Let’s face it, when Ryan Poles took over for Ryan Pace back in February, he inherited a dumpster fire. The Bears were flush with cap space, but about 60% of last year’s roster needed to be turned over. He was also saddled with the second-most amount of dead cap money in the league, $56,993,341. Only the Falcons were in a worse financial position. That Poles could even fill his roster is nothing short of a miracle. Here are the Bears’ 10 best offseason player additions of 2022.
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) May 7, 2022
- Kyler Gordon – It’s hard to believe Gordon was still available when the Bears Poles made his first draft selection at No. 39. He’s a natural cover corner who possesses great speed, quick feet, and elite agility. He does a great job of preventing receivers from gaining separation. Gordon shows nice recovery skills and enough twitchy athleticism to break on the ball and drive down hard on wide receivers.
- Jaquan Brisker – Most analysts expected Poles to take a receiver with his second pick. George Pickens was available, and several publications projected the Bears to choose the Georgia wide receiver. Alec Pierce and Tyquan Thornton were also available, but the rookie GM chose Brisker instead. The Penn State safety graded higher and filled a need. The additions of Gordon and Brisker give Chicago one of the best, young secondaries in the NFC North.
- Velus Jones Jr. – Poles finally got the burner Justin Fields needed when he selected Jones at No. 71 overall. The 25-year-old rookie gets knocked by the data crowd because of his age, but Fields identified Jones as a potential draft target. Jones’s elite speed and athleticism immediately changed the entire face of the Bears’ wide receiver corps.
- Lucas Patrick -The Bears’ new center “found himself biting his tongue on the sideline” last season hoping the Packers could contain Fields. Now that he’s switched allegiances, his sole purpose is to ensure the second-year quarterback has adequate time and space to practice his craft. Patrick is arguably Chicago’s best free-agent signing of the offseason.
- Nicholas Morrow – The linebacker plays with a high motor and hits like a truck, which is a good thing because he’s basically replacing Khalil Mack. Pairing the speedy morrow with the equally fast Roquan Smith should give opposing offensive coordinators nightmares. Morrow will be calling the plays on defense despite being the new guy. Smith will line up on the weak side and Morrow will man the middle, so that makes sense. The Bears have about $22 million in cap space after officially cutting Tarik Cohen and Danny Trevathan, so don’t rule out another EDGE addition.
- Byron Pringle – The former Chiefs wide receiver wasn’t brought in to be a No. 1, but with the notion that he would bump Darnell Mooney up instead. Offensive Luke Getsy has a plan for his talented and speedy wide receiver crew, and we’re all excited in anticipation to see what that is. Pringle can line up on either side of the football, can shed defenders with his moves and/or strength, and does a great job of breaking tackles.
- Justin Jones – There was little fanfare when the Bears signed the Chargers DT because he was an immediate replacement for Larry Ogunjobi, the injured lineman who was the team’s biggest splash in free agency. After Poles voided Ogunjobi’s contract, he immediately signed Jones, a good run-stopper who’s coming off a season in which he registered a career-high three sacks. Head coach Matt Eberflus has a strong track record of turning little-known defensive tackles into All-Pros, and Jones should benefit this season.
- Al-Quadin Muhammad – Eberflus previously worked with the defensive end while both were with the Colts, and that’s all well in good, but Muhammad will probably be a situational pass rusher playing in a rotation with Trevis Gipson and rookie Dominique Robinson. He was a safe signing who brings leadership skills and familiarity with the new defense to Chicago.
- Equanimeous St. Brown – The ex-Packer could be one of the better under-the-radar signings of the offseason, and when all is said and done he may very well take a big leap up this list. Getsy has big plans for him, and his combination of size, length, and speed was certainly enticing to the team’s new OC. St. Brown is versatile enough to play the X or Z positions, and he could be a tough match for defensive coordinators. Let’s see how quickly he and Fields develop chemistry. If they do, the 6-foot-5 wideout might quickly become a fan favorite.
- Elijah Hicks/Trenton Gill – The two rookies make the list as a duo because Poles traded the sixth-round pick next year he received in the Mack trade to add the safety and punter. That means the total haul for the six-time Pro Bowl linebacker is Brisker, Hicks, and Gill along with a whole lot of cap space next season. Gill is already listed as Chicago’s starting punter, and Hicks could help on special teams this year.