We look at the spending habits for Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Poles in his first offseason
Despite the general excitement around the Bears heading into Justin Field’s second season as Chicago’s starting quarterback, there is still a bit of concern regarding the roster construction and the front office’s execution this past offseason. Clearly, it appears that the Bears are preparing for a rebuild of sorts, indicated by the trading away of Khalil Mack and the complete restructure of the coaching staff, but it is hard to see the major pieces of this new era, if they are even in fact on the roster currently.
The Bears are dead last in offensive cap allocation, with a little over $55 million going to that side of the ball. For reference, the two highest paying offenses, the Lions and the Commanders, are both allocating slightly over $120 million. So maybe there isn’t a causal relationship between spending and success (most people would be surprised if Detroit and Washington had the top two offenses next season), but still, there are seven NFL teams spending twice as much on offense as the Bears will in 2022.
Naturally, with a lack of offensive spending, it makes sense for this cap to be allocated to the defensive side of the ball. Take, for example, the Steelers, who despite spending only $60 million on offense, are spending over $120 million on defense, putting Pittsburgh solely in first place for that statistic. However, the Bears are only spending about $88 million on defense next season, which puts them in the middle of the pack in defensive cap allocation at 14th. Still, about half of that total is divided solely between Robert Quinn, Eddie Jackson, and Roquan Smith.
Considering Coach Eberflus’s defensive background, the franchise-type defensive players listed above, and the recent investment in the secondary during the draft, the path for the defense to improve and compete looks obvious, as young players simply need development under the new regime. Yet offensively, the 2022 season looks potentially nonconstructive as there are not a lot of high-capital resources around Fields.
Offensively, Cody Whitehair is the only player who will be paid more than Fields, as many players are either still on their rookie contract or have signed relatively small contracts with the team in free agency. Besides David Montgomery, who annually gains over 1,000 total yards, and the recently signed Byron Pringle, any other offensive player is taking up less than $3 million in cap room.
Hopefully, this roster construction will allow Fields to grow and develop alongside fellow players on rookie deals such as Darnell Mooney, Velus Jones Jr, Cole Kmet, and Teven Jenkins, while Coach Eberflus can continue to bolster the defense as he sees fit. However, there may come a point in time where Fields simply needs to be surrounded by more highly paid assets in order to take the proper next step in Chicago.
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