Brief Notes on the Week One Free Agent Signings

| March 18th, 2023

The Bears were aggressive over the first week of free agency, as Ryan Poles now begins the process of rebuilding the roster he needed to tear down in 2022. Here are thoughts (with a few insider-type notes) on the signing writ large.

  • There was a bidding war for the services of Tremaine Edmunds, with Buffalo South (the Giants) also making an aggressive bid for his services. Here’s what I know about Edmunds. His former DC, Les Frazier, called the Bears to congratulate them on the signing. Two people who formally worked with him, Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll, were all-in for him. The man who invented the phrase Bills Mafia, Del Reid, texted me to say the Bears got a good one. If you’re cynical about this signing, it’s because you just want to be cynical.
  • P.J. Walker is one of those signings that gives me confidence in this front office. It does not make sense for the Bears to have a quarterback backing up Fields that cannot run his offense. Walker can. Is he a great player? No. There aren’t enough good STARTING quarterbacks, let alone backups. But Walker is 4-3 as a starter. If Fields misses a few games due to injury, Walker can hold down the position and perhaps sneak a few victories. That’s all you can ask for from a backup QB.
  • I was once having a conversation an NFL personnel man and he said something profound: “Most evaluators can never escape their college grades.” When Poles was asked about Travis Homer he said, “That’s a guy I’ve loved since college.” Homer is only 24 years old. It won’t be surprising if Poles envisions a larger role for him in this offense than many of us expect.

  • Is the defensive line where the team wants it? No. But the Bears did add size (Andrew Billings is a monster of a human being) and production (DeMarcus Walker had seven sacks last year). They also expect improvement in year two of this defense from Justin Jones, Trevis Gipson and Dominique Robinson, the latter being a massive disappointment in 2022. This unit is still likely to be the team’s weak link in 2022, unless Poles hits a few dingers in the draft.
  • I understand the argument that the Bears do not want to put themselves in a position of need with the ninth pick but really, who cares? Even if the Bears didn’t NEED right tackle, it would still make sense for them to take one with that pick. (And I don’t think Poles will succumb to need with this selection. He’ll stick to his board.)
  • Poles suggesting a Cody Whitehair move to center was perhaps the most interesting comment he made at his presser last week. It is still very early in the process, but the signing of Nate Davis assured that Whitehair is no longer in the team’s plans at guard. The question remaining is whether he’ll make the 2023 team at all, and that might not be established until after the draft.

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