Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

05 Mar 2010

Bears Sign Chester Taylor

The Chicago Bears, who are going guns-a-blazing into this free agency period, have signed Vikings' backup runner Chester Taylor to a four-year, $12.5 contract.

The signing was first reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter. The deal includes a $7 million signing bonus.

Via ProFootballTalk

Posted by: David Gardner on 05 Mar 2010

32 comments, Last at 27 Mar 2010, 4:41am by sports-veronica


by Karl Cuba :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 3:29pm

The Bears now have two decent options that can block and catch on passing downs, or as Mike Martz calls them, downs.

by Brendan Scolari :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 4:27pm

I LOL'd, which is a very rare thing for me on a sports site. Well done sir.

by Lou :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 11:46pm

awesome. i'm totally going to steal this.

by Danish Denver-Fan :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 3:29pm

I guess i like the move, but it won't fix their running game...

by Brendan Scolari :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 4:28pm

As Karl said, they don't believe in silly little running games anymore.

by Johnny (not verified) :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 3:32pm

Waste of money, imo, for a 30-year-old backup. Cutler is allergic to check-downs, so I don't think he'll have such a "great" impact on the pass game like some pundits are saying. Still, at 30, he runs hard than Matt "tip-toe to the line" Forte.

by Eddo :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 3:35pm


by Yinka Double Dare :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 3:40pm

Schefter reporting the Peppers deal is done as well, 40 million over the first three years.

Someone forgot to tell the Bears that just because they have Adrian Peterson/Chester Taylor as two options doesn't mean it will work as well as Minnesota's version.

by Joe T. :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 3:42pm

I'm betting they cut AP v.1.0, and keep Forte, Taylor, and Wolfe as their backs.

by Eddo :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 4:07pm

Peterson is a free agent and the Bears have declined to tender him.

EDIT: I wouldn't be surprised if Wolfe is cut, though they like his contributions on special teams. Khalil Bell almost certainly will be the #3 running back.

by loneweasel (not verified) :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 3:48pm

Again, it only costs money. Why not?

by C (not verified) :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 3:52pm

I was sort of surprised that pretty much every guy on the NFLN liked Taylor... a backup RB so much.

Thomas Jones is the better back, yeah he might flame out quicker but it's not like there isn'g going to be a crop of rookies that will be able to replace HIM in a couple of years.

Signing Chester Chester Child Molester is like signing Derrick Ward. I mean, some fantasy football geeks liked the move, but how much did he help Tampa? Who is going to block for old Chester?

by Eddo :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 3:57pm

Taylor brings a slightly different skillset than Jones, with much less wear and tear on his body. Taylor is a bit more effective both as a receiver and a blocker, but less effective as a runner.

I guess he's the kind of back that fits into a Mike Martz offense, but I don't understand why the Bears felt the position was a big need.

by Dean :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 4:00pm

You can get the same production from a 4th round pick and pay them the same 4 years, but with about $2 million total compensation, and about $400,000 guaranteed. And the rookie will have around 4 years of tread left on the tires, whereas Taylor will be lucky if he has 2 good years left. Having said that, Taylor does look like a good fit for what Martz likes to do.

by Jimmy :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 4:10pm

That would be great if they didn't still have needs on the offensive line and at safety with only 5 picks in the draft. They don't pick until 72 or so.

by Marko :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 4:27pm

Bingo. Their first pick is number 76, and they can't use a third or fourth round pick on a RB with their other pressing needs. Of course, since they also signed TE Brandon Manumaleuna today, the likelihood of them trading TE Greg Olsen probably increased. If they trade him, they will probably get a second round pick in return.

The Bears obviously are making a big splash in free agency because if they don't win in 2010, Jerry Angelo and Lovie Smith will be fired. Since they currently don't have a draft pick until the third round, free agency is their only way of bringing in impact players to help them win now.

by tuluse :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 6:39pm

Of course, since they also signed TE Brandon Manumaleuna today, the likelihood of them trading TE Greg Olsen probably increased.

I don't see that at all. Their skill sets are nothing alike. I see Manumaleuna as a guy who knows the system and can help teach it to other players.

by Marko :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 7:24pm

Oh, I agree that their skill sets are nothing alike. But the speculation isn't based on the idea that they are similar players. It's based on the idea that Martz wants his TEs to be blockers first. (And second. And maybe third.) Manumaleuna is known for his blocking. He is almost like another offensive lineman at 295 lbs. If Manumaleuna is in for pass protection, are you going to play Olsen in a two-TE set? If so, then you have one less WR on the field (unless you are going with an empty backfield). We all know Martz likes to have 3 or 4 WRs running downfield. It's hard to see that happening a lot with Manumaleuna and Olsen on the field.

We'll see what happens. But with Olsen reportedly being unhappy because TEs aren't big receiving options in a Martz offense, and with the Bears signing a blocking TE who figures to play a lot, a trade of Olsen is definitely possible.

by tuluse :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 7:41pm

Maybe. Really Olsen could probably convert to receiver without much trouble.

I'm not sure Manumaleuna figures to play a lot, I bet he's the 3rd TE at best next year. Desmond Clark in still on the roster and Kellen Davis showed potential.

by Marko :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 8:12pm

I don't think the Bears made a big push to sign Manumaleuna to have him be the 3rd TE. He has a lot of experience in Martz's offense and his blocking ability will be desperately needed.

I agree that Kellen Davis has showed potential, so he'll probably stick around. But if the Bears keep only 3 TEs, then Olsen, Clark or Davis would have to go. They might keep Olsen and release Clark. But it really wouldn't shock me if they did trade Olsen, who obviously has the most trade value. I don't think they will convert Olsen to WR.

by mrh :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 4:25pm

Except the rookie might miss a block and get your franchise qb killed; presumably Taylor won't. I don't know if that's worth the dollar differential, but it's a factor to consider.

by C (not verified) :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 4:10pm

I think Thomas Jones can be a legit feature back for 2 years if needed.

I agree Taylor is more of a backup and a better pass catcher ( which is good for da bears), but overall Thomas Jones is the better player. I think over the last few years he's been underrated ( ever since the Bears let him go for Benson)... which is a surprise since he's played in some big markets.

by Eddo :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 4:26pm

Thomas Jones has 2280 career carries, including 1781 in the last six years. He will be 32 years old heading into week one.

Chester Taylor has 1028 career carries. He turns 31 on September 22, 2010.

I don't see how an objective look at the two would predict Jones to last longer, given the same future usage.

by C (not verified) :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 6:15pm

Who predicted Jones would last longer?

by johnny walker (not verified) :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 8:41pm

"I don't see how an objective look at the two would predict Jones to be a legit feature back at age 34." Happy now or do we still need to play semantics?

by C (not verified) :: Sat, 03/06/2010 - 8:06am

He's 31

The teams that would sign him would sign him because they don't have any other options. He's better than anyone on San Diego and can start next year there, and possibly the year after.

by ebongreen (not verified) :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 4:12pm

So because the Bears have no draft picks, they intend to lavish their coffers' contents on older relatively-high-profile veterans in free agency?

Okay, I guess it worked for the Redskins. Oh, wait...

captcha: of mimi

by Jimmy :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 4:16pm

I always had a grudging respect for Chester Taylor when he played for the Vikings. He always ran hard, gained yardage after contact and was a bugger to defend on third downs. It doesn't hurt to have a good back up running back especially with a crazy man running the offense. The cap room after this year (assuming such things ever become relevant again) should be pretty low. It isn't my money so I am glad they have signed him.

by andrew :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 9:01pm

Well if nothing else this means the Vikings can now sign a Free Agent, which they were barred from doing (as one of the final playoff teams) until they lost someone, right?

Sorry to see him go. He was a hard worker, dependable, and some days he ran better than AD.

I just hope Chicago doesn't expect him to back up their Adrian Peterson.

by galactic_dev :: Sat, 03/06/2010 - 2:43pm

Isn't the Bears' most pressing need to improve their offensive line? If there's nobody to open holes for their RBs and nobody to keep Cutler upright, they're going nowhere.

by Eddo :: Sat, 03/06/2010 - 2:48pm

Of course. But who's out there that hasn't been tendered? The Bears don't have a first or second round pick to snap up any decent RFAs.