All-22uesday Review: Taking An Early Look At Chicago’s Free Agent Class

| March 13th, 2024


Kevin Byard, D’Andre Swift, Gerald Everett, and Jonathan Owens are now Chicago Bears! But how good are they? What do they bring to the team? And who remains unsigned that Ryan Poles may target? Robert & Nick review all this and more on the latest episode of Bear With Us!

Your Turn: Who’s left out there that you’d like to see signed?

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Free Agency Day One, Open Thread

| March 15th, 2023

DBB is on spring break this week. And in lieu of spending the week drunk and shirtless in Daytona Beach, I’m hanging out with Sarah and the cats in Queens while doing very little mental labor. So, we’ll start this week with a series of three open threads during the legal tampering period and opening day of free agency, allowing the comments section to be the place to discuss the moves/non-moves. Thursday we will return with some longer reflections. 


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As “Legal Tampering” Begins, Twitter Fans Have Their Preferred Targets

| March 14th, 2022

Here are the targets of choice, from Twitter followers of DBB:

From @JMora88:

DJ Chark is Big

DJ Chark is Very Fast

DJ Chark is Young

From @ExecCoachChris:

Kmet ain’t enough

Mo-Alie Cox: sneaky good!

And it’s fun to say

From @dieselDC3:

If I’m getting creative, I’m staying away from FA and making minor moves to get guys like Miles Boykin, Denzel Mims, Andy Isabella and Scott Miller. These guys all fit profiles that work in the Getsy offense and could be nearly free. They also are free to cut.

From @JDBrownWrites:

As much as I think we should prioritize offensive spending, if we think we have a great chance to use both second rounders on WR/OL, then I would say Charvarius Ward. We desperately need CB help and he probably won’t break the bank.

From @lstanczyksports:

JuJu: it would help Justin’s intermediate game to have a really good slot guy. While JuJu has injury history, we know he’s a really productive slot guy when he’s out there. Could be someone you get on a prove-it deal, and if he stays healthy and gels with JF, he can stick around

From @EBnFlusB3rD0wn:

UFA – Christian Kirk Slot Wr. Explosive slot Wr, can stretch the field, underneath routes, out routes, can take a slat to the house as well as fade routes, takes hits underneath and holds on to the ball (1 Career fumble), 25 will grow with JF1.

From @JerradWyche:

Justin Reid. I think he compliments Bojack well and is a solid fit in Eberflus’ system with his range and experience.

From @aYoung_24:

I’d really like them to go get someone like Ryan Jensen. I feel that he’ll not only protect JF, but he’ll also be able to teach the young guys on the team a lot of different things based on his experience.

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Current Roster Construction Provides Obvious Off-Season Approach

| January 24th, 2022

The Bears have limited resources to improve their team this offseason, and a lot of attention is going to be focused on using those resources to fix the offense. On the surface, this makes quite a bit of sense; as you can see in the table below, which looks at a variety of all-encompassing stats for each side of the ball, the Bears had an average to below-average defense and one of the worst offenses in the NFL.

However, the Bears would be wise not to ignore the defense, either. For starters, that unit has several key contributors from 2021 who are scheduled to be free agents, including five players who spent the bulk of the season as starters (Akiem Hicks, Bilal Nichols, Alec Ogletree, Artie Burns, Tashaun Gipson). Those players will need to be re-signed or replaced, and none of them have obvious in-house replacements already on the roster.

But Chicago has to be careful not to overspend on defense, because the offense definitely needs investment as well. The table below shows the veteran players currently under contract for 2022 on both offense and defense with a cap hit of at least $3 million. The offense is shown on the left in blue, and the defense on the right in orange. As you can see, it’s quite lopsided (data from Over the Cap).

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2020 Free Agency Primer

| March 13th, 2020

Free agency starts this week, so let’s take stock of where exactly the Bears’ roster is at. We’ll start by looking at who they currently have under contract, then move to the cap situation to get an idea of how much money they have to spend.


The table below shows a rough depth chart for the Bears based only on players who are currently under contract with the team. (disclaimer: these are accurate as of 9:00 am on Friday, March 13).

A few thoughts:

  • Everybody wants to talk about QB and TE on the offense, and with good reason, but right guard is the more pressing issue. Alex Bars was undrafted a year ago and played a total of 12 snaps last year on offense. Rashaad Coward, who started 10 games at right guard in 2019, is a restricted free agent, meaning it will be easy for the Bears to bring him back. Given his poor level of play, however, merely doing that wouldn’t solve the problem.
  • Their depth on the offensive line is also a concern. Sam Mustipher was undrafted last year and spent the whole season on the practice squad. I had honestly never heard of Dino Boyd before putting this together – he’s never appeared in an NFL game – but he’s currently the only backup tackle on the roster.
  • So overall the Bears need 3 solid players on the offensive line: a starting right guard, a swing tackle, and a reserve interior offensive lineman (potentially Rashaad Coward).
  • WR is another under the radar issue. Allen Robinson and Anthony Miller are fine as the top 2 receivers, but Javon Wims was bad last year, and Riley Ridley wasn’t good enough to take snaps away from him. None of these guys but Cordarrelle Patterson are fast, and Patterson has proven clearly on 4 teams over 7 years that he’s nothing more than a part-time player on offense. The Bears don’t have money to spend here, but a cheaper veteran for better depth might be a good option.

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Thinking About Compensatory Picks for the First Time in a Generation

| March 12th, 2019

Bears fans are in unfamiliar territory.

For the first time in a long time, they are in position to lose more than they gain in free agency. And it’ll be that way the next few years. This is a good thing, as it means the Bears have finally been drafting well and now have enough talent that they can’t afford to keep everybody.

With that in mind, it’s time to pay attention to compensatory draft picks, a confusing program the NFL runs to reward teams like the Bears that lose talented players in free agency. The general idea here is teams who lose more valuable free agents than they bring in get additional draft picks in the following draft. So the Bears could be looking at compensatory picks in 2020 based on what happens this month with Adrian Amos, Bryce Callahan, and Aaron Lynch.

The Bears haven’t had a compensatory pick since 2009 so it’s understandable if many Bears fans aren’t super familiar with how they work. The exact NFL formula for them is a secret, but some people have done really good work tracking them over the years and figuring the general process out. If you’re really interested, here’s the best detailed breakdown I could find, but for now I’m going to give a primer and go over the basics.

Where The Picks Are

For the very basics, let’s start with where compensatory picks fall in the draft. Nobody is getting an extra 1st round pick based on losing a valuable free agent, so don’t hold your breath there.

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As Free Agency and the Draft Approach, a Full Breakdown of the Current Roster

| March 6th, 2019

As NFL teams leave the Combine in Indianapolis, the NFL offseason is about to ramp up. A brief timeline of what’s happening in the next two months:

  • Now: teams manage their current roster, finishing up cutting and re-signing their own players to make sure they’re under the salary cap before…
  • March 13: free agency begins. Teams must stay under the cap at this point, and they can officially sign players from other teams who are not under contract.
  • April 25-27: NFL draft.

Since we are just a few weeks away from the six-week period that features the main roster improvement time of the offseason, it’s a good time to take stock of where the Bears are at.

Current Roster

Let’s start by looking at players they already have under contract. A rough depth chart for that is shown below; players who have not played meaningfully in the NFL are not included. I should also note that I included the Bears’ 4 exclusive rights free agents, because those players are all but under contract unless the Bears decide not to sign them (equivalent to cutting a player currently under contract).


Areas to Improve

Now let’s take a closer look at that roster to see what areas need to be cleaned up, ranked roughly from most-to-least pressing.

  • Nickel cornerback. Sherrick McManis filled in admirably after Bryce Callahan got hurt last year, but he’s a 31 year old career special teamer for a reason. I’d feel much better about this position group, both in terms of starters and depth, if a new starter at nickel was signed and McManis slots in to a backup role next to Kevin Toliver.

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Projecting Contracts for the Key Free Agent Bears

| January 17th, 2019

The Bears have three starters – Bryce Callahan, Bobby Massie, and Adrian Amos – and a key role player – Aaron Lynch – who are all free agents this offseason. They’re tight up against the cap, so keeping all of them will be hard.

In order to prioritize which ones might be most important and attainable to hang onto, we need to understand how expensive their contracts are likely to be. Let’s look at each player one by one and look at the types of contracts signed by comparable players in recent years to get an idea for what to expect. All data is from Spotrac.

Bryce Callahan (27 years old)

Callahan’s contract is a difficult one to project because it is complicated by health. Callahan has been one of the best nickel backs in the NFL when healthy, but he’s only played 45 out of a possible 65 games (including playoffs) in 4 years, which should keep his price down a little bit. It’s also a bit difficult to parse out nickel back contracts from the other cornerbacks, as they’re listed generically together even though NFL teams clearly pay them differently. Nevertheless, here are four recent nickel back contracts that can help give us an idea of what Callahan’s market should be.

Harris’ deal sets the standard for nickels, but I don’t think it will have much bearing on Callahan. I’m sure his agents will point to it as what they’d like to get, but I don’t think teams view Callahan on Harris’ level, both because of health and big plays. Harris missed 1 game in 4 years before signing this deal and had 10 interceptions to Callahan’s 4.

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