The Chicago Bears are strapped with the first overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft and have tons of cap space to spend as well. What’s their ideal offseason?
Well, the most obvious and correct answer is to further build around Justin Fields, who took steps as a passer and a runner this year. General Manager Ryan Poles seems to be moving forward with Fields as the starting QB, and we’ve known that the number one overall pick is for sale.
To me, there is no reason why the Bears should stay as the number one overall pick unless they change their course and do fall in love with a quarterback.
Trading down once or even twice could really set themselves up nicely for the future.
Before the 2023 NFL Draft, though, we have free agency.
In totality, what does the ideal offseason look like for the Chicago Bears?
NFL Free Agency: The ideal offseason for the Chicago Bears
Bolster two positions in particular: Offensive line and Wide receiver
I would say outside of Teven Jenkins at right guard, the Bears could afford to upgrade every other position on the roster.
First move: Sign Orlando Brown
It appears that the Chiefs will allow Orlando Brown to hit the open market after they didn’t tag him and have yet to agree to a long-term contract extension. Brown has shown competence to play left and right tackle and would slide in at left tackle with ease.
Second move: Sign Dalton Risner
Dalton Risner was a four year starter for the Denver Broncos and should also hit the open market. He’s fine as a run blocker but does not excel as a pass blocker. PFF seems to think highly of him and he’ll likely get a handsome payday. Chicago makes a ton of sense.
Third move: Sign Jermaine Eluemunor
Jermaine Eluemenor had a career year with the Las Vegas Raiders this year, starting in and playing in every game. I’d caution the Bears to not spend too much on the offensive line as allocating a ton of money to one position might not be smart. A corresponding move here would be to draft a right tackle in the 2023 NFL Draft as a long-term option.
I’m not saying that Eluemenor has to start, but throwing him a solid payday just in case would be a smart idea.
Fourth move: Sign JuJu Smith-Schuster
So, I like Chase Claypool and Darnell Mooney. I think they are solid players, but Chicago will need to add a pass catcher or two in the offseason. Smith-Schuster nearly had a 1,000 yard season with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2022 and is likely looking for a multi-year deal.
Smith-Schuster could be the first WR to be solidified on the roster for the future in this scenario.
Final free agency moves: Fill the rest of the roster holes with efficient free agent additions
The true winners of free agency are ones who can fill the backend of their rosters with low cost free agent players. We could go back and forth all night about who in the tier three and tier four waves the Bears should sign.
2023 NFL Draft: Stock up on defense, more OL, and another pass catcher or two
The Bears will also need to address their poor defense, add some potential long-term OL pieces, and add a someone who can be a true WR1.
Using the PFN Mock Draft simulator, this was my total haul for the Chicago Bears:
- 12th overall: OT Broderick Jones (kick him to right tackle)
- 33rd overall: WR Josh Downs
- 38th overall: EDGE B.J. Ojulari
- 56th overall: DT Calijah Kancey
- 67th overall: OG Steve Avila
- 70th overall: WR Cedric Tillman
- 103rd overall: C Joe Tippmann
- 121st overall: EDGE DJ Johnson
- 133rd overall: LB Daiyan Henley
- 137th overall: RB Kenny McIntosh
- 220th overall: EDGE Byron Young
- 2024 LV 1st
- 2024 LV 2nd
- 2024 MIA 4th
So, the 2023 NFL Draft was very kind to the Chicago Bears. They filled a ton of holes on their roster and have an extra first, second, and fourth round pick going into the 2024 NFL Draft.
What would you change?