The Chicago Bears will have more money than any other team when free agency begins next off-season. Over $100 million. That means GM Ryan Poles can be aggressive in finding help for his roster. What nobody knows for sure is who they may target. There will be no shortage of big names on the market. Early assumptions are that they’ll focus on offensive and defensive linemen. That isn’t a surprise with how both units have looked in recent weeks. Where it gets interesting is the skill positions. Everybody assumes wide receiver will also be in play, but maybe running back as well.
That might sound crazy. However, it’s important to remember David Montgomery will be a free agent next spring. Khalil Herbert is nursing a hip injury. Considering how vital the running game is to the Bears’ offensive identity, it might make sense for them to invest in the position. At least, that is what ESPN insider Dan Graziano thinks. He spoke on the Get Up program, explaining that there is a considerable likelihood that star New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley will test the open market in March. He believes the Bears are a landing spot worth watching.
The Chicago Bears pursuing Barkley is a conundrum.
Common NFL doctrine these days is that you don’t invest significant money in the running back position. The wear and tear those guys endure almost always leads to injuries and bodies breaking down. Very few live up to the money they get. It’s a fair point. That said, Barkley has some things going in his favor. He doesn’t turn 26 until next February. So he’s still well within his prime. He appears healthy after an extended period of injury setbacks and is a freak of nature. Athletes like him are rare at any position, let alone running back.
Poles doesn’t seem like the type of GM that would throw a big contract at that spot. It isn’t widely viewed as “premium” compared to QB, offensive tackle, and wide receiver. Then again, the Chicago Bears are a running team. Justin Fields is at his most dangerous when he uses his legs. Imagine how lethal it could get with opponents constantly concerned about Barkley. Besides, the Bears have more than enough money to spend. The odds say it doesn’t happen. That said, the possibility isn’t crazy.