Bears’ unexpected free-agency debut leads to tough questions, few answers

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Schrock: Bears’ off-script FA start leads to tough questions originally appeared nbc sports chicago

Due to months of waiting and talking about cap space, Bears general manager Ryan Poles should have had the world on his toes on Monday. The offseason passed between the Bears.

But after losing Mike McGlinchey, Javon Hargrave, Dray’mont Jones, and Jawan Taylor, the Bears left the first day of the NFL’s legal negotiating period with a revamped linebacking corps and a lot of work to do.

The Poles started the day by agreeing to a three-year contract with tackling machine TJ Edwards. Edwards wore the green dot as MIKE linebacker for the Philadelphia Eagles and would come home to do the same for the Bears.

The economical deal was a great start to the day for Edwards.

But the Bears saw McGlinchey, with whom they had been heavily involved in discussions, agree to a massive five-year deal with the Denver Broncos. Shortly after that, Hargrave decided to leave for the San Francisco 49ers, and Taylor got the money to switch sides and play left tackle for the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs.

Gaping holes remained at tackle, three-technique and edge rusher.

The Poles went back into the pool, this time signing linebacker Tremaine Edmonds to a four-year, $72 million deal. In Edmonds, the Bears find a 24-year-old lanky, athletic linebacker attacks downfield and can cover in space. But while Edmonds has the traits head coach Matt Eberflus looks for in an off-ball linebacker, he doesn’t have the production to live up to the contract he’s been given.

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for the bears, it was a Bet it all clicked in the end For Edmonds last season, and it wasn’t a case of a contract-year bump, he would reach his ceiling in Chicago.

The Bears were cut from the middle of the field in 2022. With Edwards and Edmonds in the second tier, this should not happen in 2023.

The Poles then added right guard Nate Davis, agreeing to a three-year, $30 million deal with the 26-year-old. Davis is a good zone run blocker and has increased his pass protection in 2022. But he’s only played right guard in his career, that leaves the question About Taven Jenkins’ future in Chicago.

Still, it seemed the Bears were bound to put up big attacks and address their greatest weakness: the defensive line.

Jones was the perfect candidate. The former Broncos had interest from the Bears and Browns but ultimately agreed to a three-year deal worth $51 million with the Seattle Seahawks. It was a modest contract that the Bears, desperately needed to find a way to apply pressure, had no not giving it to Jones. It was the strange smell of the man with the money bags.

Poles high reverse join Defensive end DeMarcus Walker. The 28-year-old has back-to-back seasons of 30 pressures and should replace Al-Quaidin Muhammad at left end.

The Bears added talent on the first day.

At the NFL Scouting Combine, Pols acknowledged that finding value on the first day of free agency is challenging. You have to have your number, stick to it, and let the value fall on you. That’s almost certainly why they couldn’t meet McGlinchey’s asking price and why they saw Hargrave’s head in the Bay Area.

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Being disciplined is important. Bears have to spend smartly, yes. But at a certain point, a 3-14 team with holes across the board and $75 million in cap space has to splash out in key areas. Edmonds is loaded with talent, but the Poles handed a massive contract to a player whose production hasn’t matched the numbers.

Connected: Schrock’s Mock Draft 4.0: Where do the Bears go after the Panthers trade?

Meanwhile, the Bears still need at least one tackle — Orlando Brown? – A speed rusher, and a three-technique.

poles hit a home run on friday when he took part in a trade to the Carolina Panthers that saw the Bears add three draft picks and wide receiver DJ Moore for the No. 1 overall pick. He had a chance to follow it up with a flurry on Monday and supercharge the Bears’ momentum heading into the draft.

The off season finally arrived on Monday. Poles fixed the hole at linebacker with Quikrete, signing the two linebackers anew after years of career contracts. Edwards and Edmonds are expected to bolster the Bears’ second level of fearsome defense. Only time will tell.

Even if they did, Bear failed to fill in the two regions that devastated his team, like a supermassive black hole tearing apart a star that strayed too close.

Trench is still a big problem for bears. patience is a virtue. The Poles are exercising discipline. According to Over the Cap, the Bears still have $50 million in cap space before Walker is signed. There’s a lot to work with, but the effects options are dwindling. What do the Poles do if the deal they want doesn’t materialize? Is she strong? Or blink to add one of the few interoperability makers left on the market?

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The Bears still have the draft, and the Poles have added a star receiver, two athletic linebackers and a starting guard in three days. It’s a good reminder of the modest amount of talent the Bears are dealing with in 2022.

It seems to underscore just how much work the Bears have left to do.

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