NFL free agency is one week in the books. The Chicago Bears have been one of the busiest teams on the open market over the first seven days, signing nine players, several of whom will likely begin the 2023 season as starters.
General manager Ryan Poles has made cost-effective signings, ranging from linebacker TJ Edwards to guard Nate Davis and running back D’Onta Foreman. Linebacker Tremaine Edmunds was the most expensive contract he doled out (four years, $72 million), but the investment in the former first-round pick makes sense. He’s only 24 years old, is a perfect fit for coach Matt Eberflus’ defense, and brings the high-character Poles wants as the Chicago Bears rebuild a winning culture.
But the Bears still have a lot of work left to do. There are needs on the offensive and defensive lines, at edge rusher, and the offense could always use more skill players, even after the DJ Moore trade.
Fortunately for Poles, he still has a lot of money left to spend — if he wants to. Chicago has the most salary cap space in the NFL (by a wide margin) entering free agency’s second week.
Chicago Bears’ approach to free agency is a breath of fresh air
The Chicago Bears are applying a refreshing approach to free agency this year. They’ve added legitimately good players to fill immediate holes but will use the 2023 NFL draft to construct a roster that can sustain success. They aren’t spending money just to spend it; they’re being calculated and maintaining flexibility.
Rather than overpay for a veteran offensive tackle who’ll be in the back half of their prime by the time they’re ready to compete for a championship, the Bears will target a foundational starter in the NFL Draft, likely at No. 9 overall. A player like Paris Johnson Jr. (Ohio State) or Peter Skoronski (Northwestern) is much more appealing in the Chicago Bears’ rebuild than Mike McGlinchey.
This philosophy won’t change, even if the Bears remain active over the next week or so. They’ll continue to sign good players who can help this team win games in 2023 while staying the course in building a club that will be focused on young draft-acquired talent to achieve sustained success.