Chicago Bears 2024 “Must Re-Sign” Free Agents

Chicago Bears 2024 “Must Re-Sign” Free Agents
Jaylon Johnson, Darnell Mooney, and Justin Jones

Now for the moment that I’ve all been waiting for. No, that’s not a type-o. I’ve been salivating to write about the Chicago Bears and their current situation through eight other teams now. The Bears finished the 2023-24 season as the ninth worst team (due to tiebreakers) with a record of 7-10, and SHOULD have their first draft pick selection at number nine. However, due to a cunning trade last year with the Carolina Panther (who proceeded to fumble their near future away by giving up their first round pick this year along with Wide Receiver DJ Moore, and THEN drafted the wrong quarterback in Bryce Young) the Bears are looking at the first overall pick again this year. I hope they learned something from last year!

If Chicago was smart, they would TRADE OUT of that number one spot (AGAIN) and avoid USC Quarterback Caleb Williams at all costs. Trade back and pick up another second round pick this year, another first round pick next year, and a bunch more; the Bears could start an amazing young dynasty. Analysts are in love with Caleb Williams and I’m not sure why. I see a kid who isn’t mentally mature or stable enough to compete in the NFL. He couldn’t play from behind, and he couldn’t beat good teams like Norte Dame (#21), Utah (#14), Washington (#5), or Oregon (#6). In fact, he beat NO ranked teams last year. THEN he comes out and says that he wants ownership options of whatever NFL team drafts him?! I wouldn’t draft him until the THIRD ROUND, and I’m calling him the BUST of the decade! Yes, a bigger bust than Zack Wilson and Trey Lance! We’re talking Ryan Leaf, JaMarcus Russell, Blake Bortles kind of bust.

So, what sure the Bears do? Keep current QB, Justin Fields and work with him for ONE MORE YEAR. Fields is still very cheap, being on his rookie contract, and then you can evaluate the fifth-year option. Get him a few more weapons; WR, DJ Moore was outstanding last year, and Tight End Cole Kmet is a young, Top 10 TE with a lot of upside, however, the Bears don’t have a solid WR2, and outside of Left Guard, Tevin Jenkins their offensive line is average AT BEST. They’ve already made a few moves this offseason including trading for OG Ryan Bates, but they can do more. They need a new Center, and I would look for another tackle and guard. If Fields doesn’t improve this year, Chicago should look for a veteran QB to take over; maybe Ryan Tannehill or Jacoby Brissett. Let’s take a downfield read to see who the Bears’ “Must Re-Sign” free agents are, and who they can do without.


I already mentioned the Bears acquiring Guard, Ryan Bates in a trade with the Buffalo Bills. This was a solid move, and comes after they released free agent offensive lineman, Cody Whitehair. Cody started 11 games for the Bears last year playing 74% of the snaps with only two penalties, but allowed three sacks. Whitehair was also expensive (making $10M), and will start next season at 31-years old, five years older than new addition, Ryan Bates. Centers Dan Feeney and Lucas Patrick are also free agents, and I would let them both go and put an emphasis on drafting a Center. Feeney just hasn’t been the same since he was with the Chargers, and while Patrick took 94% of the snaps at Center not allowing a sack, he was first in the NFL in penalties. Both are starting next season in their 30’s next season, and there’s no need to move forward with either of them unless you want to keep one as a backup only, in which case, I would go with Patrick.

As I stated before, Cole Kmet is their TE of the future, so there’s no urgency to bring back Robert Tonyan or Mercedes Lewis as anything other than a backup. Of the four Wide Receivers that are free agents, I would slap a “Must Re-Sign” on Darnell Mooney. Mooney’s 2023-24 production was the worst of his four-year career (31 receptions, 414 yards, and 1 TD), but he’s a sold WR3 that you desperately need (and can probably re-sign for cheap considering his last year’s performance). After all, you can’t just get rid of ALL your WRs, but I wouldn’t make it a point to re-sign Equanimeous St. Brown, Trent Taylor, or Joe Reed who combined for a handful of catches and maybe 75 yards. Running Back, D’Onta Foreman played admirably in nine games last year, racking up 109 carries for 425 yards (3.9ypc), but Khalil Herbert is your main back, which makes Foreman expendable.


On the defensive side of the ball, the Bears have already made two moves. The first transaction was releasing Free Safety, Eddie Jackson, who had injury issues in each of the last three seasons, and had only one interception last year. The other move was placing the non-exclusive franchise tag on Cornerback, Jaylon Johnson who played in 14 games last season and had four INTs (T7). Johnson had only one pick in his previous three years, and has also had injury issues, but he’s a top CB in the league, and he’ll be only 25 years old starting next season. Besides Pro-Bowler, Jaylon Johnson being one of my “Must Re-Sign” players for the Bears, Justin Jones also needs to be re-signed. Jones has played well in his last two seasons, playing roughly 75% of the defensive snaps. Last year he had a career high 4.5 sacks, and ten tackles for a loss. He will start the 2024 season at 28 years old, and should be re-signed for the next three or four years.

There is only one other name that you might consider on the Bears defense for a “Must Re-Sign”, and that’s Defensive End, Yannick Ngakoue. I like Ngakoue, but not for the $10M that they paid him last year. Yannick played in 13 games before he broke his ankle, and had 22 tackels and four sacks. If the Bears wanted to bring him back, I would think somewhere on a two-year deal worth $8M. D-End Rasheem Green, Linebacker Dylan Cole, and Cornerback Josh Blackwell didn’t play enough to warrant bringing them back for anything other than depth.

Special Teams and More

The only Bears special-teamer that’s hitting free agency is Long Snapper, Patrick Scales, who is going to be 36 years old starting next season. I think the Bears can start looking for a replacement here as well.

In the last four seasons, Chicago has finished 8-8, 6-11, 3-14, and then 7-10 last year. They have a REAL chance to get back to the playoffs next year and be competitive with division rivals Green Bay Packers and the Detroit Lions (sorry Vikings). They need to stay the course though; they don’t need a massive rebuild with a brand new rookie QB who is more likely to set them back. Head Coach Matt Eberflus’ job is on the line this year, and if they start slow, he’s gone. If I was him, I would be BEGGING to get out of that first pick spot in the draft. Get a WR (Marvin Harrison Jr, Rome Odunze, Malik Nabers) and an Offensive Tackle in the first round, and a Center in the second round, and accumulate more picks/players. This offense is only a few players away from being REALLY good WITH Fields. The defense is almost set with Montez Sweat, Tremaine Edmunds, T.J. Edwards, and Jaquan Brisker, who are all 28 years old or younger.

I’m telling you, this is going to be tragic if the Bears draft Caleb Williams. They don’t need Williams, and it’s going to cost them a lot of money, wasted time, and eventually great players if they go that route. Thanks for the “read” everyone!


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