The Chicago Bears are determined to bounce back from an 8-8 campaign last year that saw them fail to qualify for the playoffs. Luckily for GM Ryan Pace, we’re knee deep into the free agency cycle, and the Bears still have enough money — $9.76 million, to be exact — to complete what has been a polarizing offseason.
Despite most of the big names being off the board, there are a number of players available on the open market that could contribute for Chicago from Day 1, starting with this trio.
3. OG Josh Kline
Former Minnesota Vikings OL Josh Kline | Al Bello/Getty Images
In an effort to salvage cap space, the Minnesota Vikings surprisingly cut Josh Kline, who played 72% of available offensive snaps in 2019. As far as available run blockers are concerned, he might be the best of the bunch. The 30-year-old would bring some needed experience to the Windy City, and he’d have an outstanding chance at supplanting Rashaad Coward, who’s appeared in just 13 games since entering the league in 2017, as the starter at right guard.
2. RB Carlos Hyde
Free agent RB Carlos Hyde | Will Vragovic/Getty Images
David Montgomery has a lot of upside, but the inconsistency — he logged 3.7 yards per carry as a rookie — from the 2019 third-round pick indicates that he’s not quite ready to be a workhorse running back at the pro level. Whether that’s due to facing stacked boxes because of Mitchell Trubisky’s struggles under center is a discussion for another day; outside of Tarik Cohen, who’s primarily utilized as a pass-catcher, the Bears don’t have any insurance behind Montgomery. That’s exactly why signing Carlos Hyde, who registered his first career 1,000-yard season with Houston last season, would be a smart move. If Chicago really wants to ground-and-pound, a one-two punch of Montgomery and Hyde could wear out opposing defenses.
1. OG Larry Warford
Former New Orleans Saints offensive lineman Larry Warford | Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images
Regardless of need on the offensive line, most of the NFL’s 32 teams ought to be angling to sign Larry Warford following his surprise release from the New Orleans Saints. The timing of the transaction suggests that the 28-year-old, despite being named to the Pro Bowl for three consecutive seasons, should be available at a steal of a price, all told. Chicago is desperate for depth up front, and there is no better player available than Warford. For the sake of Bears fans, we seriously hope the latest rumors aren’t true.