As the halfway point of the season is upon us, it’s time to start thinking about how the Bears’ roster is going to look next season. The Bears will be going into the offseason with around 130 million in cap space and eight draft picks. While this previous offseason wasn’t used to put weapons around Fields, it can be expected that getting Justin Fields more help will be the main priority as the coaching staff and the front office has shown to trust Fields more every week.
This part will be short but just in case anyone needs to hear it: don’t get it twisted, Justin Fields is still and will continue to be the guy for the Bears and will be QB1 again next year. He is also the best option for the Bears as he has taken a step above the rest of the 2021 QB draft class over the last pair of games. His dual-threat ability is exactly what any team is looking for in the modern NFL and Fields has been using that ability to its greatest extent.
Khalil Herbert and Treston Ebner are obvious returns for next season as they will be on the third and second years of their rookie contracts. Herbert has been phenomenal as David Montgomery’s backup this season and has even looked like the better back in recent weeks as he seems to break a run for 50+ yards every game. With David Montgomery being set to get a new contract this offseason, it is not in the Bears’ best interest to bring him back. Monty has been fantastic for the Bears as the workhorse who does the dirty work but giving running backs big money is very risky in the NFL as they tend to have the shortest lifespan of any other position. And with Montgomery projected to get a contract of around 13 million dollars per season, the Bears should look into drafting another workhorse. The best value that the Bears can get with a late-round draft pick will be Chase Brown out of Illinois. Brown leads the country in rushing yards this season and averages 5 yards per carry on 28 carries per game. He will be the perfect replacement for Monty and can save salary space with his late round rookie deal.
The wide receiver situation became a lot more interesting yesterday as the Bears made a trade for Steelers wide receiver Chase Claypool. With Claypool being a big and physical receiver he will be a great addition to the Bears receiving core and could be a great wide receiver three next season.
Darnell Mooney has been consistent and reliable for the Bears since his rookie season and will be with the Bears again next season as the WR2.
At WR1, the Bears should absolutely look no further than Jordan Addison out of USC. Addison has over 2100 receiving yards and 24 touchdowns over his last 2 seasons (21 games). He’s a fast deep threat with phenomenal route-running abilities and has strong hands. There aren’t a lot of negative things to say about Addison, the only real critiques of him are that he relies on the ball getting to his pads rather than reaching out for it on deep balls but that is something that can easily be corrected. Addison is a guy who has the tools in order to produce a historic rookie season as the NFL saw with Justin Jefferson and Jamaar Chase. Addison is projected to go as the WR1 in the 2023 draft and be drafted early in the 1st round between picks 6 and 10.
The Bears will most likely be picking between the 5 and 7 picks which is a prime spot to finally snag a first-round receiver for the first time since 1951. To round out the receiving core, N’Keal Harry and Velus Jones will be valuable depth/utility guys in the future. Harry is another big physical receiver and at his worst is a very good run blocker. Velus Jones has struggled fielding punts but he’s proven to be great with the ball in his hand and could be a guy the Bears get the ball to for easy yards.
Cole Kmet has been a bit disappointing this season and has fallen short of many fans’ breakout year expectations. However, he has shown improvement and could still be a useful piece for the Bears. The jury is still out on whether he’s worth keeping as the TE1 next season, but for now, the dream scenario for the Bears TE1 in 2023 is Mike Gesicki.
Gesicki has been a borderline top-10 TE for three seasons now and with his role on the Dolphins being reduced, he could be looking for a new home next season. He would be a definite improvement over Kmet and could be Fields’ best friend. He is projected to get a contract at about 13.5 million dollars but with the little spending the Bears have used on skill position players in this dream scenario, it would be well worth it to bring in a legit TE1.
This is the position group that has drawn the most concern from fans and the media. It is expected that the majority of the Bears’ spending this offseason will go into the offensive line. The first order of business is to get Sam Mustipher as far from Chicago as possible. Mustipher can confidently be placed as the worst player in the NFL and the Bears should replace him immediately.
With centers like Mitch Morse, Conner McGovern, and Rodney Hudson currently set to be free agents, there’s no reason for Ryan Poles to not sign one of them. Morse or McGovern would fill in tremendously and fix the problem the Bears have had at the center position in recent years. The Bears should also look into signing a tackle to replace one of their current starting tackles, most likely Larry Borom. Isaiah Wynn and Mike McGlinchy are two young tackles that are set to become free agents this offseason. Having either one of them would be a massive win and will most likely cost about 16 million dollars per season. At guard, Teven Jenkins and Cody Whitehair could both continue to start. They have been the two best lineman for the Bears, granted they play the easiest offensive line positions but there is still no reason to replace either one of them. It will be nice to see Ryan Poles go out and get a day two lineman and another day three lineman. This draft’s tackle class is deep and features about 15 solid prospects at the positions. Getting any one of the day 2 tackles would be a great pickup. Most of the interior offensive lineman depth will be found in the later rounds and will be a nice piece for depth.
Khalil Herbert, Treston Ebner, and Chase Brown
Jordan Addison, Darnell Mooney, Chase Claypool, Velus Jones, and N’Keal Harry
Mike Gesicki and Cole Kmet
Mike McGlinchy, Cody Whitehair, Mitch Morse, Teven Jenkins, Braxton Jones, and Larry Borom, a day 2 tackle, and a day 3 interior lineman for depth.