The Chicago Bears are just weeks away from kicking off the most important free agency period in recent franchise history. With more than $100 million in cap space to spend this offseason, and as one of two teams that has to spend money to reach the salary cap floor, you can expect GM Ryan Poles to open the checkbook for several big-ticket free agents.
But who will clear the biggest payday?
Atlanta Falcons right tackle Kaleb McGary is a good candidate to be Chicago’s biggest bank buster in 2023. The 2019 first-round pick had his fifth-year option declined by the Falcons before the 2022 season, and he responded by having one of the best seasons of his young career.
McGary finished the year with an 86.6 overall grade from Pro Football Focus, including an elite 91.6 grade as a run blocker. His pass protection wasn’t as great (66.9), but he remains an ascending talent who some consider to be the best young right tackle in the league.
McGary just turned 28 this month and is a great candidate for a four-year deal. According to Spotrac, McGary’s next contract should pay him north of $17.7 million per season. I think that’s a conservative estimate. McGary is a strong candidate to eclipse $20 million per year in an offseason with several teams searching for an upgrade at offensive tackle.
The Falcons have until March 7 to use the franchise tag on McGary, which remains a strong possibility. But if he hits the open market, he’ll be one of the most sought-after free agents in the league.
No team can compete with the Chicago Bears’ spending power, which makes McGary to the Bears very realistic and a move that would shore up one of the offense’s biggest weaknesses.