HomeTrade RumorsChicago Bears: A Guide to the 2024 NFL Offseason

Chicago Bears: A Guide to the 2024 NFL Offseason

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Chicago Bears

Projected Cap Space: $66.2 million

Draft Picks: 6

  • 1st (No. 1, CAR)
  • 1st (No. 9)
  • 3rd (No. 75)
  • 4th (No. 111)
  • 4th (No. 123, PHI)
  • 5th (No. 143)

Notable Free Agents: 

Top Three Needs

1 – Wide Receiver

Let’s get the quarterback discussion out of the way because that’s a whole different discussion on its own: the Bears have the No. 1 pick which will be used on a quarterback and incumbent starting QB Justin Fields. One of those will be the starter for Chicago in 2024, the other will be traded to a different team. Right now, it feels like all signs are pointing toward the Bears trading fields and drafting USC QB Caleb Williams No. 1 overall, but regardless, it seems like there are just two ways for that situation to shake out. 

Whoever is throwing passes will need more weapons to throw to. The Bears’ coup of a trade last year that netted them the No. 1 pick also got them a No. 1 receiver in D.J. Moore. But Darnell Mooney is set to be a free agent and Chicago needs reinforcements to present other threats outside of Moore. Velus Jones is a bust and Tyler Scott is probably better suited to a complementary role for a little longer. 

Fortunately for Chicago, this is a good year to need help at receiver. The upcoming draft class seems loaded with prospects who could help, and there’s a healthy number of free agent options as well. 

2 – Edge Rusher

The Bears had such a big need here that they swung a midseason trade for Montez Sweat, giving up what turned out to be the No. 40 pick and a huge contract that is practically guaranteed for three seasons. The good news is the early return on that investment looks promising. Sweat had six sacks in nine games and made the Pro Bowl, while Chicago’s defense looked a lot better in the back half of the year. 

Going forward, there’s still a big need here. The Bears need another starter across from Sweat and rotational players to keep the starters fresh. Their second first-round pick at No. 9 overall is one to keep an eye on if they don’t use it on a receiver. They also have a considerable free agent budget to bring in an impact defensive lineman. 

Defensive tackle could be considered a need here too, and if the Bears get a chance to land a pass-rushing three-technique, they’d surely jump at the chance. But with a returning core of Andrew Billings, Gervon Dexter and Zacch Pickens, the last two who were Day 2 picks in 2023, there’s a solid core to build on here. 

3 – Center

The Bears made a lot of progress on the offensive line last year. They used a top-ten pick on RT Darnell Wright and while he had some rookie growing pains, he also looked like a potential starter. Teven Jenkins finally looked like he found a home at guard, and Braxton Jones was once again solid at left tackle. 

In a dream situation, the Bears would probably upgrade from Jones. But since left tackle is a premium position, it’s fair to question if the assets to get a better player than Jones are better used elsewhere on the roster. Nate Davis was one of the team’s major free agent signings last year, but his first year in Chicago didn’t go as well as both sides hoped due to a variety of circumstances. The hope is things are better in 2024. 

That leaves center, where Patrick is set to depart on an expiring contract and the Bears likely don’t mind getting the chance to find an upgrade. Once again things have played out fortuitously for Chicago, as between free agency and the draft there are more options than usual for teams to address the position this year. 

Other areas the Bears could look to address include safety and running back, but those are less premium positions. Chicago needs a new starter to replace Eddie Jackson after he was cut. Starting RB Khalil Herbert is entering a contract year and the Bears could do better than the duo of him and 2023 fourth-rounder Roschon Johnson.

One Big Question

Are the Bears finally ready to compete?

It’s been a long rebuilding process for the Bears over the past two seasons. Bears GM Ryan Poles and HC Matt Eberflus tore the roster down to the studs and it’s taken time to build it back up. There were a lot of losses along the way. The duo has a record of 10-24, and that much losing takes a toll. There have been and will be casualties, and at one point midseason it looked like the rebuild would claim Eberflus before it finished. 

But Eberflus pulled things together enough to have a winning record in the second half of the year. Poles had an extremely fortuitous stroke of luck, turning the No. 1 pick last year into a starting right tackle, a starting cornerback, a No. 1 receiver and another No. 1 pick to land a potential franchise quarterback. The Bears have so many assets to juice their rebuild that Poles and Eberflus have the luxury of not having to be right about every decision — which is good because the two already have their fair share of misses on personnel decisions. 

But there are a few things that they can’t afford to get wrong. They have to stick the landing with the No. 1 pick, whether it’s trading it for a haul or using it on a quarterback. And the Bears have to start winning. Things are supposed to be different for Chicago in 2024. The roster is supposed to be better, with talent that fits Poles and Eberflus’ vision for the team. Chicago is ready for the Bears to be successful again. 

Defining exactly what that success looks like is a little trickier — for instance is a playoff mandate far for a rookie quarterback, even one drafted No. 1 overall? But the Bears need to follow up this offseason with tangible progress on the field, whatever that looks like. 

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