Taylor. Freaking. Gabriel. What a grab!
While not a household name anywhere but Atlanta, Gabriel lands a 4-year deal with the Chicago Bears. One of the fastest receivers in the NFL, Gabriel finishes off the offense by adding dynamic shiftiness and speed.
For those of you that don’t understand why he’s so dynamic, his college track time lists him at running the 40-yard dash in 4.27 seconds. Bears Head Coach Matt Nagy got his version of Tyreek Hill that will take the top off of a defense.
Gabriel was in a similar role with the Falcons as he played primarily in the slot as Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu lined up on the outside. Gabriel is a dynamic playmaker averaging 13.8 yards per reception for his career. Fun fact from Kevin Fishbain over at The Athletic, the Bears had two 40+ yard catches on the season as a team last year. Gabriel had two 40+ yard catches by himself last season alone.
Bears fans seemed to be in an uproar when the team wasn’t able to land former Kansas City Chiefs Albert Wilson.
Gabriel was seen as the backup option that would offer a lot of the same things. In reality, the only advantage that Wilson had over Gabriel was prior knowledge of the offense and two inches of height. Besides that, they’re essentially the same player with the speed advantage going to Gabriel.
He didn’t seem like a realistic option for the Bears from afar because many, like Wilson, expected Gabriel to reconnect with former Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan in San Francisco. After signing Marquise Goodwin to an extension, that reality becomes less likely for the 49ers.
So far, the Bears have given Nagy and quarterback Mitch Trubisky a combination of Allen Robinson, Gabriel, Cam Meredith and Trey Burton to blend into the offense that already features the Jordan Howard, Tarik Cohen and Adam Shaheen.
With the exception of another backup running back that also contributes on special teams or an interior offensive lineman, I expect Pace to be done adding offensive free agents. The draft will be where he finds and develops talent behind the entrenched starters as he continues to build this roster.
It’s time for Pace to take a look towards the defensive side of the ball. There are quite a few spots on that side of the ball that still need to be addressed. Pass rusher, cornerback, inside linebacker and some added depth all come to mind immediately. Some of these can get serviceable starters in the free agency but don’t expect Pace to fill out every spot as he did with the offense.
In the meantime, Trubisky should be having a drink with his friends out in California right now.
This deserves a celebration.
Knowing him though, he’s either throwing the football to his receivers and practicing or recording the expensive steak dinner he’s eating on Instagram. Gear up Bears fans, because this offense just did.