The Chicago Bears have a dilemma on their hands, but consider it a bit of an “embarrassment of riches” dilemma. With the overall no. 1 pick in this upcoming NFL Draft and a viable trade asset in quarterback Justin Fields, the team is in line to bring in a haul of talent. Financially, they are also well set and come into this offseason with a good amount of spendable income for free agent acquisitions to round out the roster.
In a perfect Bears world, the team enters next season with a high-end quarterback– either top QB blue-chipper Caleb Williams or an improving Fields– while finding a way to beef up the team’s offense with either a combo of Mr. Everything wide receiver prospect Marvin Harrison Jr. and a top offensive lineman via the draft or a deep dive into the free agent market.
Actually, regardless of what they get done in the draft, general manager Ryan Poles and the Chicago front office will likely grab at some quality free agents.
So, with that in mind, here’s a look at who the Chicago Bears’ top offensive free agent targets should be.
WR Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Whether the Bears keep Justin Fields or move on to Caleb Williams, pass-catching assets will be a must, so expect wide receivers to profile high on the team’s shopping list. Evans is a five-time Pro-Bowler and has showcased consistency and durability, never missing more than three games in a season and grabbing 1,000+ receiving yards in each of his ten NFL campaigns. He will be 31 by the start of the season, but his large physical frame (6’5’’, 230+ lbs.) and general approach almost guarantee a long run at the elite level.
C Connor Williams, Miami Dolphins
Nothing happens on offense without a good offensive line holding firm and opening up opportunities for both running and passing plays. Center has proven to be an urgent need for Chicago and Pro Football Focus’ top-rated center in 2023, Williams, could be an invaluable addition to the team. A torn ACL in Week 14 of last season could impact his desirability, but if healing goes according to expectations, Williams could be field-ready by the start of training camp in late July.
G Robert Hunt, Miami Dolphins
A former tackle who has shifted successfully to right guard, Hunt showcases a high degree of mobility for a 6-foot-6, 322 lb. lineman and would become quite the run-aiding asset on a Bears team where quarterback scrambles and an efficient running game will feature prominently in the offensive scheme.
WR Tee Higgins, Cincinnati Bengals
If Higgins becomes a free agent, many would consider him the best wide receiver talent to hit the open market in a long while. Injuries hampered his production last season, but when the 6-foot-4 talent is playing at 100%, he’s a multi-faceted ball-catching asset with elite-level chops. The question with Higgins is whether the Bengals will actually let him go.
WR Michael Pittman Jr., Indianapolis Colts
Pittman Jr. is near the top of the list of desirable free agents for a reason. The 26-year-old is coming off his best year as a pro with 109 catches and 1,152 yards. Considered a reliable possession receiver, he could add some depth to the Chicago Bears receiving corps.
C Andre James, Las Vegas Raiders
Added to the Bears’ list of potential centers, James is somewhat of an under-the-radar choice. However, if consistency, versatility, and durability are desirable traits for the team (and they are), James could be Chicago’s man. James, who is considered to have leadership qualities, has played in almost all of the Raiders’ offensive snaps for the last three years and has been consistently effective.
WR Gabe Davis, Buffalo Bills
Davis has a reputation for running hot and cold, but his big play potential makes him a desirable free agent target to a team looking for a high-impact player with big play, game-breaking potential. With Chicago likely parting ways with Darnell Mooney, Davis could be a serviceable replacement.
C Lloyd Cushenberry III, Denver Broncos
Cushenberry is coming off a career year and, at 26, may be just hitting his absolute prime. The durable Bronco has proven himself to be one of the better pass-blockers in the league and has made big strides in upping his game as a run blocker. This past season, one where he played in all 17 games, he allowed only one sack and 13 pressures.