4 free agents the Chicago Bears should pursue if not franchise taggedTodd Welteron March 7, 2022 at 2:00 pm

The Chicago Bears need to make significant upgrades to the roster if they hope to own the NFC North.

Armed with only five draft picks and no first-round pick in this year’s NFL Draft, new Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Poles will have to use free agency as one way to upgrade the team.

The Chicago Bears’ biggest needs are at wide receiver, offensive line, and the secondary.

The Bears have just two players under contract who suited up in a game at wide receiver in Darnell Mooney and Dazz Newsome.

Eddie Jackson is the only safety currently under contract.

The offensive line needs an upgrade. Plus, Poles wants his lineman to be leaner, faster, and stronger.

The Chicago Bears also could use another tight end. The switch to the 4-3 base defense means defensive tackle and linebacker needs to be addressed.

Really, the Chicago Bears are only set at running back and pass rusher. That need could change depending on if Poles decides to trade Khalil Mack, Robert Quinn, or David Montgomery to get more draft picks.

The Chicago Bears have some salary-cap space to sign some impactful free agents.

There are four free agents the Chicago Bears should jump at the chance to sign if they are not franchise-tagged.

1

J.C. Jackson

Cornerback,New England Patriots

It seemed like Jackson was destined to be tagged. Now, it appears the New England Patriots will let Jackson test the market.

From NFL Now: #Patriots CB JC Jackson is expected to hit the free agent market, rather than receive the franchise tag. One of the top CBs will generate significant interest. pic.twitter.com/i3PE7GGGNE

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 4, 2022

He is the sixth-best free agent available according to Pro Football Focus. He would be a perfect for new head coach Matt Eberflus’ turnover focused defense. Jackson had eight picks last season.

Imagine him being paired with Jaylon Johnson at corner. That would dramatically improve a secondary that struggled mightily last season.

Although, Jackskon will not come cheap.

JC Jackson info
– Tag unlikely, which is to JC’s benefit.
– If it’s not Jalen Ramsey money, don’t want to talk.
– Leaking tag intel gives teams a chance to say we don’t want to compete in FA for him, maybe tag and trade if compensation agreed to.
– Still likes Pats but $$ matters

— Mike Giardi (@MikeGiardi) March 5, 2022

2

Orlando Brown, Jr

OT,Kansas City Chiefs

Poles has connections to Brown since Poles came to the Chicago Bears from Kansas City.

Pro Football Focus has New Orleans Terron Armstead ranked higher than Brown. Brown is five years younger and more durable.

Brown on the Chicago Bears would allow either Teven Jenkins or Larry Borom to move inside to replace James Daniels who is most likely departing the Bears in free agency.

Brown being available seems highly unlikely as the Chiefs appear likely to tag him.

3

Mike Williams

Wide Receiver,Los Angeles Chargers

Mike Williams had a monster year for the LA Chargers. Allen Robinson is most likely departing via free agency. Williams would be a perfect replacement as a big wide receiver target for Justin Fields.

He also is an explosive playmaker with great size and leaping ability. He can get banged up but he has not missed a ton of games in his career.

The Chargers do appear likely to place the franchise tag on Williams. If they decide against it, the Bears need to snag him.

4

David Njoku

Tight End,Cleveland Browns

The Chicago Bears are going to need another tight end to pair up with Cole Kmet. Njoku brings great athleticism and has improved as a blocker.

While his pure production numbers do not match up with say Travis Kelce, he has that ability to be just as good.

Getting him on the Bears roster would be like, for example, when Chicago brought in Martellus Barnett. He could be that big target in the middle of the field for Fields.

The Browns are considering tagging him based on how much they value the tight end position.

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