Matt Eberflus took the reins in Chicago after a 4-year stint as defensive coordinator in Indianapolis and it wasn’t without struggle. His defense was last in the league in points allowed but most of that was trying to rectify the tire fire that was left behind with Matt Nagy. The Bears have just over 90 million in cap space to work with a quarterback on his rookie deal, so maybe the Bears can make some noise in 2023.
2022 Record: 3-14
GM: Ryan Poles
HC: Matt Eberflus
OC: Luke Getsy
DC: Alan Williams
Offense: 23rd Scoring
Justin Fields 60.4%, 2242 17-11, 160-1143-8
David Montgomery 201-801-5
Cole Kmet 50-544-7
Defense: 32nd Scoring
Nicholas Morrow 116 Tak, 11 TFL
Eddie Jackson 4 Int
Justin Jones 12 TFL
Notable Free Agents:
Pos, Name, Age, Contract Status, 2022 Snap Count
WR - Byron Pringle (30), UFA, 27.6%
LB - Nicholas Morrow (28), UFA, 99.8%
RB - David Montgomery (26), UFA, 60.8%
(8) Projected Cost of Rookie Picks in 2023: $14m
Round 1 #1
Round 2 #53
Round 3 #64
Round 4 #103
Round 4 #133
Round 5 #137
Round 5 #150
Round 7 #220
As of this article, the Bears have the most salary cap in the league (93m) and currently have 50 players under contract. They can swing for the fences in free agency and still have enough to cover their draft class (14m) if they choose to. 29-year-old Eddie Jackson is the biggest cap hit for the Bears as he will cost just north of 17m for 2023 and the Bears can walk away from him next season if they choose to in 2024 with a cap savings of 12.5m and a dead cap hit of 5.58m. With all the funds to work with AND the number 1 overall pick, the real question is, what players will want to come to Chicago?
Of the most notable names for the Bears to re-sign, the two that stand out are running back David Montgomery and linebacker Nicholas Morrow. Morrow played 99.8 of the defensive snaps for the Bears in 2022 and is an unrestricted free agent at the age of 28.
Montgomery, who saw a drop in his carries for the 2022 season (which was due to the new offensive scheme) could be on a new team. The Bears would be wise to retain Montgomery because his workload hasn’t been one to cause concern, but with a new regime, there might be new blood in the backfield.
With 8 picks to work with and the Bears in full rebuild mode, they can go anywhere in free agency. The Bears upgraded their WR room when they acquired Chase Claypool for a 2nd-round pick during the 2022 season (but they received a 2nd-round pick by trading Roquan Smith to Baltimore). With Smith inking a 5-year 100m deal with the Ravens, the Bears let it be known that they want to go in a different direction for their defense.
Will Anderson (Alabama) could be the direction the Bears are headed. Also, depending on their faith in Fields, the Bears could have the most coveted pick in the draft, trade back, and get more picks to fill their roster and have some carry over for the 2024 season.