The Bears have a lot of assets this offseason and should be looking to heavily invest in both sides of the ball. They have plenty of cap space and more than enough draft capital to make almost any trade and sign anyone. The players that are talked about below aren’t officially on the trade block or going to be cut. However, they are players that could make sense for their team to try and get rid of, whether its for cap reasons or gathering more draft capital. Most of them won’t be upcoming free agents, as most fans have already heard about those players.
Daron Payne, DT
Payne is 25 years old and has played for the Washington Commanders for the past five seasons. In those five seasons, he has 26 sacks, 40 TFLs, and 55 QB hits. He has been a force up the middle for the Commanders and would fit the Bears defensive scheme very well. With the Commanders already having Jonathan Allen under contract through 2025, they might let Payne hit the open market. It would be a hefty price tag for the former Alabama product, but the Bears could afford it, and then some. He would improve a Bears defensive line that’s desperate for talent.
DeAndre Hopkins, WR
There have been multiple reports that the Cardinals could look to trade DeAndre Hopkins. The superstar receiver, who was traded to the Cardinals in 2020, is getting older and coming off injuries and a suspension. However, he still tallied over 1000 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns in his past 19 games. He also carries a huge cap number after signing a two year, 54,500,000 dollar contract in 2022. Again, the Bears do have a lot of cap space and could certainly afford him. The cost of a trade hasn’t been specified, but a day 2 or 3 pick is the most likely case. In the Bears case, they could offer a later pick, like a fourth or fifth rounder, while eating more of the salary. Hopkins would be a valuable addition to the team and would give Justin Fields his wide receiver one.
Shaq Leonard, LB
Leonard, who plays for the Indianapolis Colts, is an interesting player. He has been amazing for the Colts since being drafted in 2018. However, he only played in three games this past season. Along with his injuries, Colts LB Bobby Okereke has been playing very well. He had 151 tackles this season and 132 last season. Okereke is a free agent this season but would be much cheaper than Leonard, who signed a massive extension in 2021 for almost 100 million dollars over five years. With the emergence of Okereke, the Colts could look to save some money and add more draft capital. With Matt Eberflus having coached Leonard in Indy, the Bears might look into his availability.
Tee Higgins, WR
Another trade target, Higgins plays for the Cincinnati Bengals. He was in the same draft class as Darnell Mooney and Chase Claypool, and his contract runs out next season. However, with the Bengals gearing up for huge extensions for QB Joe Burrow and WR Ja’Marr Chase, they could look to get as much as possible for Higgins. The price might be a little higher but it would be worth it. Higgins has the size and playmaking ability the Bears are missing from their receiver core. It would be a huge upgrade at the WR position and would give Fields a true WR1.
David Baktihari, OL
Baktihari has been a great lineman for the Packers for many years. However, he has faced some injury problems recently and with Aaron Rodgers possibly leaving Green Bay, he might find himself leaving as well. Baktihari has only played 12 games in the past two seasons and hasn’t been his usual self. He also has a cap hit of over 30 million dollars this season, as well as a cap hit of 28 million dollars next season. The Packers may be forced to let him go, and the Bears could then swoop in and grab a quality starter for the offensive line.
Cooper Kupp/Jalen Ramsey, WR/CB
The Los Angles Rams severely disappointed the league this year. Coming off an incredible season from Matthew Stafford and a Super Bowl victory, the Rams were expected to make another run at the title. However, they went 5-12 and missed the playoffs. On top of that, they don’t have their own first-round pick, which the Lions own from the Stafford trade. There have been reports that they could look to move some of their players to get back the draft capital spent over the past few seasons. Kupp and Ramsey have come up in some of those reports and both are players the Bears could be interested in. Both would be expensive but they are still excellent players and would be instant difference makers on the Bears. These two are much more far-fetched than the other players, which is why they’re grouped together.
James Bradberry, CB
Bradberry has been excellent for the Eagles this year, racking up 44 tackles, three interceptions, and 17 pass breakups. He was released by the Giants last offseason and the Eagles signed him to a one year deal. He will be a free agent this season and while he might be expensive for an older player, the Bears could use him. He would round out the secondary and help the younger CBs like Johnson and Gordon shine. He will most likely stay with the Eagles after their incredible year, but the Bears would be wise to pick him up if given the opportunity.