The Chicago Bears have a slew of positional needs to address this offseason, and there are plenty of options heading into free agency.
New general manager Ryan Poles is preparing to build his roster, where there are notable holes at wide receiver, offensive line, defensive line, cornerback and safety, among others. Luckily, there’s a wealth of talent around the league set to hit the free agent market that Chicago can choose from. On top of re-signing some of their own.
Here’s a look at one pending free agent from each NFL team that should interest the Bears.
The Bears need weapons for Justin Fields, and Christian Kirk would be the perfect addition. Kirk is coming off a career season with the Cardinals, where he tallied 77 receptions for 982 yards and five touchdowns in 17 games.
While tight end isnt as glaring a need as others on offense, Cole Kmet is among just two tight ends under contract in 2022. Hayden Hurst would certainly be a nice complement to Kmet, but the Bears might not be able to afford him.
The Bears need to surround Fields with some weapons, and Sammy Watkins would certainly be an option in free agency. He wouldn’t necessarily serve as a WR1 or WR2 at this point, but it would be an added weapon for a bargain price.
Keeping with the theme of weapons for Fields, Isaiah McKenzie is an interesting prospect. Though he was behind Cole Beasley, McKenzie had his impressive moments. He could bring some speed as a slot receiver for Chicago.
There are questions at cornerback opposite Jaylon Johnson heading into the offseason. Perhaps Donte Jackson, who suffered a season-ending groin injury, could be an answer.
When looking at their own free agents, James Daniels would make sense as someone to re-sign. He’s just 24 years old and has been a versatile lineman for Chicago since his rookie year.
Larry Ogunjobi is a quality 3-technique that would fit Chicago’s new defensive scheme. When looking at the current defensive tackle free agent class, Ogunjobi leads the way with seven sacks and 16 QB pressures in 2021, something that could help a Bears pass rush already loaded with talent on the edge.
Anthony Walker is a prime free agent target for the Bears given his familiarity with Matt Eberflus’ defense and the fact that he’s a young player on the rise. He’s started 46 games for the Colts at middle linebacker, and he can make the calls.
Michael Gallup would be a solid addition for the Bears. He’s a young receiver that’s showed an ability to get separation and would be a great complement to Darnell Mooney. But it looks like the Cowboys will try to retain him.
Kareem Jackson has been part of one of the best safety duos in the NFL alongside Justin Simmons, and he’d be a great pairing alongside Eddie Jackson. He’s someone who can play whatever role is asked of him. But Kareem is on the older side as he’s going to be 34.
Chicago will have a hole to fill on the defensive line with the expected departure of Akiem Hicks. The Lions don’t have much talent to poach in free agency, but former Bear Nick Williams would make for a solid addition.
With new offensive coordinator Luke Getsy hailing from Green Bay, Allen Lazard is an intriguing option at wide receiver. But Lazard is a restricted free agent, which means the Packers could counter any potential offers.
The Bears need to find an answer at center, whether that’s shifting things around on the current line or adding a center this offseason. Justin Britt is an interesting name to watch, as he’s one of the top free-agent centers set to hit the open market.
The Bears have several needs on the offensive line, including tackle. Eric Fisher isn’t expected to re-sign with the Colts, which makes him a prime target for Chicago in free agency.
DJ Chark is the kind of receiver you want to surround Fields with, as he’s a vertical threat that could really stretch this offense. Chark suffered a fractured left ankle back in October, so he could come on the affordable side.
With a need at safety, there would be no one better than Tyrann Mathieu to add to the roster. Mathieu made it clear he wants to stay with the Chiefs, but we’ll see if they feel the same. If Mathieu were to hit free agency, he’d be one of the top safeties on the market.
The Bears are looking for a cornerback opposite Johnson, and an experienced veteran like Casey Hayward would be exactly what the doctor ordered. Hayward brought consistency to the secondary during his time with the Raiders, and he’d be an excellent addition.
Kyzir White has been impressive for the Chargers over the last couple of seasons, and he’s a young player entering his prime. White has excelled in pass coverage, defending the run and getting after the quarterback.
There are many questions on the offensive line, including at center. Brian Allen is the best center due to hit free agency, and he’s also from the Chicagoland area.
With Mooney the only reliable receiver on the roster, the Bears need to add plenty of depth at the position. Which is where someone like Albert Wilson comes into play. Wilson would be a solid slot receiver for Chicago.
The Bears have a need at safety opposite Eddie Jackson, and perhaps a fellow safety from the NFC North could catch their eye in Xavier Woods. Woods had a career year with 101 tackles, three interceptions, 10 pass breakups and a sack.
JC Jackson will be the top cornerback when free agency opens, and he would provide an immediate upgrade for the Bears alongside Johnson. But Jackson is expected to draw significant interest and a hefty price tag.
Terron Armstead is the ultimate prize at tackle this free agency, and the Bears would get an immediate upgrade at left tackle with him. With plenty of questions along the offensive line, Armstead’s addition would be a huge get.
With the Bears in search of a running mate opposite Eddie Jackson, perhaps Jabrill Peppers would fit the bill. While Peppers missed most of the season after suffering an ACL injury, he’s proven to be a playmaker at the position.
If the Bears are looking for weapons for Fields, Jamison Crowder would be a good place to start. Crowder was the Jets’ leading receiver in each of the last three seasons, and he would be a solid receiver in the slot.
While Anthony Harris is on the older side at 30, he was a hot commodity a couple of years ago. The Bears could give him a one-year deal to see what he could bring to the table opposite Jackson.
Another solid option at slot receiver is JuJu Smith-Schuster, who appears set to move on from the Steelers. Smith-Schuster is coming off three underwhelming seasons, but he’s an experienced veteran that would be a solid option for Fields.
With some holes to fill on the defensive line, DJ Jones would be a huge get for the Bears. Jones, who was the highest graded defensive lineman against the run last season, wreaks havoc in the backfield.
Quandre Diggs is expected to be a hit commodity this free agency. Diggs is one of the NFL’s most underrated safeties, and it’s hard not to get excited about the potential of a defensive backfield with Jackson and Diggs.
Sam Mustipher isn’t the answer at center, but perhaps Ryan Jensen could be. Jensen would solidify one position on the offensive line while other questions at tackle and guard await.
Sam Mustipher isnt the answer at center, and the Bears need to decide who is. Ben Jones is an interesting name to watch in free agency. While he is 33, Jones has been playing at a high level, and there’s no reason to expect that to stop now.