The NBA’s drama-heavy free agent period has dominated the minds of many this summer, and that gives me enough reason to pause and think about what’ll happen eight months from now when the NFL’s open season takes center stage.
And I’m not alone in this. Bleacher Report’s Brent Sobleski recently took a way-too-early look at the league’s 2019 crop of free agents and there are some notable standouts for the Bears. To be sure, next year’s free agent class isn’t really front-and-center for us right now, but if Mitch Trubisky can discuss something that might not come for another six years, we can dabble into what might happen next March. So let’s do it.
Starting with … Bobby Massie is a free agent at the end of this season and Chicago could be in the market for a new player at the position. Sobleski’s top five tackles include a pair of right tackles in Daryl Williams (Carolina Panthers) and Rob Havenstein (Los Angeles Rams), who could be theoretical fits. Beefing up the offensive line was one of the things that helped the Rams and Eagles lead their quarterbacks to new heights during their second seasons, and right tackle is the one position where the Bears don’t currently have someone locked into a multi-year deal. Plus, because rookie tackles are hard to rely on early in their careers (it has to do with how they tend to develop in college), signing a free agent seems like a mindful idea. So to that end, I’m glad to see some quality options.
But if you were hoping for help in the pass-rushing department, free agency might not be the place to look. It’s not that the position group lacks talent, but it will likely be without the biggest difference-makers. High-end defenders such as like Khalil Mack, Demarcus Lawrence, Jadeveon Clowney, and Ezekiel Ansah will likely be slapped with the franchise tag. That would leave secondary targets including Cameron Wake and Dante Fowler Jr. as the best remaining options, should the Bears’ current experiments fail to pan out.
But there’s more to be excited about, because once again, it appears to be another great offseason for wide receivers. This free agent class features Odell Beckham Jr., Brandin Cooks, Stefon Diggs, and Golden Tate at the top, as well as secondary options such as Martavis Bryant, Kelvin Benjamin, and Devin Funchess. Although, if the Bears are in the market to spend big on a receiver when the 2019 league year begins, that means something might’ve gone terribly wrong in 2018. But who knows, maybe they’ll just want to add as much talent as possible.
Because of the waves of youth on the Bears’ roster, there aren’t too many free agents they’ll be in danger of losing. Even though there haven’t been any updates regarding possible extensions for Eddie Goldman or Adrian Amos, it’s difficult to imagine the idea that retaining both (or either) has fallen off the Bears’ radar. Here’s hoping the front office has something in the works, as it did last year with both Charles Leno Jr. and Akiem Hicks.