Friday, April 19, 2024

Insider Expects Chicago Bears To Target Three Positions In Free Agency

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Free agency might not be the main event for GM Ryan Poles, but it will still serve as part of the process for helping the Chicago Bears improve. Expectations are that the team should have enough cap space to be aggressive for at least one prominent name if they wish. Or they could spread it around for mid-tier options at various positions. More than anything, it’s expected Poles will use a large chunk of that space to lock up cornerback Jaylon Johnson to a contract extension.

Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune was asked where the Bears might take a big swing on the free agent market this year. He reiterated his belief Poles will be quieter this year, hoping to shift focus towards the draft. However, that doesn’t mean the team will do nothing. Based on his read of the situation, there are three position groups that could get some attention once the market opens in mid-March. Two of them are on the offensive side, and the other on defense.

“That being said, three positions I would keep an eye on are center, defensive end and tight end.

It’s not a great draft class for edge rushers, and the Bears might explore some options on the open market. There are some talented centers in the draft, but the Bears currently don’t own a second-round pick, which might be the sweet spot to get a good one. Maybe Poles could get a second-rounder back if he trades quarterback Justin Fields. Some I’ve spoken to believe the return for Fields might be a third-rounder. Who knows right now?

The Bears have no depth behind Cole Kmet at tight end right now, so they’ll look at options there.”

This seems like a fair assessment of the Chicago Bears.

It also feels like a signal from Biggs that the team might be planning to address the wide receiver position early. Most experts believe this is a great year to need one with three names projected to go in the top 10. With quarterback almost certain to be the other pick, it means those three positions mentioned by Biggs may not get addressed until the 3rd round unless the Bears somehow secure a 2nd rounder via trade. So addressing them in free agency would make sense.

The next question becomes whether the Chicago Bears can find any bargains at those positions. Players that may not cost a huge new contract but still produce at a high enough level to make a difference. Here are a few worth keeping an eye on.

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Center:

  • Connor Williams
  • Aaron Brewer

Defensive end:

  • Carl Lawson
  • Dorance Armstrong
  • A.J. Epenesa

Tight end:

  • Noah Fant
  • Gerald Everett

Williams, Epenesa, and Everett feel like the best fits for the Bears when thinking about the personal preferences for Poles and the coaching staff. However, it’s hard to predict how the market unfolds each year. Smart money says they should land at least one of those names before the draft arrives in April.

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mbearest
mbearest
Feb 8, 2024 10:31 am

This list is Awful! Maybe take a shot at Noah Fant because he’d be complimentary. Wilson would be good if he wasn’t coming off a torn ACL! Any GM would be a fool to put all their eggs in that basket but the Bears would be insane to do it with their history of signing and drafting O-linemen with injury question marks. And PFF literally has 12 edge rushers rated higher than any of these on this list.12. It would be different if we were looking for depth with a small price tag but we need a bookend starter to… Read more »

butler741
butler741
Feb 7, 2024 7:02 pm

Noah Fant makes a lot of sense. He’s an upgrade over Tonyan and spent 2 years with Waldron.

BearDownTX
Feb 7, 2024 2:23 pm

Epenesa I like. I don’t like either C. I think that is where you spend your money on the line outside of LT. This gives the best chance for Fields or a young QB to develop, as a good C makes all the calls and checks for the line. Give me Biadsz even if it costs a little bit more! Williams is coming off ACL, that is a hard pass.
Beyond this I think you need another quality WR even if you get one in the draft. IT makes the offense deeper, and gives you more options in the draft.

jmscooby
Feb 7, 2024 1:50 pm

Some of these DL and OL take a few years to gain functional strength. TEs take a couple years to develop too, for the most part. Don’t break the bank on the guy, but he’ll contribute more than some of the DEs we’ve rolled out there.

Dr. Melhus
Feb 7, 2024 1:29 pm

@DarnellMoonedMe The problem I have with Solomon Thomas is that he is the player the 49ers took just after the Bears took Trubisky, and I’d constantly be reminded of Pace giving up assets to move up one spot to take a player no one else would touch at 2 or 3.

That said, it’s not Thomas’s fault that he was drafted too high. If Poles can sign him to a fair contract based on how he will play, I’m fine with that, whether he was the 3rd pick overall or a UDFA.

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