Is Bears' revamped offense reason to believe this free-agent class different?

The last of the 24 questions fired at Ryan Pace on Thursday at Halas Hall was direct. With the Bears’ early productivity in free agency this week, did the fourth-year general manager suddenly see his team close to contending for a playoff spot?

Wisely, Pace pumped the brakes.

“We just started the offseason acquisition period now,” he said. “We’re only one day into (free agency). Let’s take it step by step. The excitement for the draft is right around the corner and that’s our primary mode for adding talent to our team.”

Fair point. Proper reminder.

March in the NFL is a time to contemplate possibility, to let hope roam free. So it’s easy to get caught up in the festive nature of gatherings like Thursday’s when the Bears paraded out a quintet of free-agent newcomers. Receivers Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel. Tight end Trey Burton. Quarterback Chase Daniel. Kicker Cody Parkey.

At first blush, it sure seems like an infusion of promising talent that will give quarterback Mitch Trubisky, new coach Matt Nagy and the entire team a greater chance of succeeding.

Pace spoke glowingly about what each player should offer. The new arrivals, in turn, praised the direction they felt from the franchise.

“We’re going to be a good team for years to come,” Parkey asserted.

It’s an annual procession where the participants change but the themes remain similar.

Three-hundred-seventy days earlier the Bears held a similar introductory meet-and-greet in the same room for the headliners of their 2017 free-agent class: Mike Glennon, Markus Wheaton, Quintin Demps and Dion Sims. It has been well documented how that turned out.

“There’s risk with free agency,” Pace acknowledged Thursday. “You’re not going to hit home runs all the time. Unfortunately, some of those didn’t work out.”

So what gives the Bears GM a different excitement about this class?

“We talked about being able to quickly add weapons to our offense,” he said. “And I feel like we’ve definitely done that.”

The operative word there is offense. More specifically Nagy’s offense, a creative and aggressive attack that spreads the ball around. That was a draw for Robinson as he watched how the Chiefs offense ran under Nagy’s direction.

“You see a lot of big plays, you see some dink-and-dunk plays, you see everybody being involved,” Robinson said. “It’s something that just looked fun to play in.”

That was also a draw for Burton, who spent the last two seasons in a similar system with the Eagles under Doug Pederson.

“I saw how successful that was,” Burton said. “All you need is a couple of weapons and a quarterback who can handle all of it. I think that’s exactly what we have here in Chicago.”

That quarterback, of course, is Trubisky, whose rookie season growth has left everyone at Halas Hall with sincere optimism about where he’s headed. And having a promising young quarterback locked in for the long haul was something new Pace was able to sell as he offered his 2018 free agency sales pitch.

“There’s excitement around the league with Mitch,” Pace said. “Not just for the talent that he has but also the person he is. Let’s be honest. Players pay attention to who the quarterback is and who they’re going to potentially pair with.”

Trubisky should be excited with the added firepower he’s being given to spark an offense that finished 30th in yardage and 29th in scoring last season. Robinson, who erupted for 1,400 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2015, offers a big-play weapon on the outside. Pace praised the 24-year-old receiver’s physicality and savvy.

Burton is a pass-catching tight end with a proven ability to create separation. Gabriel, meanwhile, sees himself as a guy who can be utilized a variety of ways depending on what opposing defenses are keying on.

“That’s football 101,” he said. “When you create those mismatches, you win.”

Pace has been convinced since January that the Nagy-Trubisky combination will propel the Bears forward quickly. So it was notable Thursday to hear the newcomers’ impressions of their new coach.

“Smooth dude, man,” Gabriel said. “I like his swag a little bit.”

Added Robinson: “Coach Nagy’s one of those guys who just breathes positive energy. … He has made me feel welcome, confident in being here, confident in the direction this organization is going.”

That certainly counts for something, even with the acknowledgment that the Bears remain in the very early stages of this latest reboot.

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Twitter @danwiederer

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