Chicago Bears

3 positions the Bears could try to strengthen before training camp

The Chicago Bears kick off training camp on July 25, and while GM Ryan Poles was a very busy man this offseason, there’s still work to be done to upgrade several positions on the roster.

Indeed, Poles deserves a big round of applause for his efforts so far. He solved the Bears’ biggest problems on offense with the trade for wide receiver DJ Moore and the selection of right tackle Darnell Wright in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft. Adding Nate Davis in free agency to play right guard was a massive upgrade, too.

Poles didn’t just focus on the offense, either. The biggest free-agent contract was given to linebacker Tremaine Edmunds. In fact, the Chicago Bears added no fewer than three new starters on defense with Edmunds, linebacker TJ Edwards, and defensive end DeMarcus Walker. Defensive tackle Andrew Billings will get a bunch of reps too.

But the Bears were 3-14 in 2022. The roster wasn’t one busy offseason away from being completely rebuilt. There are still a handful of holes that could welcome upgrades before summer practices begin.

Here are the four most likely position groups that the Chicago Bears could add a veteran to.

Edge Rusher

Edge Rusher

You don’t need to be a diehard Chicago Bears fan to know the roster’s biggest weakness right now is edge rusher.

Walker is a good player, but he’s viewed more as an early-down run defender and an interior guy on passing downs. Dominique Robinson is young and raw. Trevis Gipson has been a “this is the year guy” for the last two seasons, and while I believe he still has untapped upside, a veteran with a proven record of success must be added to the pass rush.

Yannick Ngakoue is the name that most often comes up, and for good reason. He had 19.5 sacks over the last two seasons with the Colts, including 10 in 2021 when Matt Eberflus was the defensive coordinator.

Call it a hunch, but I think we’ll see some action with Ngakoue in a few weeks. He recently hired Drew Rosenhaus to handle his contract, so he’s getting serious about signing with a team soon. The Bears are the clubhouse favorite.



Jaylon Johnson is entering a contract year, and the Bears don’t seem interested in locking him into a lucrative second deal. It should result in a highly motivated season from Johnson, assuming he can stay healthy.

Kyler Gordon will assume the nickel/slot cornerback role in 2023 after struggling at times as a rookie last year. His ceiling remains incredibly high, and he should be more productive now that he’s assimilated to life in the NFL.

Second-round pick Tyrique Stevenson will join Johnson as the outside starter, and his length and athletic traits make him an exciting young defender.

But what happens if any of these guys get hurt? Are the Bears confident in Kindle Vildor or fifth-round pick Terrell Smith? Both appear destined for special teams, at best.

Unlike edge rusher, the Bears won’t make a splash signing at cornerback. But depth could be coming before practices kick off.

Running Back

Running Back

Before you get upset over running back appearing on this list of positions the Bears may try to upgrade before training camp, let’s take a 10,000-foot view of Chicago’s running back room.

Khalil Hebert is the presumed RB1. He was a rotational backup during his first two seasons, and while he has the traits to suggest he can be a legitimate starter in the NFL, he hasn’t done it yet.

D’Onta Foreman’s injury history is a long one. He’s probably the most talented pure runner on the Bears’ roster, but until he proves he can play a full season without getting hurt, he can’t be trusted to be (or become) the bell cow.

Rookie Roschon Johnson is the Bears-fan-favorite right now, but that tends to be the case anytime a team adds a skill player in the top four rounds. If Chicago had an established RB1, the excitement around Johnson would be much lower. He’s a powerful runner who punishes defenders, but he’s far from a lock to be an NFL starter.

If any of the Chicago Bears running backs get off to a slow start in training camp or suffer an injury, Poles could decide to go shopping for a discount veteran.

With players like Dalvin Cook, Kareem Hunt, Leonard Fournette, and Ezekiel Elliott on the open market, Chicago’s backs can’t get too comfortable.

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