The Chicago Bears have the most salary cap space of any team in the NFL. That means GM Ryan Poles should have a golden opportunity to upgrade his roster with multiple high-end veterans. While he promised to be selective without going overboard, the truth is he has to land at least two or three difference-makers. The upcoming market has some intriguing talents to consider. Nobody can say who will actually be available when the off-season officially begins on March 15th.
The franchise tag is one of the biggest equalizers in any free agency period. This allows every team to designate one player as their franchise guy, enabling them to lock him down for one year on a contract worth top five money at their position. There is a strong possibility several big-name free agents will receive this designation before free agency begins. That would hurt the Bears’ list of options. Former agent Joel Corry revealed his list of names most likely to get tagged. Several of them won’t make Chicago fans happy.
- DT Da’Ron Payne
- RB Tony Pollard
- RB Saquon Barkley
- RB Josh Jacobs
- OT Orlando Brown Jr.
The Chicago Bears need some good luck to come their way.
Hopes are high that they would be able to upgrade their defensive tackle position in free agency. Payne had 11.5 sacks this past season, the most for any at his position in the NFL. He looks to be the exact kind of interior pass rusher the Bears lacked in 2022. If Corry is correct and he gets tagged, that removes a huge target from the board. Chicago also built their offense around the running game. With David Montgomery hitting free agency, there was a chance they might try to add one of the more dynamic options on the market. Now that appears unlikely.
It also isn’t a secret the Chicago Bears have to improve their protection for Justin Fields. Franklin is widely considered one of the best tackles to hit the market. Kansas City tagging him would thin the options, even if he might not be the best fit for this team. All of this is a sobering reminder of why Poles said he preferred to build through the draft. Great players rarely reach the free agent market each year. That is why leaning on it to improve never works out. The best approach might be to focus on depth and positions of less pressing need.