Friday, March 24, 2023

Chicago Bears 2023 Mock Offseason: Becoming Hunters

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Every Chicago Bears 2023 mock offseason is about experimenting with possibilities as the picture becomes more apparent. Here’s what we know. The Bears hold the #2 overall pick in the draft with two games to play. Two wins put them at 7th overall. One win likely drops them to 4th. Losing out guarantees #2 with a chance to steal #1 if Houston wins one of its final two. It’s incredible how two games that should be meaningless can create so much stress for a fanbase. Yet here we are.



The big debate right now is what GM Ryan Poles will do if he does end up with the 2nd pick. Many believe he is a virtual lock to trade down, collecting extra picks from teams desperate to land their QB of the future. There will be opportunities for this as such teams keep stacking up in the top 10. It’ll come down to whether a team is ready and willing to pay the hefty price tag. Here is another possibility the Bears could consider.

This Chicago Bears 2023 mock offseason is about seizing opportunities.

Cuts:

  • OG Cody Whitehair – $5.8 million saved
  • DE Al-Quadin Muhammad – $4 million saved

Re-signings/Extensions:

  • Jaylon Johnson – 4-year extension for $70 million
  • David Montgomery – 3-year deal for $27 million
  • Cole Kmet – 4-year extension for $32.4 million
  • Nicholas Morrow – 2-year deal for $10 million
  • Armon Watts – 1-year deal for $1.08 million
  • Equanimeous St. Brown – 1-year deal for $1.08 million
  • N’Keal Harry – 1-year deal for $1.08 million
  • Trevon Wesco – 1-year deal for $1.08 million
  • Matthew Adams – 1-year deal for $1.08 million
  • Dane Cruikshank – 1-year deal for $1.08 million
  • DeAndre Houston-Carson – 1-year deal for $1.165 million
  • Patrick Scales – 1-year deal $1.165 million
  • Josh Blackwell – ERFA deal for $750,000

Free Agency:

Da’Ron Payne – 5-year deal for $95 million

The intent here is obvious. There is no way this Bears 2023 mock offseason concludes without the team seeking to solve their three-technique position. They sorely need an interior pass rusher. Payne has been among the most dominant in the NFL this season at that job. He has 9.5 sacks and 17 QB hits. Blocking him for 60 minutes is almost impossible. He’d be a significant step in the right direction.

Jawaan Taylor – 4-year deal for $70 million

He has probably had one of the quieter great years of any tackle in the league. Taylor has only given up 14 pressures on the quarterback all season, not missing a game. He is a big part of why Trevor Lawrence has had such a huge breakout over the second half of 2023. Jacksonville may want to keep him, but they don’t have the cap space to do so, and they have a replacement in waiting with Walker Little.

Bobby Okereke – 3-year deal for $15 million

He was highly productive in his last season with Matt Eberflus in 2021. He knows this defense better than anybody, and it’s clear the Colts are about to enter a transition period. The Bears need more stability at linebacker. Okereke brings experience and proven productivity. He will have cracked 130 tackles for the second straight year by the time this season ends.

Damien Harris – 1-year deal for $6 million

The former 3rd round pick was outstanding in 2021, posting over 900 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns. Unfortunately, injuries slowed him this season. When healthy, he is a dependable back who is excellent in short-yardage situations and brings added value for his pass protection skills. He’ll add even more depth to an already strong position for the Bears.

Keisean Nixon – 1-year deal for $2 million

Nixon has established himself as one of the better returners in the NFL. He also showed flashes of improvement in coverage as a cornerback. He adds value in two areas for the Bears. He’ll bring depth to their secondary and also be able to fill their punt returner role.

The Draft:

Trade: #2 pick and 4th in 2024 to the Raiders for #9 pick, 2nd in 2023, 2nd in 2024, and DE Maxx Crosby

1st Round (via LVR) – Tyree Wilson, EDGE, Texas Tech

Landing a star pass rusher like Crosby would’ve been considered good enough. However, the Bears aren’t done yet. They bring the revamp to a wild conclusion by adding Wilson as well. He is the ideal Eberflus guy. Not only is he a good athlete, but he boasts 36-inch arms and plenty of power. This defense is a perfect fit for him and playing across from Crosby will mean he gets plenty of one-on-one blocks to start his career. If he develops into what he could be, this is a potential stud.

Trade: 41st pick (via LVR) and 3rd in 2023 to Bills for 30th pick, 5th in 2023, and 7th in 2024

1st Round (via BUF) – Andrew Vorhees, OG, USC

Poles understands how much help the offensive line needs. He’s stated from the beginning he wants powerful, violent blockers up front. Tone-setters. Vorhees lives up to his last name because he legitimately tries to kill everybody he comes across. The guy is a road grader that blows open holes for his running backs. While not an elite athlete, he moves well enough in space and can handle himself in pass protection. A plug-and-play starter at guard.

Trade: #56 pick to Saints for 3rd in 2023, 4th in 2023, 5th in 2023, and 5th in 2024

3rd Round (via NO) – Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College

People will pick on Flowers because he’s shorter (5’10) and doesn’t carry much weight. That doesn’t seem to have stopped him from dominating for three years. He is fast, athletic, and has a natural playmaking instinct. His route-running is one of his biggest strengths. Defensive backs often aren’t ready for it. The Bears could deploy him inside or outside to find mismatches. He also has experience as a gadget player in the run game.

4th Round – Jakorian Bennett, CB, Maryland

An athletic cornerback with a tenacious streak. He plays physically despite his 5’11 frame and works best in a zone system. So he’s a good fit. He also gets his hands on the football a lot, posting four interceptions and 21 passes defended in the past two seasons. His arrival would give Chicago more depth at a critical position and somebody who can play inside and outside.

4th Round (via NO) – Xavier Hutchinson, WR, Iowa State

He isn’t unique in any category but also not weak in any either. Hutchinson has size, length, athletic, and decent speed. He’s also an adequate route runner. He has the awareness and hands to track the ball and make difficult catches. His production has improved in each of the past three seasons, and it shows on film too. It feels like his best football is still ahead of him.

5th Round – Olusegun Oluwatimi, C, Michigan

His size and athleticism won’t wow anybody. Yet he has enough of both to handle most defensive linemen he faces. He moves well and showcases plenty of intelligence on the field. Blitzes and stunts rarely catch him off guard. Quickness won’t beat him often. It’s power that may give him problems from time to time. Still, he has starter capability and can play right away if needed.

5th Round (via BUF) – Tuli Tuipulotu, DL, USC

He can best be described as a tweener. He’s not quite big enough to be a defensive tackle and not quite long enough to be a defensive end. Still, one thing remains certain. Tuipulotu creates havoc in the backfield. His 12.5 sacks and 21.5 tackles for a loss prove that this season. This Bears 2023 mock offseason would be remiss if it didn’t take advantage of grabbing such a productive player this late.

5th Round (via NO) – Byron Young, DT, Alabama

People constantly talk about the three-technique and its importance. This is true. Still, one thing remains inescapable. They can’t stop the run. You need defensive tackles that can do that too. Young made that his specialty at Alabama. He’s big, strong, and hard to move off his spot. He may never develop as an interior pass rusher, but he’ll bring instant value in obvious running situations.

5th Round (via BAL) – Ji’Ayir Brown, S, Penn State

The Bears did pretty well the last two times they’ve drafted Penn State safeties (Adrian Amos and Jaquan Brisker). So why not go for a third time? Brown is on the shorter side but has established himself as an instinctive ballhawk with nine interceptions and three forced fumbles across two years. His inconsistent tackling and matchup issues with tight ends or bigger receivers are the big concerns.

7th Round – Ivan Pace Jr., LB, Cincinnati

If Pace were two inches taller, he’d likely go in the top 100 picks. Being 6’0 will drop him on many boards. That is unfortunate because the guy is a vacuum cleaner when it comes to finding the ball. He has 306 tackles, 20 sacks, an interception, and three forced fumbles in his college career. If the Bears can look past his average length, he can be somebody that outplays his draft position.

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F Anthony
F Anthony
Dec 31, 2022 9:23 pm

Also, seems like some people in the comments need to do some research on Crosby, guy is one of the best Edge’s in the NFL. You’d be happy if a top 5 pick ended up being that good.

F Anthony
F Anthony
Dec 31, 2022 9:09 pm

The Crosby trade is a bit over the top, even in the fantasy land of off-season mocks. The deal is basically valuing Crosby (who isn’t getting dealt but whatever) as a 2nd rd pick, which is at LEAST a 1st rd pick short. Also as long as we are dreaming I’d like to dream of a roster with better depth than Watts, N’keal Harry, or Josh Blackwell (who all seem like great fellas btw).

eecummings
eecummings
Dec 31, 2022 3:33 pm

I guess it is not impossible, but I always have a problem with mocks that venture too far into the implausible range. Speculating a trade with a QB needy team for more draft picks (and there are standardized means for comparing the value of picks) is one thing but cobbling together odd mixes of players and picks is just hard to take seriously. In this case, when you look at the value of the Bears’ picks and the Raiders’, you are basically suggesting that the Raiders would trade a top 3-5 edge (who is only 25 and locked into a contract for… Read more »

scott brs
scott brs
Dec 31, 2022 2:29 pm

It seems a lot of people on here think we’re going to go after a receiver. Poles traded what everyone, including himself, knew was going to be a very high second round pick for one. Claypool is going to be the #1 receiver. You never make that trade for a #2.

Thom Cameron
Thom Cameron
Dec 31, 2022 1:31 pm

I’m beginning to have doubts about J Johnson being worth a big paycheck.

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