Chicago Bears Free Agency Priorities Are Becoming Clear
Even though we’re used to NFL executives going out of their way to be secretive about their offseason plans, I don’t think there is any way for the Chicago Bears to hide their offseason intentions.
Let’s face it, sometimes the obvious thing is obvious for a reason.
And from where I stand, I find it important to share the obvious thing because it is obvious. Additionally, it also presents us with talking points as we build toward the start of free agency. Which, by the way, begins in 27 days. The “legal tampering period” in which teams can speak with player agents and negotiate (but not sign) deals opens in 25 days.
Looking ahead, the seeds have already been planted that the Bears will be active in the free agent market with eyes on offensive linemen. However, Chicago’s desire to upgrade in the trenches is apparently not limited to the offensive side of the ball. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reports another top priority for GM Ryan Poles will be to bolster the defensive line.
Addressing the front of the defense will be a major priority for general manager Ryan Pace. This free agency class is loaded with high-end options, such as Daron Payne and Javon Hargrave, and the Bears have plenty of money to spend on several players. Armed with the No. 1 overall pick in April’s draft, Chicago has the chance to trade back and still get a blue-chip defensive talent, a move many evaluators believe Chicago will execute. Then, it’s time to build around quarterback Justin Fields with more playmaking and protection help.
It probably could’ve gone without saying that the Bears were eyeing defensive line help this offseason. But I’m glad someone is saying it out loud.
The Bears need help along the defensive line. Plenty of it, too. And in the worst way. Last year’s defense couldn’t stop the run or generate pressure on the quarterback. The results were painful to watch on a weekly basis. Thank goodness the season was just 17 games long, am I right?
Opposing offenses were gashing the Bears at every turn. I lost count of the times me, The Girlfriend, or anyone else I was watching a game with would scream at the TV or field of play for someone to bring down a ball carrier or get a quarterback who had all day in the pocket. It was essentially the football equivalent of Krusty the Clown yelling at the Washington Generals to take the spinning ball off the fingertip of a Harlem Globetrotters player. He’s spinning the ball on his finger. Just take it. Take the ball! And, frankly, I grew tired of it. Ultimately, thinking about that defense leads me to dream about this front office addressing issues on the D-line with gusto.
Good thing there happens to be a loaded class of defensive linemen about to hit free agency.
Fowler name-checks Daron Payne and Javon Hargrave, and that is a good place to start your free agency shopping list. But those are the only notable defensive linemen. Dalvin Tomlinson (Vikings), Dre’Mont Jones (Broncos), and Zach Allen (Cardinals) are among the defensive tackles the Bears would be wise to kick the tires on this offseason. Meanwhile, we shouldn’t forget about pass-rusher options. Players such as Marcus Davenport (Saints), Jadeveon Clowney (Browns), and Arden Key (Jaguars) make sense as potential Bears options off the edge. Those options don’t do anything for you, well, then that is fine. I’d encourage you to fall down the rabbit hole that is PFF’s top 100 free agents and look for yourself to see what alternatives you can unearth.
We’ve been envisioning the defensive line market exploding for a while now. And it seems like it is about to go boom. The Bears would be wise to be all over it when it happens.