As the 2023 NFL season countdown begins, the Chicago Bears have made strides in rebuilding their roster, coming off a challenging 2022 season. The Bears’ transformation is evident in their potent 53-man roster, showcasing significant improvements.
The real test, however, commences on Sept. 10 when they go head-to-head against their NFC North rivals, the Green Bay Packers.
But the Bears aren’t done yet, even as the season opener looms.
The team is persistently scanning the free-agent market, hunting for those diamonds in the rough that could elevate their game even further.
There are a handful of big-name players still available or potentially on the trade market who could prove to be that missing piece in the Bears’ puzzle.
Let’s dive in and analyze the top free-agent contracts the Bears should consider.
Dalton Risner, OG
The Bears addressed the offensive line position in the NFL Draft, but was it enough? After Justin Fields was running for his life last year, many feel more changes need to be made. Dalton Risner, an esteemed guard with a proven track record, emerges as an enticing prospect for the Chicago Bears. With a solid experience of 62 starts over four seasons with the Denver Broncos, Risner’s robust presence could fortify the Bears’ interior offensive line. Risner, only 28, brings stability and versatility, making him a strategic fit as either a starter or an invaluable backup for the Bears.
Given the recent trade acquisition of Dan Feeney and Teven Jenkins’ calf strain injury, Risner’s addition could provide the Bears with insurance to handle potential injuries. In addition to his on-field prowess, Risner’s experience and leadership would serve as a reliable guide for the younger players on the squad.
Therefore, a contract with Risner could be a strategic move for the Bears, ensuring depth, experience, and strength at the guard and center positions.
Carlos Dunlap, DE
Dunlap, a seasoned defensive end and recent Super Bowl champion, could be the injection of experience and tenacity the Bears’ defensive line needs. Although Dunlap is in the twilight of his career at 34, his record speaks for itself – a testament to his prowess on the field, evidenced by his impressive 100 career sacks. While not an obvious candidate for a starting role, Dunlap’s valuable pass-rushing ability and locker-room influence should not be underestimated. And the Bears need depth on the defensive line.
He could offer a wealth of experience and knowledge to Chicago’s younger players, providing them with a mentor figure as they navigate their careers. Dunlap’s ability to perform as a solid rotational edge rusher is yet another feather in his cap, offering depth to the Bears’ defense. If Dunlap were to join the Bears, it might prove to be a winning combination for his career finale and the Bears’ aspirations for the upcoming season.
Therefore, pursuing a contract with the two-time Pro Bowler could be a smart and beneficial move for the Bears, offering them an experienced, effective pass rusher and a valuable mentor for the younger roster members.
Chris Wormley, DL
A potential diamond in the rough, Wormley could be an excellent addition to the Chicago Bears defensive line. This 29-year-old defensive tackle, with six years of experience split between the Baltimore Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers, has shown his capacity to back up and learn from some of the top players in the AFC North.
Despite starting only one game last season, Wormley made 14 starts for the Steelers in 2021, where he also bagged a career-high seven sacks. He’s demonstrated that he can be a real force on the interior of a D-line. Bringing Wormley on board wouldn’t be the flashiest move for the Bears, but it could deepen their ranks and nurture their younger players.
Given the Bears’ defensive front’s current vulnerabilities, signing Wormley could be a calculated gamble that pays off with substantial returns on the field.
The Bears have a golden opportunity to bolster their line-up by adding seasoned players like Risner, Dunlap, and Wormley. The game is won in the trenches, and the Bears could still use some help on both lines.
These free-agent contracts could offer much-needed depth and versatility to their squad and valuable mentorship for the younger Bears.
While all eyes are on the FanDuel college football odds after last week’s action, the NFL is ready to take center stage this weekend, and the Bears hope they can start the season on the right foot.
Adding these free agents can’t hurt the team; they can only help.