryan would give the Titans one of the best cornerback duos in the AFC. 

6. New York Jets: O.J. Howard (TE), Alabama

Outside of defensive line, the Jets have needs pretty much everywhere on the field. Howard is a Top 5 talent and would be a nice security blanket for whoever plays quarterback for the Jets in 2017.

7. Los Angeles Chargers: Malik Hooker (S), Ohio State

Last year's first-round Buckeye (Joey Bosa) worked out quite well for the Chargers so why not go that same route? Hooker would join Jason Verrett and Casey Heyward in an already-dangerous Los Angeles secondary.

[RELATED: Complete 2017 NFL Draft coverage]

8. Carolina Panthers: Jonathan Allen (DL), Alabama

The Panthers don't have a glaring need on the defensive line, but if a talent like Allen is still on the board at the bottom of the Top 10, the Panthers would rush to the podium to call his name.

9. Cincinnati Bengals: Reuben Foster (LB), Alabama

The Bengals could use a replacement for recently-released inside linebacker Rey Maualuga and Foster has the chops to step in and start Week 1.

10. Buffalo Bills: Mike Williams (WR), Clemson

With Tyrod Taylor back in the fold, the Bills need to find playmakers to put around him. Pairing Williams with Sammy Watkins would give Buffalo a formidable pair if both players could put their injury history behind them.

11. New Orleans Saints: Derek Barnett (EDGE), Tennessee

Barnett has been one of college football's premier edge rushers over the years with 33 sacks during his time at Tennessee. A tandem of Cam Jordan and Barnett would be troublesome for opposing offensive lineman.

12. Cleveland Browns: Mitchell Trubisky (QB), North Carolina

After securing Garrett, the Browns are in an excellent position to find their long-term answer at quarterback with their second first-round selection. Trubsiky only started one year at North Carolina, but he has the skillset that NFL GMs salivate over. 

13. Arizona Cardinals: Deshaun Watson (QB), Clemson

At some point the Cardinals need to find a successor to Carson Palmer who appears close to the end of his NFL career. Watson's leadership skills would mesh well with a head coach like Bruce Arians and a veteran-laden locker room in Arizona. 

14. Philadelphia Eagles: Gareon Conley (CB), Ohio State

The Eagles have a pressing need at cornerback and in a division with Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Marshall and Dez Bryant, the birds need to find a corner who could slow down opposing No. 1 wideouts.

15. Indianapolis Colts: Taco Charlton (EDGE), Michigan

The Colts added John Simon and Jabaal Sheard this offseason, but neither player is going to put much of a scare into opposing offensive coordinators. Charlton's pass-rushing skills and athleticism would provide a major boost to the Colts' front seven.

16. Baltimore Ravens: Corey Davis (WR), Western Michigan

The Ravens have talent at the wide receiver position, but they're lacking a true top-flight No. 1 wideout. Davis' physical style of play has drawn comparisons to Brandon Marshall, and he should be able to contribute right away after starting all four years at Western Michigan.

17. Washington Redskins: Haason Reddick (LB), Temple

On the surface, Reddick looks like an inside linebacker at just 6-foot-1, but the former Temple star created havoc in the backfield with 17.5 sacks and 47 tackles for a loss during his college career. The Redskins defense could use a linebacker such as Reddick's who could play all over the field.

18. Tennessee Titans: John Ross (WR) Washington

The Titans have failed at bringing in a No. 1 wide receiver thus far in the offseason, and while Ross isn't your prototypical No. 1, he's a big-play talent who is capable of scoring anytime he touches the ball. Ross would thrive in the Titans offense with quarterback Marcus Mariota slinging the rock.

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Dalvin Cook (RB), Florida State

The Buccaneers have a pressing need at running back and Cook's explosiveness and familiarity with quarterback Jameis Winston (the duo played together at Florida State in 2014), make this a made made in heaven.

20. Denver Broncos: Garett Bolles (OT), Utah

It's no secret the Broncos need help at offensive tackle, and Bolles is arguably the most talented lineman in the 2017 NFL Draft.

21. Detroit Lions: Takkarist McKinley (EDGE) UCLA

After an injury-plagued season season from Ezekiel Ansah, the Lions are seeking help on the edge. If not for a shoulder surgery following the Combine, McKinley would likely be a Top 15 selection.

22. Miami Dolphins: David Njoku (TE), Miami

The Dolphins traded for Julius Thomas earlier this offseason, but no team should count on a player who hasn't played more than 12 games in a season since 2014. Njoku has the talent to become one of the league's top tight ends very early in his career.

[VIVID SEATS: Get your Bears tickets right here!]

23. New York Giants: Ryan Ramczyk (OL), Wisconsin

It would be a shock to see the Giants go any route other than offensive line when their first pick rolls around in late April. Ramczyk could play on either the right or left side, and would provide stability in front of quarterback Eli Manning.

24. Oakland Raiders: Malik McDowell (DL), Michigan State

The Raiders need to address their defensive line with either a Day 1 or 2 pick and McDowell, when motivated, has the talent to dominate for 60 minutes. 

25. Houston Texans: Patrick Mahomes (QB), Texas Tech

I'll be shocked if the Texans go into the season with just Tom Savage and Brandon Weeden in their quarterback cupboard. After whiffing on Brock Osweiler last offseason, Houston needs to find an answer at the position. While he's raw, Mahomes possesses the strongest arm in the current draft class. If head coach Bill O'Brien can get back to his quarterback whispering ways, Mahomes would be an ideal fit for the Texans.

26. Seattle Seahawks: Quincy Wilson (CB), Florida

The Legion of Boom has turned into more like the Legion of Swoon as of late. The Seahawks need to find another shutdown corner, and Wilson's length and physicality fit the mold of the type of corner Pete Carroll likes in his secondary. 

27. Kansas City Chiefs: DeShone Kizer (QB), Notre Dame

Chiefs head coach Andy Reid needs to look to the future with starting quarterback Alex Smith turning 33 later this spring. Kizer has the look of a prototypical quarterback and possesses the physical tools to succeed at the next level. The Chiefs would be a perfect landing spot for Kizer who would be best suited to sit for a year behind Smith.

28. Dallas Cowboys: Tre'davious White (CB), LSU

It would behoove the Cowboys to address their leaky secondary with an early pick in this year's draft. White has the athleticism and instincts to turn into a No. 1 corner over time, and should be able to contribute in the slot during his rookie season.

29. Green Bay Packers: Christian McCaffrey (RB), Stanford

Just what Aaron Rodgers needs: another dangerous weapon who can line up in the backfield or in the slot and become a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses. McCaffery is dynamite in the open field and brings the type of versatility that Packers GM Ted Thompson craves.

30. Pittsburgh Steelers: Charles Harris (EDGE), Missouri

The Steelers had the second-lowest sack total (21) in the NFL last season and their best pass rusher will be turning 39 in May. Harris could contribute early in his career as a situational pass rush specialist and would be a nice addition to 2015 first-round pick Bud Dupree.

31. Atlanta Falcons: Forrest Lamp (OG), Western Kentucky

Lamp, a four-year starter at left tackle, is projected as a guard at the next level. Lamp could start in place of Chris Chester, giving the Falcons a lethal offensive line for their already-dangerous ground attack.

32. New Orleans Saints: Marlon Humphrey (CB), Alabama

The Saints have been trying to land restricted free agent corner Malcolm Butler from the Patriots and if they're unable to do so, expect them to target a corner with one of their first round selections. Humphrey was inconsistent at Alabama, but has all the physical tools coaches look for at the cornerback position.

2017 NFL Draft Profile: Clemson WR Mike Williams

2017 NFL Draft Profile: Clemson WR Mike Williams

As part of our coverage leading up to the 2017 NFL Draft we will provide profiles of more than 100 prospects, including a scouting report and video interviews with each player.

Mike Williams, WR, Clemson

6'4" | 218 lbs.

2016 stats:

98 receptions, 1,361 yards, 11 touchdowns

Projection:

First round

Scouting Report:

"Williams looks the part of a WR1 and has shown an ability to work all three levels of the field after coming back from his 2015 neck injury. Williams is tough enough to be a high-volume target while working the middle of the field and his size and ball skills make him a formidable foe in the end zone. He'll have to be coached up with his routes and releases, but he has the talent to become a big safety blanket for a young quarterback." - Lance Zierlein, NFL.com

Video analysis provided by Rotoworld and NBC Sports NFL Draft expert Josh Norris.

Click here for more NFL Draft Profiles