W hen speaking to the media at the NFL scouting combine on March 1, Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Poles dropped some significant hints about how the team will be spending its dollars in free agency.
The Bears have a need at wide receiver that few other teams in the league can match. Other than Darnell Mooney and Dazz Newsome, Chicago has no receivers under contract for the 2022 season. Isaiah Coulter and Nsimba Webster have inked reserve/future deals, but that’s it.
The Bears also have significant need for offensive linemen. It’s a position Poles has already singled out as problematic, and after Chicago led the league in sacks last season with 58, change is surely coming. Based on his comments at the scouting combine in addition to a recent report by a top Bears insider, it’s looking like the team is set to spend some big money on either wideout, offensive line, or both.
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Poles Hints Team Will Snag Reliable, Go-To Receiver
With quarterback Justin Fields entering his second season, it’s more crucial than ever to provide him with pass catchers he trusts. While Fields developed a good rapport with Mooney last season, Poles suggested the team was eyeing reliable, go-to wideouts who could be security blankets of sorts for the young QB.
“It’s just finding players that fit our scheme that allow us to be balanced,” Poles said on March 1 when asked how he planned to help Fields. “I think that’s important. And then, just the playmaker piece, guys that can make plays. I think a lot of the really good quarterbacks, especially the young ones, when things go crazy — who can they go to that they trust and is dependable and can make plays? We’re trying to keep an eye on them as well.”
The Bears have just under $26 million in cap space, per Spotrac, but that could change quickly, and it sounds like the team will be scouring free agency for a dependable wide receiver for Fields.
“It’s the dependability piece,” Poles added. “Sometimes it can be a slot receiver, sometimes it can be a second tight end, it can be a big outside [receiver]. There’s just a relationship piece that they can go to that they trust, they work with all offseason, they get that connection.”
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Bears Insider: ‘Potentially Major Deals’ Likely on the Table
Top Bears insider Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune revealed in his March 1 column that some big moves could be made by Poles and company in the coming months.
“It stands to reason Poles could take a big swing or two when the new league year opens March 16,” Biggs wrote. “In order to give second-year quarterback Justin Fields the best chance possible, they’ve got to make a bold move — probably two — and that isn’t going to happen two weeks into free agency when it’s nothing but a buyer’s market.”
Biggs then noted that the Bears, who have a measly five picks in the upcoming draft (and none in the first round), aren’t going to get Fields the protection or weapons he needs without making some significant deals in free agency.
“There are at least enough clues out there to indicate the Bears will have to consider some potentially major deals,” Biggs added. “They’re not going to overhaul the offensive line, which Poles has talked about, with just a Day 2 draft pick. With the exception of Darnell Mooney, the wide receiver room is barren. There’s a lot of heavy lifting to be done with just these two positions.”
There sure is, but it sounds as though Poles is ready to do it.