Bears' Top Players to Avoid in 2022 NFL Free Agency

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IIFebruary 14, 2022

Bears' Top Players to Avoid in 2022 NFL Free Agency

0 of 3

    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    Entering the 2022 offseason, the Chicago Bears hope they have their franchise quarterback in place, with Justin Fields looking to build off his rookie campaign and lead the team to future success.

    In order for that to happen, though, the Bears need to keep improving the roster around the 22-year-old.

    Chicago is going through a period of change, as it has brought in a new general manager (Ryan Poles) and head coach (Matt Eberflus) this offseason. For Poles, it's time to get to work on making the necessary moves to make the team a perennial playoff contender.

    The Bears should have plenty of money to spend, as they're projected to have $28.65 million of available cap space, according to Over the Cap. Still, Chicago needs to use its financial flexibility in a smart manner, because the wrong moves could set the franchise back rather than push it forward.

    Heading into free agency, here's a look at several players the Bears should avoid targeting for their roster.

Antonio Brown, WR

1 of 3

    Adam Hunger/Associated Press

    If the Bears don't bring back Allen Robinson II, their receiving corps is going to be lacking star power. Darnell Mooney had a strong showing during the 2021 season, but Chicago will need to surround Fields with more playmakers in order for its offense to succeed.

    Because of that, the Bears may want to target wide receivers in both free agency and the 2022 NFL draft. But one receiver Chicago shouldn't consider adding this offseason is Antonio Brown.

    Even though the 33-year-old left the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the middle of their Week 17 game against the New York Jets and was subsequently released, he's a proven playmaker, so there could be teams that show interest in him this offseason.

    However, it would be a risk to sign Brown, considering how his time with Tampa Bay ended.

    That's a risk the Bears shouldn't take. There could be some other strong wide receivers on the free-agent market, and this year's draft class has plenty of talented playmakers. They are better options for Chicago than signing Brown.

Kyle Fuller, CB

2 of 3

    Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

    Kyle Fuller spent his first six NFL seasons with the Bears, which selected him in the first round of the 2014 NFL draft. Considering Chicago needs to improve its secondary this offseason, should it consider a reunion in free agency?

    It's probably not the best idea, considering he underperformed with the Denver Broncos in 2021. Even though he played all 16 games, it marked the first time in his career that he didn't record an interception in a season. And he started only 10 games because of a midseason benching.

    Even though it wasn't a great year for Fuller, who turns 30 on Wednesday, he could still garner interest on the free-agent market, as he was a solid player during his time in Chicago. But that doesn't mean the Bears should consider bringing him back for a second stint with the team.

    Chicago may be better off looking to add a cornerback during the draft or seeking out lower-cost options than Fuller in free agency. That could help its secondary have sustained success and anchor its defense moving forward.

Nate Solder, OT

3 of 3

    Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

    No team allowed more sacks during the 2021 season than the Bears, which gave up 58 over 17 games. So Chicago needs to do a better job of protecting Fields moving forward by strengthening its offensive line.

    The Bears need to get better at nearly every position up front, which means they could be looking to add versatile offensive linemen who could be used in multiple spots. That will give the team more depth, and it will allow it to construct the best possible O-line to build around.

    Even though Chicago needs to bring in offensive linemen, it shouldn't be looking to add Nate Solder. The tackle will be 34 when the 2022 season arrives, and he endured some struggles for the New York Giants in 2021, his third year with the team.

    Because the Colorado product has started 143 games over 10 seasons, he could be targeted by teams as a potential starting tackle for 2022.

    However, Chicago needs to use more of its resources on bolstering the interior of its offensive line, and signing Solder wouldn't be the best investment. So the Bears should pass on Solder and bring in numerous guards and centers via free agency and/or the draft.