Biggest Positions of Need for the Bears Entering 2022 NFL OffseasonJanuary 26, 2022
Biggest Positions of Need for the Bears Entering 2022 NFL Offseason
The Chicago Bears have all sorts of roster issues to deal with as the franchise enters a new era.
Chicago hired Ryan Poles from the Kansas City Chiefs to be the team's new general manager Tuesday. Poles' first task is hiring a new head coach.
Poles and the new head coach need to work together to surround Justin Fields with as many offensive weapons as possible for his second NFL season.
The Bears enter the offseason with a single wide receiver under contract for the 2022 campaign. Darnell Mooney will be a vital piece for the team's success moving forward, but there needs to be additions around him.
Chicago also needs to protect Fields with better offensive linemen. The previous regime tried to help Fields with the draft selection of Teven Jenkins, but his rookie season did not pan out as expected.
Improving the offense should be the Bears' primary focus, but they also need to spruce up certain areas of defense to become a more complete team.
The new Chicago front office has a steep hill to climb at wide receiver.
Darnell Mooney is the only key contributor at the position under contract for the 2022 NFL season.
Allen Robinson II will be one of the most coveted free agents this offseason, and no one would blame him if he moves on from Chicago to join a winning franchise.
The Bears do not have the option of improving the position through the first round of the 2022 NFL draft because their selection belongs to the New York Giants. So an elite wide receiver for Justin Fields to work with will likely come to the team through free agency.
The Bears might be forced to swing for the fences and chase Davante Adams, Chris Godwin or Mike Williams on the free-agent market. It may be hard to pry Adams and Godwin from their situations with NFC title contenders, while Williams could be intrigued to re-join Justin Herbert in the Los Angeles Chargers offense.
Chicago's new front office personnel must try to make a home run signing at wide receiver to try to shift the balance of power in the NFC North. The Minnesota Vikings have a clear No. 1 wideout in Justin Jefferson, the Detroit Lions should improve in Dan Campbell's second season and the Green Bay Packers will remain the divisional favorite as long as Aaron Rodgers is still there.
The Bears must provide Fields with a top target and some depth pieces around Mooney in order to compete in the NFC North next season.
Chicago failed with its offensive line additions last offseason.
Jason Peters did not work out at left tackle, and second-round draft pick Teven Jenkins dealt with injury issues.
The Bears have to hope Jenkins is healthier in 2022 as they try to improve the protection for their franchise quarterback.
Cody Whitehair and Jenkins are the notable players returning for the 2022 season, which means the Bears must do work in the free-agent market and in the draft to improve the position. Chicago could re-sign James Daniels, but it still needs more skill up front to keep the second-year quarterback upright.
The Bears could go for Ryan Jensen, Terron Armstead or any of the other offensive line free agents. That approach could allow the Bears to focus on other positions in the second and third rounds of the draft and then add depth on the final day of the event.
Chicago should sign at least one of the top free-agent offensive linemen in order to make Fields feel as comfortable as he can under his new head coach.
The Bears need to build up their depth in the defensive backfield.
Chicago does not have a barren roster at the position, as Eddie Jackson, Tashaun Gipson and Jaylon Johnson will be back for 2022. But the Bears need to fill in the depth chart beneath those players at cornerback and safety to make sure they have the best possible secondary to deal with the passing attacks in the NFC North.
The team is in a decent spot with its pass rush and interior with Khalil Mack, Robert Quinn and Roquan Smith. It would be ideal for the franchise to add more playmakers behind them.
The presence of the returning players may allow Ryan Poles and Co. to go after some second-tier free agents who may not cost as much as the premier wide receivers or offensive linemen.
Steven Nelson, Donte Jackson and Charvarius Ward are among the corners who could be targeted, while Marcus Maye and Quandre Diggs headline the safety market.
Chicago may be forced to win games with its defense in 2022 as Fields adjusts to a new offensive system. If that is the case, the Bears must feel confident with the personnel at any layer of the defense before the offense hits full stride.