Last week, I wrote a ‘mock free agency’ that named four players I believed would join the Chicago Bears soon after free agency began.
With the first wave of free agency effectively over, let’s look back at my predictions and see what I got right (or wrong).
The darling defensive tackle of this year’s free agency, I thought this was a no-brainer for GM Ryan Poles. The defense needs a dominant, young three-tech like Jones. To the shock (and disgust) of many Bears fans, Jones joined the Seattle Seahawks on a three-year, $51 million deal.
Teams never tell us much about failed negotiations with free agents, so we’ll never know exactly how far talks with Jones got or whether there was mutual interest. Still, this one felt like a missed opportunity, given the state of the Bears’ defensive line. I felt an overpay here, even a large one, would have been appropriate, but Poles thought otherwise.
I’ll call this one a mistake, which I’ve been critical of on Twitter.
Let’s make one thing clear: the free agent market for offensive tackles this year was not good. Orlando Brown Jr. headlined the class, and even his best days feel slightly above average. McGlinchey was much the same.
I saw him as an upgrade from what the Chicago Bears have (an admittedly low bar to clear) and thought he could be a good fit for Luke Getsy’s offense and the culture. But once the contract details became known, I understood why Poles backed out. McGlinchey signed an astronomical five-year, $87.5 million contract with the Denver Broncos.
I like McGlinchey. I wanted him in Chicago. But that is a monstrous overpay, in my opinion. I’m okay with missing out on McGlinchey and the other top tackles, too.
Finally, one I got right!
Yes, I was amped up for this signing because I’d wanted it for several weeks now. Only 24 years old and with a body type and play style that has drawn Brian Urlacher comparisons, Edmunds feels like the perfect fit for Matt Eberflus’ defense.
There was some awkwardness when the contract details leaked: four years for $72 million, a deal rather close to what former Bears linebacker Roquan Smith wanted. Many on social media wondered why Ryan Poles didn’t just pay Smith.
Here’s why: by trading Smith, the Bears got extra second-round and fifth-round picks. They then signed Edmunds and former Eagles linebacker TJ Edwards for roughly $24 million annually. So for just $4 million more than Smith makes in Baltimore (and that’s not even getting into the weeds of guaranteed money or bonuses), the Chicago Bears will field Edmunds, Edwards, and Jack Sanborn.
This was a slam-dunk signing.
As of this writing, Ngakoue is still a free agent, much to my surprise. I still believe he’d be a good fit in Chicago. He provides steady sack production, though his run defense leaves a bit to be desired. Still, I think he’d raise the pass-rush floor and would be a decent candidate for a one-year deal.