Bears Emerge as Betting Favorites to Land Star Offensive Weapon

Bears Mixon Favorites

Getty The Bears have the best next-team odds to add a veteran weapon to the backfield behind quarterback Justin Fields.

The Chicago Bears could end up with one of the NFL’s better running back trios in 2023, with Khalil Herbert, D’Onta Foreman and rookie Roschon Johnson. Some oddsmakers, though, still like their chances of being able to add a game-changer to their backfield before the start of the season.

On June 5, Adam Thompson of “used his resources of NFL contacts developed over 20 years covering the league” to determine the hypothetical odds on which team is most likely to have Pro Bowl running back Joe Mixon in their employ for the upcoming season.

While the Cincinnati Bengals, Mixon’s current team, are still the overwhelming favorites (-150) to keep their 26-year-old running back, the Bears have the best next-team odds (+650) among the rest of the field, with a 13.3% implied probability of adding Mixon to their room before Week 1’s season opener against the Green Bay Packers.

“For multiple reasons, the Chicago Bears are part of nearly every player odds piece out there,” Thompson wrote. “They not only have more cap space than any other team, [but] they also have more needs than just about any other team, hence their “earning” of the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL draft. Mixon would be RB1 on a Chicago offense lacking weapons.”

Joe Mixon Expected to Remain With Bengals for 2023

Bears Mixon Favorites1

GettyThe Bengals could save about $10 million against the cap if they cut Joe Mixon in 2023.

Mixon is one of those running backs who, like Dalvin Cook of the Minnesota Vikings, should perk some ears if he ever reached a point of immediate uncertainty with his current team.

The 2017 second-round pick has rushed for more than 1,100 yards in three of his six pro seasons, with his career-best outing coming in 2021, when he racked up 1,205 yards and 13 touchdowns on 292 carries and earned his first Pro Bowl selection. He has also steadily elevated his game as a pass catcher out of the backfield, posting career-highs in receptions (60), receiving yards (441) and targets (75) during the Bengals’ 2022 run. No doubt, he would be a treasured lead back in several backfields around the league.

Nevertheless, speculation about Mixon’s future has persisted this offseason. He is scheduled to have the third-largest cap hit ($12.76 million) among all running backs, behind only Derrick Henry ($16.37 million) and Nick Chubb ($14.85 million). The Bengals could also create about $10 million in cap savings in 2023 if they decide to release him now that the June 1 deadline has passed.

Fortunately for Mixon, the Bengals seem to have no intention of letting him go. Even after using a fifth-round pick on Illinois star Chase Brown, Bengals head coach Zac Taylor told media after the final day of the 2023 NFL draft that Mixon’s “future is here with the team.” Mixon also recently dismissed the “noise” about his future in Cincy.

“You hear a lot of noise but when you don’t pay attention and you don’t hear it, none of that affects you,” Mixon said in an exclusive interview with All Bengals on June 7. “What matters most is [Bengals team president] Mike Brown. He always comes up to me at practice and he’s always happy to see me and that is the best feeling, it doesn’t get better than that.”

Don’t Expect Bears to Sign Another Running Back

Bears Mixon Favorites2

GettyBears rookie running back Roschon Johnson will contend for the starting job in 2023.

Purely for the sake of a hypothetical, let’s imagine the Bengals become disillusioned with Mixon in the next few months and release him before the start of the season. Would the Bears actually make a meaningful play to add him to their roster?

Nobody except for second-year Bears general manager Ryan Poles knows for certain, but the answer — based on his approach thus far — is likely a flat “no.”

There was a point in time when the Bears making a major splash at the running back position seemed feasible, prior to the start of the new league year. Montgomery was due to become an unrestricted free agent and Herbert was the last man standing in terms of rushers with meaningful experience. With a league-leading amount of cap space, the Bears could have aggressively pursued any option they wanted, including Saquon Barkley or Josh Jacobs if either had avoided the franchise tag.

Instead, Poles made a statement in the way he went about improving the room. He tried to keep Montgomery — although, how hard he tried is debatable — and pivoted to Foreman (914 rushing yards and five scores in 2022) as a power-back complement for Herbert when negotiations with Montgomery fell through. He also signed Travis Homer, a depth back with quality special teams experience, and used a fourth-round pick on Johnson, who shared a backfield with Bijan Robinson at Texas.

However the rotation shakes out, the Bears have a high-quality committee of backs on their roster who should be able to help them respectably follow up their NFL-leading rushing offense from the 2022 season. Even if there are backs with stronger individual resumes than any of Chicago’s rushers, it would create an unnecessarily crowded room if the Bears were to sign another starting candidate, such as Cook or Mixon.

Read More
Comment Here
Notify of
1 Comment
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Adam Roose
Adam Roose
3 months ago

I am so tired of people talking about the Bears signing big name players ESPECIALLY in the RB position. The Bears are not going to make any big moves barring an off-season injury. They already made their big WR acquisition with Moore, they already have loads of talent at RB, and I believe that the staff have enough faith in Robinson and Gipson to take the next step on the defensive edge that they are not going out of their way to do any major trades or spend a ton of money on a FA edge rusher.
The Bears have a pretty complete roster. From an outsider’s perspective there’s a ? at DE, but other than that their roster is quite solid.