Chicago Bears Free Agency 2023

It’s going to be a busy offseason for the Chicago Bears. They are coming off a 3-14 season which was the worst in the NFL. There are quite a few free agents leaving the team and, not to mention, they could trade the first pick. Here’s what you need to know about Chicago Bears free agency.

Chicago Bears 2023 NFL Free Agents

You hate to say it, but the Bears are looking for just about everything. General manager Ryan Poles is going to be a busy man as the team hopes to target top players through free agency or the draft. There is plenty of work to get done.

David Montgomery is one of the team’s key free agents and the Chicago Bears could bring him back. Montgomery was second on the team in rushing being Bears’ starting quarterback Justin Fields. He will be 26 years old on June 7 and averaged four yards per carry last season.

Linebacker Nicholas Morrow had a career year on defense last season in his best year as a pro. Veteran offensive linemen Riley Reiff and Sam Mustipher are also free agents. The team and GM Ryan Poles are likely looking for upgrades to boost the offensive line for young QB Justin Fields. 

The offensive line gave up 58 sacks last season. The Bears could target free agent signings such as Orlando Brown Jr. and move Braxton Jones to right tackle. Jones started all 17 games for the team as a rookie and looks like he will be a valuable asset for the long-term plan.

Fields will likely be throwing to a few new wide receivers in the Windy City as N’Keal Henry and Byron Pringle see their contracts expire. Receivers such as Allen Lazard might be a good fit for the Bears during 2023 free agency. No receiver had more than 600 receiving yards last season for Chicago. It looks like Fields would benefit from some weapons and receiver depth.

Unrestricted Bears Free Agents

To be an unrestricted free agent, there are a couple of qualifications. An NFL player must have four or more years of experience and their contract has to have expired or been voided. They can negotiate with any team without any restrictions or draft-choice compensation. Here’s a list of impending free agents for the Bears who are unrestricted.

Quarterbacks

Nathan Peterman – QB

Running Backs

Khari Blasingame – FB

David Montgomery – RB

Trevon Wesco – FB

Wide Receivers and Tight Ends

Ryan Griffin – TE

N’Keal Harry – WR

Dante Pettis – WR

Byron Pringle – WR

Centers, Guards, and Tackles

Dakota Dozier – LT

Riley Reiff – T

Michael Schofield – G

Defensive tackles, Defensive Ends, Edge Rushers

Angelo Blackson – DE

Al-Quadin Muhammad – DE

Mike Pennel – DT

Armon Watts – DT

Linebackers

Matthew Adams – OLB

Nicholas Morrow – OLB

Joe Thomas – OLB

Cornerbacks and Safeties

Dane Cruikshank – CB

DeAndre Houston-Carson – S

Special Teams

Patrick Scales – LS

Restricted Free Agents

A restricted free agent is a player who has played for three or fewer accrued seasons and has an expiring contract. The team can assign a tender to the player, which allows them to match any offer the player receives from other teams. The team receives draft compensation if the player signs elsewhere.

2023 NFL restricted free agents for the Bears:

Josh Blackwell – CB (exclusive restricted free agent)

Breon Borders – CB

Sam Mustipher – C

Javin White – LB

Salary Cap and Roster

Projections have the Bears with almost $100 million in salary cap space. The team ranks at the top of the league in cap space and the Bears need to determine the best way to use it. They have a lot of roster holes to fill for next season with crucial positions wide open. The salary cap is $224.8 million for the 2023 season.

There is money to spend considering only two current players have a cap hit of over $10 million for next season: Eddie Jackson at $17 million and Cody Whitehair at $14.1 million.

Also, the Bears have the first pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. What they will do is up in the air. There will likely be no shortage of trade offers due to the top prospects being quarterbacks. The Bears seem to be sticking with Justin Fields who has started 25 games over the past two seasons.

Bears Free Agency 2023 FAQs

When does free agency begin?

NFL free agency will commence on March 15, 2023. It begins at 4 p.m. eastern time. The date signifies the start of the new league year and the end of all player contracts. Many players are set to hit the market and gain free agency status.

What is an unrestricted free agent?

An unrestricted free agent is a player whose contract has expired, and they have no ties to their former team. Starting on March 15, they are free to negotiate with any team in the league without restrictions.

What is a restricted free agent?

A restricted free agent can be extended what is called a qualifying offer. If offered, they are still allowed to negotiate with other teams around the league. Their current team is allowed to match any offer.

Can teams talk to players before free agency begins?

There is a “legal tampering” period that begins on March 13. Teams can talk to certified agents but no signings can be made until free agency is official.

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written by

Sam hails from Grandville, Michigan. He has a rich sports background, including playing baseball at Central Michigan before covering high school sports and working with the Orlando Magic. He earned his broadcasting/journalism degree from Central Michigan University and was a member of the 2010 MAC Championship baseball team. Sam developed his expertise while working with Betsperts, Bleacher Nation, and 4for4 in various areas such as writing, social media, betting research, and business development. He's a big fan of the NBA, NFL, and MLB, highly interested in data and statistics.

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