The latest Chicago Bears 2023 mock offseason centers around enormous possibilities. Most of it is the fact this team currently controls the 2nd overall pick in the draft. That gives them all sorts of options. GM Ryan Poles wants to build through the draft. That would present him the chance to either land a blue-chip talent for his roster or stockpile several extra picks to build a potential powerhouse. Only he knows for sure what he’d do in that situation. Much of it depends on how the order behind them shakes out.
The only obvious thing is the Bears need work. A lot of work. They have holes everywhere. It’s unlikely Poles will be able to plug them all in one go. So he must focus on the areas that need attention the most. That will be the trenches. Their defensive line might be the worst in football and the offensive line isn’t much better. Good news? This off-season crop of talent is well-positioned to fix both problems and more.
This Chicago Bears 2023 mock offseason is about not overthinking.
- Al-Quadin Muhammad – $4 million saved
- Jaylon Johnson – 4-year extension for $76 million
- David Montgomery – 3-year deal for $27 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 Wescan’t1-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
The injury to Darnell Mooney throws a wrench in the Bears’ plans to extend him. Now they can’t be sure how much money they sDa’Rontry to sign him with. This may necessitate letting him play out the final year of his rookie deal. On the flip side, Montgomery has really stepped up in recent weeks. He’s on course to finish with over 1,000 yards from scrimmage for the fourth time in his career. He may not be spectacular, but guys like him are worth keeping around.
DT Da’Ron Payne – 4-year deal for $72 million
The Bears’ defense can’t function without an interior pass rush presence on the defensive lcan’tJustin Jones can’He’s it by himself. So they look to grab help in the veteran market. This time they score big with Payne. He has come into his own the past two years with 11 sacks and 29 quarterback hits in his last 29 games. His bigger size also helps him defend the run well too. He isn’t on the Aaron Donald level, but Payne is somebody offenses can’t ignore anymore. He’s too disruptive.
RT Jack Conklin – 4-year deal for $60 million
Finding a way to stabilize the right tackle spot is a priority in every Bears 2023 mock offseason for a reason. Larry Borom and Riley Reiff haven’t played at a high enough level. Conklin may not get the same notoriety as others, but the veteran is as solid as they come. He’s a bully in the running game and perfectly steady in pass protection. He should be a perfect companion alongside Teven Jenkins, giving Chicago a nasty pairing on the right side of that line.
LB T.J. Edwards – 4-year deal for $48 million
Nicholas Morrow was a decent addition to the Bears, but they need to think bigger. Edwards has established himself as an underrated player in Philadelphia, already over 100 tackles on the season with five games still to play. He’s plenty versatile, showcasing an ability to blitz while also making plays in coverage. Assistant GM Ian Cunningham knoHe’sim well. He’ll be a great fit in this retooled front seven.
EDGE Dante Fowler – 2-year deal for $8 million
Depth is every bit as important as starters. The Bears have neither at edge rusher right now. Guys haven’t stepped up. So Poles and Eberflus decide to add some veteran juice. Fowler is enjoying a productive year with five sacks in 11 games. He’s never quite lived up to his 1st round pick status. Still, he’s shown he can be a dependable rotational pass rusher. That is more than enough for this team.
CB Emmanuel Moseley – 1-year deal for $11 million
Sometimes a team must take a calculated risk to give themselves a jumpstart. Moseley was emerging as one of the league’s promising young cornerbacks before a knee injury sidelined him for the rest of 2022. Health is the biggest question mark of his career, but he is so good when healthy. So the Bears decide to take a gamble by giving him an expensive one-year deal with the hopes he balls out so they can secure him long-term.
Trade: Bears sent #2 pick to Lions for #3 pick, 2nd in 2023 and 6th in 2024
1st Round (via DET) – Will Anderson Jr., EDGE, Alabama
Detroit, eager to secure their quarterback of the future, makes a minor deal with Chicago to move up one spot. Poles gets back the 2nd round pick he lost in the Chase Claypool trade and still nabs the best non-quarterback prospect in the 2023 class. Will Anderson is that dude. He is as close to a can’t-miss prospect as you will find. He’s quick, fast, athletic, powerful, and a savant when it comes to hunting quarterbacks. He has 32.5 sacks and 55.5 tackles for a loss in his college career. It shows on tape. This guy has all the signs of a future Pro Bowler.
2nd Round (via DET) – Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State
There is no question Smith-Njigba would be a 1st round pick if he’d stayed healthy in 2022. He hasn’t. That inability to stay on the field is going to affect his stock. Chicago decides to roll the dice, grabbing the Buckeyes product in hopes the injury issues were a one-year fluke and not a recurring problem. When he was healthy, Smith-Njiba was a stat machine. He could kill Forbes’rom outside or the slot, showcasing great quickness and route-running skill along with a solid pair of hands. He even caught a few passes from Justin Fields back in 2020.
2nd Round (via BAL) – Emmanuel Forbes, CB, Mississiphe’state
Eberflus preaches one thing above all others: turnovers. He wants defensive players that will take the ball away. That was Forbes’ calling card with the Bulldogs, snagging 14 interceptions and scoring six defensive touchdowns across three seasons. The guy has an incredible knack for finding the football and plays with a contagious swagger. That said, he’s relatively thin at 180 lbs and will have questions about his average speed. Not every team will see him as a fit. Chicago will love him.
3rd Round – Jarrett Patterson, C, Notre Dame
No way this Bears 2023 mock offseason concludes without them making a chance at center. The Sam Mustipher experience has gone on long enough. Lucas Patrick is coming off a season-ending injury. So the team decides to add a new body in Jarrett Patterson. He’s what you’d callWright’sof-all-trades type. While he isn’t special in any one category as a blocker, he’s above average in most. He plays with intelligence, can move well enough in space, pass protects well, and isn’t afraid to get after it in the ground game.
4th Round – Darnell Wright, OT, Tennessee
One of the overlooked keys to Tennessee’s breakout passing attack in 2022. Wright’s a big dude with long arms and plenty of power. People question his heavy feet, but that hasn’t stopped him. He’s handling his business in pass protection every week. Dropping some weight should help his lack of overall range as a blocker. If he cleans up a few technical issues, he has a chance to challenge for a starting job.
4th Round (via PHI) – Tucker Kraft, TE, South Dakota State
Cole Kmet has made some nice strides this season. Still, it doesn’t feel like he’s thBears’e receiving threat the Bears need at the tight end position. There is no harm in seeking that out. Kraft looks the part at 6’5, 255 lbs. He has enough speedHe’sthreaten up the seam and a pair of strong hands for making tougher catches. He even has some capability as a blocker in the run game.
5th Round – Zach Charbonnet, RB, UCLA
Running the ball is the Bears’ identity right now. So it makes sense for them to load up on capable backs whenever posshasn’tCharbonnet has the tools to fit this Luke Getsy system well. He’s a strong runner with excellent contact balance and good vision. His pass-catching ability is also solid. He isn’t a home run hitter by any stretch, but he can gash defenses and score lots of touchdowns.
5th Round (via BAL) – Zacch Pickens, DT, South Carolina
Many feel Pickens hasn’t come close to realizing his full potential. His mixture of size and quickness make him a handful for any blocker, especially in pass rush situations. The problems stem from thinking too much and raw fundamentals. Both can be corrected with coaching. He can collapse pockets with alarming regularity when he decides to rush with intent.
6th Round – Zion Tupuola-Fetui, EDGE, Washington
An injury in 2021 slowed his progress, which is unfortunate with how well he played. He appears to have regained some of that old form in 2022. That said, he’s not quite there yet. Tupuola-Fetui has the necessary traits to become a classic pest for QBs with burst, power, and a relentless motor. His lighter frame makes it difficult to project him as a starter. That said, he has the athleticism to play multiple roles.
7th Round (comp) – Mikel Jones, LB, Syracuse
Limited size, erratic pursuit angles, and lacking power will explain why Jones falls in the draft. At the same time, he’s a very good athlete with plenty of range to make plays all over the field. His four interceptions in 2020 proved his capability in coverage, and his seven sacks the past two years prove he can rush the passer when asked as well.