Bears Dubbed Among Top 5 Most Overrated NFL Teams in 2024

Caleb Williams, Bears

Getty Head coach Matt Eberflus and quarterback Caleb Williams of the Chicago Bears.

The Chicago Bears have been the center of a significant deal of hype this offseason, and for good reason, but some around the NFL are already beginning to pump the brakes on expectations.

Among them is David Kenyon of Bleacher Report, who dubbed the Bears the 3rd most-overrated team in the NFL coming into the 2024 campaign based on their NFC Title odds of +1400, which represent the seventh-highest mark in the conference. Kenyon’s argument circled around Chicago’s strength of schedule, particularly within the conference, as well as the expectations arriving a season too soon.

Chicago dealt Justin Fields to clear the path for rookie quarterback Caleb Williams, brought in veteran wideout Keenan Allen and drafted Rome Odunze. The offense, with no hesitation, is better on paper. Combine that with the defense’s encouraging finish to the 2023 campaign, and the rising expectations are rationale.

The problem is Chicago must navigate a division with the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers. Taking on the NFC West likely won’t help the Bears in wild-card tiebreakers, and last year’s defensive surge coincided with playing four of the NFL’s worst offenses. Chicago is trending the right direction, but bracing for a fourth straight year outside of the postseason would be wise.

Bears Need to Add Talent at Left Tackle, Edge Rusher

Braxton Jones Bears News Doug Kramer

GettyLeft tackle Braxton Jones of the Chicago Bears. 

Another argument one can make against the Bears rising from a 7-10 record last season to a playoff team relying heavily on young players in prominent positions is that Chicago still has two premium spots of considerable need on the roster — edge rusher opposite Montez Sweat and left tackle, currently occupied by Braxton Jones.

The latter is of less concern, as Jones was an above average performer at the position last year relative to the NFL at large. Pro Football Focus (PFF) ranked Jones as the 35th-best player at the tackle position out of 81 who qualified based on snap counts in 2023. He allowed 2 sacks and incurred 9 penalties across 421 pass-block snaps played.

A fifth-round pick in 2022, Jones has improved while learning on the job, starting 28 of 28 games since joining the league. He missed six contests last season due to injury.

That said, the question of whether Jones is a long-term answer worthy of a lucrative extension two years from now remains a legitimate one. The Bears hedged against the answer being a ‘no’ when they selected Kiran Amegadjie out of Yale with the No. 75 overall pick in the third round of this year’s draft.

If Amegadjie, a developmental project to be sure, proves out and/or Jones continues to improve, Chicago might be fine at the position. However, the team’s choice to pass on a high-end talent on Williams’ blindside with the No. 9 pick in favor of Odunze is one that will be examined closely in the years to come — particularly if the Bears struggle on the left side of the line.

Bears Currently Have No Clear Answer to Pass-Rushing Deficiency on Roster

Giants called NFL free agency landing spot for Bears' Yannick Ngakoue.

GettyDefensive end Yannick Ngakoue, formerly of the Chicago Bears. 

Chicago could also badly use another pure pass rusher alongside Sweat, who led the team with 6 sacks in 2023 despite playing just half the season in the Windy City.

Austin Booker, who the Bears traded a fourth-round pick in 2025 for the right to move back into the draft and select in this year’s fifth round, may end up that guy — but it’s highly unlikely that happens this year.

DeMarcus Walker is the team’s second starting defensive end, and a full-time player who can kick inside on obvious pass-rushing downs. The question is who on the roster joins alongside him to blow up the edge of opposing offensive lines in third-and-long scenarios?

The unfortunate reality is that there is no clear answer to that question right now, though the Bears will likely address the position with a short-term bridge solution of sorts at some point this summer. The obvious choice is to bring back Yannick Ngakoue, who played last season in Chicago on a one-year deal worth $10.5 million.

Ngakoue produced a career-low 4 sacks and missed four games due to injury, but he has spent a year in the Bears defense already and played for head coach Matt Eberflus when he was the defensive coordinator of the Indianapolis Colts in 2022.

Read More