The NFL offseason is underway following the crazy conclusion of Super Bowl LVIII, where the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers in overtime, 25-22. The Chicago Bears have filled out their coaching staff, maintained their front office, and have started making personnel moves. Today, Cody Whitehair and Eddie Jackson were released. Expected moves, but now official. What other moves can we expect from the Bears this offseason? Here’s my first shot at a mock offseason.

Original Cap Space: $35 million cap space

Salary cap: $246 million

Releases:

Eddie Jackson/Cody Whitehair (+ $32 million cap space)

Travis Homer/Nsimba Webster/Aviante Collins/Corliss Waitman (+ $5 million cap space)

Effective Cap Space: $72 million

There aren’t any remaining obvious cuts to make after the releases of Whitehair and Jackson.

Resignings:

Franchise Tag CB Jaylon Johnson (- $18.4 million)

WR Equanimeous St. Brown (1 year, $1.25 million)

LS Patrick Scales (1 year, $1.5 million)

CB Josh Blackwell/WR Collin Johnson ERFA tenders (1 year, $985,000 each)

Effective Cap Space: $50 million

The Bears are just in a position where it’s better to move on from most of their free agents. Jaylon absolutely must be kept, but besides him, the rest are replaceable, even if they are good. That includes Justin Jones, Darnell Mooney, D’Onta Foreman, and Yannick Ngakoue. Maybe they could be backup options for the Bears, but not top priorities.

Extensions:

I don’t foresee any extensions being handed out this offseason, but keep an eye on Teven Jenkins, Khalil Herbert, and Justin Fields if they keep him when training camp begins.

Free Agency:

QB Tyrod Taylor (1 year, $3.5 million)

RB Ameer Abdullah (1 year, $1.25 million)

WR Curtis Samuel (2 years, $23 milllion)

WR Quez Watkins (1 year, $1.75 million)

TE Noah Fant (2 years, $10 million)

C Lloyd Cushenberry (3 years, $25 million)

OT George Fant (1 year, $3 million)

DE Bryce Huff (3 years, $35 million)

S Mike Edwards (1 year, $2 million)

Effective Cap Space: $12 million

There’s no star free agent like Chris Jones, or Geno Stone, or Saquon Barkley, or Tee Higgins here, but this would be a very good haul for the Bears. Taylor provides stability at backup QB for whoever ends up being QB. Abdullah is an upgrade as a 3rd down back and special teamer from Homer. Samuel replaces Mooney, and has serious versatility Mooney didn’t quite have. Watkins is a shot at a guy who was pretty good as a deep threat before struggling mightily last season. Fant comes over from Seattle where he shares a connection with Shane Waldron, and can form a pretty good TE duo with Cole Kmet. Finally some stability at the center position with Cushenberry who is just 25 and already has started for 4 seasons. The other Fant comes over to solidify the swing tackle spot. Huff is an elite pass rusher who has some struggles rushing the passer, but he’s younger and an upgrade over Ngakoue. Edwards will compete for the starting FS spot.

The Draft

Note: Order post 3rd round will not be known until March when compensatory picks are awarded. Bears are not projected to receive a compensatory pick

Scenario 1: Caleb Williams

1.1: Caleb Williams, QB, USC

1.9: Rome Odunze, WR, Washington

Trade: Justin Fields to the Atlanta Falcons for 2.43, 2024 6th, and a conditional 2025 3rd

2.43: J.T. Tuimoloau, DE, Ohio State

3.75: Sione Vaki, S, Utah

4th round: Jawhar Jordan, RB, Louisville

4th round: Keith Randolph, DT, Illinois

5th round: Theo Johnson, TE, Penn State

6th round: Charles Turner III, C, LSU

Williams is obviously the prize of this class, and he gets an elite weapon right away in Odunze, creating one of the best situations for a rookie QB to walk into ever. With the capital acquired from a Fields trade, the Bears try filling their two weakest positions on day 2, FS and DE2. Stealing Jordan on day 3 would be quite a weapon to add to the backfield. Randolph comes in as an effective DT to replace Justin Jones. Johnson and Turner serve as depth pieces.

Alternatively, the Bears could swap with Washington and get some picks and select Drake Maye, and that’s the midpoint between the two main scenarios; the Bears get a worse QB and some picks but not the generational WR or the full haul. I hope the Bears don’t do this, and also don’t believe they prefer Maye to Williams though some think it could be a Jayson Tatum situation.

Scenario 2: Justin Fields 

Trade: 1.1, DT Zacch Pickens to the New England Patriots for 1.3, 2.34, 3.68, 2025 1st, 2026 3rd, DT Christian Barmore

1.3: Marvin Harrison Jr, WR, Ohio State

Trade 1.9 to New York Jets for 1.10 and 2025 4th

1.10: Dallas Turner, DE, Alabama

2.34: Jackson Powers-Johnson, C, Oregon

3.68: Bucky Irving, RB, Oregon

3.75: Tykee Smith, S, Georgia

4th round: Brevyn Spann-Ford, TE, Minnesota

4th round: Isaiah Williams, WR, Illinois

5th round: Tory Taylor, P, Iowa

Barmore would be an amazing addition to the defensive line, and the trade gives the Bears even more capital and allows them to pick the best non-QB prospect in the draft in Marvin Harrison Jr to pair with Justin Fields and DJ Moore. They grab the best EDGE in the class in Turner to pair with Montez Sweat and Bryce Huff, and grab their center of the future on day 2, as well as Irving who complements Khalil Herbert very well and Smith to battle Edwards for the starting FS spot. Spann-Ford is a huge 6’7″ mammoth at TE, and Williams can slot as the backup to Samuel with his versatility and YAC ability. Finally, Taylor is an upgrade over Trenton Gill.

 

Either of these offseasons would be huge successes for the Bears. While they may not be acquiring a superstar, they will surely improve to compete for the NFC North and a playoff spot in 2024 with these moves.

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