It was on the first two nights of the 2016 NFL Draft that Bears GM Ryan Pace showed the NFL he was going to be a wheeler and dealer, unafraid to move boldly to claim players he coveted.
The Bears entered Night 1 with the 11th pick in the first round, with pass rush at the very top of their wish list.
As the first round unfolded, almost everybody and their brothers knew the Giants, at No. 10, coveted Georgia linebacker Leonard Floyd, so Pace reached out to the Bucs at No. 9 and gave them pick No. 11 and a fourth-rounder to move up and claim Floyd.
In the second round, Pace moved to reclaim the fourth-round pick he had lost by trading the 41st pick to Buffalo for No. 49, a fourth-rounder and another fourth-round pick in 2017.
Throughout Night 2, I reported that the player the Bears coveted at 49 was Indiana OT Jason Spriggs.
Those reports were corroborated to some degree when, with the Colts on the clock at 48, the arch-rival Green Bay Packers gave Indianapolis the 57th pick, a fourth-round pick and a seventh-rounder to step in front of the Bears and take Spriggs.
And they may have been confirmed when the Bears then traded that 49th pick to the Seahawks for 56 and another fourth-rounder before drafting Cody Whitehair at 56.
Friday, four years later, Pace finally got his man and all it cost him was a one-year free agent deal.
Spriggs spent the entire 2019 season on injured reserve after disappointing in Green Bay over his first three seasons.
He was drafted to be the swing tackle behind David Bakhtiari and Bryan Bulaga with the idea he might eventually replace the oft-injured Bulaga on the right side.
Spriggs was given a chance to start at guard as a rookie but never really settled in and went back to the bench after just two starts.
He started five games at tackle in 2017 and two more in 2018 as injuries dogged Bulaga before the Packers chose not to re-sign Spriggs this year after his rookie deal expired.
In Spriggs' fresh start here in Chicago, Pace and Matt Nagy obviously hope that new offensive line coach Juan Castillo can unlock the promise they saw in Spriggs coming out of school, and he appears to be a near-lock to claim the swing tackle role vacated by Cornelius Lucas, who’s moved on to Washington.
The Bears also brought in competition for placekicker Eddy Pineiro Friday, signing Ramiz Ahmed.
Ahmed is 6-0, 190 pounds and was out of football last season after kicking for the University of Nevada in 2017 and 2018.
He walked on at Nevada in ’17 after attending UNLV and Arizona State but not playing football at either school.
Principally a kickoff specialist in 2017, in ’18 Ahmed converted 15-of-20 field goals and 40-of-44 PATs, but all 15 field goals were inside of 40 yards.
While Pineiro will have competition now, Ahmed arrives as an extreme longshot to beat him out.
The Bears also announced on Friday that starting right guard Rashaad Coward and tight end J.P. Holtz — both exclusive rights free agents — signed one-year deals to return to the team.