This year, the Chicago Bears’ offseason is one of the best of any team in the NFL.
They are in a prime position to trade back and add draft capital this year and in the future due to the fact that they hold the first overall pick in the upcoming draft and have an answer at quarterback. In addition, Chicago leads the NFL in free cap space with nearly $95 million per Over The Cap. They will continue to build around quarterback Justin Fields on offense and upgrade some needy positions on defense, so this is a fantastic setup for the offseason.
The negotiating window begins on Monday, and free agency begins on Wednesday. With the cap space the Bears have, they ought to have an extremely active free agency period, and these are three of the folks, specifically, they ought to target.
Mike McGlinchey, RT
The Bears need to make improving Fields’ blocking up front a top priority this offseason. When left tackle Braxton Jones came into his own late in his rookie season and Teven Jenkins excelled after moving inside to right guard, they discovered a couple of seemingly long-term answers on the offensive line. However, Jenkins’ shift to guard has made the right tackle position’s future less certain and more uncertain. Riley Reiff, a veteran with 11 years of experience, started 10 games there this season, but he will be a free agent in about a week.
Enter McGlinchey, a stellar young free agent option at right tackle who is looking for a new contract after his rookie deal ends. As one of the best free agents tackles, the former 49er and run-blocking specialist will undoubtedly attract a large number of interested parties, but Chicago has the flexibility to lure him with a more lucrative contract.
D.J. Chark, WR
The Bears need to give Fields more weapons to pass to in addition to strengthening the offensive front to guard him. Although N’Keal Harry and Chase Claypool were acquired by them in a trade last year, they still managed 38 targets, 21 receptions, and 256 yards. Their top receiver the previous year was tight end Cole Kmet, not a wideout, who only had 550 receiving yards in 2022. Since Chicago is unlikely to address this issue in the first round, they must sign a player who can make an impact in free agency.
Chark finished his one year in Detroit quietly (very) strong, including three games with more than 90 receiving yards, bringing his total for the season to 502 yards, good enough to make him the Bears’ No. 2 pass-catcher. He would be the Bears’ true “X” receiver, a big, explosive, and quick receiver who can separate over the middle and stretch the field when asked, filling in for Allen Robinson since his second to last season in Chicago.
Frank Clark, EDGE
The Bears’ pass-rush attack in 2022 was doomed after they traded away elite edge rusher Khalil Mack in the offseason. Chicago’s pass defense was among the worst in the NFL, despite the strong rookie efforts of defensive backs Jaquan Brisker and Kyler Gordon, who had just 20 sacks as a team.
Clark, an eight-year NFL veteran, would bring that veteran presence and seven years of playoff experience to a more youthful team needing a leader. In 2022, Chicago’s defense, which had a rookie safety leading it in sacks, would benefit greatly from the former Chief. In addition, the off-field connection between Clark and the Bears’ current general manager Ryan Poles, who worked in Kansas City’s front office when they negotiated the defensive end’s most recent contract, makes it a fit that makes sense.