Part of managing a full fictional Chicago Bears 2023 offseason is distinguishing between fantastic and realistic. It would be a dream for the Bears to land every big name free agent and their player of choice in the draft. The truth is that this rarely happens. It has to be about making smart moves while showing a willingness to play when the situation calls for it. GM Ryan Poles has already shown that he is not afraid to do so. That’s why its approach next spring will be fascinating to watch.
One thing that hasn’t changed is a dire need for help in the trenches. It doesn’t matter if the Bears focus on offense or defense. They can’t expect to win until they start controlling the line of scrimmage. So don’t be surprised when their vast salary cap space and highest draft picks go to both. This model was fun both because of its complexities and its realism.
This fictional Chicago Bears 2023 offseason is about calculated risks.
- Al-Quadin Muhammad – $4 million saved
- Jaylon Johnson – 4-year extension for $76 million
- David Montgomery – 3 year contract for 27 million dollars
- Cole Kmet – 4-year extension for $32.4 million
- Nicholas Morrow – 2-year contract for $10 million
- Armon Watts – one-year contract for $1.08 million
- Equanimeous St. Brown – one-year contract for $1.08 million
- N’Keal Harry – one-year contract for $1.08 million
- Trevon Wescan’tA one-year deal for $1.08 million
- Matthew Adams – one-year contract for $1.08 million
- Dane Cruikshank – one-year contract for $1.08 million
- DeAndre Houston-Carson – one-year contract for $1.165 million
- Patrick Scales – one year contract $1.165 million
- Josh Blackwell – ERFA deal for $750,000
It is fully recognized that Montgomery is not on the same level as a Saquon Barkley or Josh Jacobs. That said, he’s a good player, and the dressing room loves him. He and Khalil Herbert form a solid tandem. Keeping it is not too expensive. The other new thing here is Kmet. His game over the past few months has improved dramatically. It’s clear that he and Justin Fields have a strong bond. So the smart thing to do is lock it in at a lower price than it could be if it continues to rise next year.
RT Jack Conklin – 3 year contract for 45 million dollars
No, he’s not a superstar. Yes, he’s better than Larry Borom and Riley Reiff. Right now, this fictional Bears 2023 offseason can’t work assuming Alex Leatherwood is the right tackler. He played 10 snaps. However, they can operate on the idea that he is a quality backup that they can continue to work with. Conklin may be a bit older. Still, he’s a quality player under 30 who fills one of Chicago’s biggest offensive holes. It’s an immediate upgrade over everything they have.
EDGE Yannick Ngakoue – 3 year contract for 45 million dollars
Don’t think about it too much. This Bears team needs one thing and one thing only. He’s someone who can get to quarterback. Nitpick Ngakoeu whatever you want. He’s proven time and time again that he can get fired. He has 64 in his career and is still only 27 years old. The big question is whether Eberflus can look past its size. At 6’2, 245 pounds, he’s not your traditional defensive frame. It can’t matter here. His value is too great for the Bears’ defensive needs.
CB Sean Murphy-Bunting – 3-year contract for $21 million
Jamel Dean will get the most attention from the Buccaneers’ free agent corners. Naturally. Still, Murphy-Bunting has looked like a quality player when healthy. He missed eight games last year and four this year. Health is therefore a question mark. He brings the size, physicality and versatility the Bears want in their cornerbacks. He doesn’t have to be THE guy. It just has to be better than Kindle Vildor, which it is.
DT Andrew Billings – 3-year contract for $18 million
Probably not the defensive tackle that signing fans wanted. However, he’s the one the Bears need. Their run defense has been a problem in 2022, and it starts up front. Billings isn’t a special inside passer, but he’s become one of the best inside defensemen in the league. He’s a big reason the Raiders went from 19th against the run last year to 10th this year. His presence will help.
Trade: Bears trade pick #2 to Lions for pick #4 and pick #15
Round 1 (via DET) – Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia
Detroit moves to get their quarterback of the future while Chicago secures the extra 1st-round pick they want. All while staying in the top 5. This allows the Poles to get their desperately needed defensive line help. Many consider Carter a special talent. His mix of speed, quickness and power is rare for defensive tackles. His ability to master inside blockers and split double teams can be impressive at times. The Bears’ defensive scheme is tailor-made for someone of his ability. It’s such a natural fit.
Trade: Bears trade pick No. 15 to Giants for pick No. 23 and two 3rd-round picks
Round 1 (via NYG) – Jordan Addison, WR, USC
If Addison were an inch taller and 20 pounds heavier, he would be a top 10 pick. The USC stud is an exciting player with his cat quickness, good speed and accuracy on the roads. He might not overpower too many guys, but that’s hardly necessary for today’s game. The Bears desperately need more reliable targets for Fields. Addison is his type of player, someone a quarterback can trust to be in the right place at the right time. A trio of him, Darnell Mooney and Chase Claypool should be fun.
Round 2 – Isaiah Foskey, EDGE, Notre Dame
There is something to be said for consistency. Foskey may not have the same exciting streak as other prospects in this class, but that doesn’t change a simple fact. Foskey backs his game with numbers. In two seasons as a starter, the defensive end has 20.5 sacks and 23 tackles for a loss. He’s athletic with above-average curvature and explosiveness, solid length, and plays hard with every snap. He could use some extra horsepower, but the basics are there for a good NFL starter.
Round 3 – Riley Moss, BC, Iowa
Two things this Bears diet covets are athleticism and productivity. They desire takeaways in this defense. Moss has 11 interceptions and three defensive touchdowns during his career at Iowa. His instinct and ball qualities are undeniable. He plays the game with physicality, both when covering receivers and tackling running backs. Its long speed is not special, so it slides a bit on the board.
Round 3 (via NYG) – Joe Tippmann, C, Wisconsin
The problem with guys like Sam Mustipher and Lucas Patrick is what toughness and intelligence they may have, they lack real talent. That won’t be a problem for Tippmann. Not only is he 6’6 and weighs over 300 pounds, but he’s also a monster athlete. The guy moves very well in space, showing his ability to shoot and reach the second level. Playing for Wisconsin also means he doesn’t lack a bad upside in his game. His issues are technical, from poor pad level to slow recognition of stunts or blitzes.
Round 3 (via NYG) – Jack Campbell, LB, Iowa
This fictional Bears 2023 offseason reflects a global reality. Eberflus will target players with lengths. He wants guys with long arms at every level. It increases the probability of deflecting passes and makes tackling easier. So someone like the 6’5 Campbell will be an obvious target. The guy moves surprisingly well for his size, with 255 tackles over his past two seasons. He also has four interceptions over that same span.
Round 4 – Sean Tucker, RB, Syracuse
When the identity of your offense is running the ball, it makes sense to invest in running backs whenever possible. Montgomery’s return shouldn’t change that. Tucker is a well rounded back. He’s a strong runner with good vision and enough acceleration to crush defenses. His receiving ability is also reliable, with 56 catches in two seasons. Pass protection could be a problem on a professional level, however.
Round 4 (via PHI) – Jay Ward, S, LSU
Eddie Jackson’s injury should force the Bears to add some safety depth. Ward has similar traits with speed, athleticism, and reach. His six interceptions in three years show a nose for football. He also has experience as a cornerback player, so man-to-man coverage is no stranger to him. The biggest problem for him will be gaining weight. Entering the NFL at 180 pounds is not recommended.
Round 5 – Ryan Hayes, OT, Michigan
Size, length, viciousness and mobility. These are the four traits the Poles and Eberflus covet in their offensive lineman. Hayes owns them all to one degree or another. His 6’7 frame and good power base are the reason Michigan’s rushing offense is so successful. His length and movement abilities also help him function in pass protection. His footwork is going to need some work if he wants to start.
Round 5 (via BAL) – Tucker Kraft, TE, South Dakota State
Kmet emerging in 2022 is a good thing. That doesn’t mean the Bears should stop looking for more tight end options. Kraft is 6’5 with plenty of speed to hit the road of tailoring and decent hands to pull off the toughest holds. Its production this year is not like in 2021 due to various circumstances. Still, he’s put enough on tape to make it seem like he has significant potential on a professional level.
Round 7 – Brenton Cox Jr., EDGE, Florida
His college career was by no means bad. It’s just been… ups and downs. After notching eight sacks a year ago, Cox has only managed two this year. The good news is that both have come in the last three games. Finding where it is is the challenge. Is he a defensive end or an outside linebacker? That’s why he could be strictly a designated passer in Chicago until he proves he can handle it on first downs.