With a franchise quarterback in place, excellent defensive continuity in place, a new coaching staff taking over, and plenty of cap space to work with, it’s not at all a stretch to presume the Bears will be major players when free agency opens up on March 12 with the legal tampering period.
The Bears will have the pieces to have a competitive team in 2018, if properly supplemented with impactful free agent signings.
To that end, NFL.com has popped out its early top 25 free agent rankings, with a number of the biggest names at the top – Jimmy Garoppolo, Kirk Cousins, Drew Brees, Le’Veon Bell – most of whom figure to be locked up or franchised before actually reaching free agency. That’s cool, though, since they wouldn’t be Bears targets anyway.
But what about the guys the Bears might want to go after? Guys like Cowboys DE Demarcus Lawrence (No. 5), Jaguars WR Allen Robinson (No. 6), Dolphins WR Jarvis Landry (No. 10), or Rams Safety/Corner hybrid Lamarcus Joyner (No. 12)? Yeah, those guys – among many others – are going to look mighty enticing … if they actually reach free agency. We’ll once again see a rash of extensions and franchise tags used, and the free agent pool will necessarily be whittled down considerably by the time we actually get to mid-March.
Still, I can’t help but like seeing that the free agent class right now looks to be strong in areas of need for the Bears (except perhaps on the offensive line), and you can check out the early list here at NFL.com. Together with Robinson and Landry, Sammy Watkins gives the list three wide receivers in the top 11. Marqise Lee (Jaguars), Jordan Matthews (Bills), Terrelle Pryor (Redskins), and Mike Wallace (Ravens) are four more wide receivers who just missed the list.