The Super Bowl is behind us, and the NFL offseason has officially arrived. Now is the favorite time of year for fans of downtrodden teams like the Bears. Over the next few months, every team will magically turn their weaknesses into strengths and enter training camp with hopes of playing in next years’ Super Bowl — if you don’t believe me, just survey each fanbase in July.
The Bears might not be Super Bowl contenders in 2024, but they took a clear step forward in 2023 and have the resources to improve the roster this offseason, setting up another step in the right direction next fall. But before we get into the whirlwind of draft prep (the Combine starts February 26) and free agency (starts March 13), it’s worth taking a look at where the roster currently stands. Let’s examine:
- What the Bears’ depth chart looks like as of today
- Which Chicago impact players are set to hit free agency
- What Chicago’s salary cap situation looks like
- Bears players that could be considered for cuts or extensions
Current Depth Chart
Let’s start by looking at who the Bears currently have under contract for 2024. This is based on the 53 players currently signed as of February 7, sorted loosely into what a depth chart would look like below.
A few thoughts:
- This looks much better than the version I did at a comparable time just a year ago, but it still needs quite a bit of work before it’s truly become a good roster.
- The most notable weaknesses that jump out are WR2, WR3, and C, where the current ‘starting’ players are clearly not starting-caliber.
- I would also argue CB needs some work, as I would feel a lot better about Terell Smith as the top backup than a starter.
- Still, this is a much shorter list than last year, when I said the Bears needed to add 11 starters.
- Beyond that, improved competition for starters and/or rotational depth is needed at RB, TE, interior OL (G/C), DE, DT, and S.
- This list doesn’t include QB, as Justin Fields is a starting QB in the NFL (even if he’s not a high-level one) and Tyson Bagent is a decent enough backup. However, I’ve already made it clear that I believe the Bears should trade Fields and spend the #1 pick in the draft on a new QB, as the chance to upgrade at that spot is a rare and precious one.
- The Bears still lack in top-level players. Their only All-Pro from a year ago, Jaylon Johnson, is slated to be a free agent, and they lack difference makers. I count DJ Moore, Teven Jenkins, and Montez Sweat as high-level players, with the Bears hoping youngsters like Darnell Wright, Gervon Dexter, Tyrique Stevenson, Kyler Gordon, and Jaquan Brisker can rise to that level in due time.