The Chicago Bears underachieved in almost every way a football team can in 2019, but one player stood out as an elite performer among his NFL peers for his efforts on special teams: Kick returner, Cordarrelle Patterson.
Patterson signed with the Bears as an unrestricted free agent last offseason and it was assumed his biggest contribution would come as a gadget weapon on offense; one part running back, one part wide receiver, and maybe even a little bit of tight end thrown into the mix. And while he was used sparingly as an offensive chess piece, his biggest contribution came as a kick returner.
Patterson finished his first season in Chicago as a First Tem All-Pro and NFC Pro Bowl pick after finishing first in kick-return yards and second in kick-return average. He returned one kick for a touchdown, too.
There's no denying Patterson was a critically important player for the Bears last year, but his Impact still feels like it came up a bit short. He caught just 11 passes for 83 yards and carried the ball 17 times for 103 yards. He didn't score an offensive touchdown.
Patterson's two-year, $10 million contract is certainly paying him to do more than just accumulate yards on special teams. And it's not completely out of the realm of possibility that Patterson could be a salary-cap casualty in a few months. The Bears could save $4.75 million against the cap if they decide to part ways, which would certainly be a surprise considering Patterson's post-season accolades.
Regardless of what the future holds, Patterson proved to be a valuable special-teamer who was one of the lone bright spots in Chicago last fall.