There's no better time of year than the holidays. Family and friends come together for good food, good laughs and, of course, gifts. 

But what makes a good gift? 

Gift-giving is an inexact science. There's as much of a chance the gift you purchase will be returned as there is it will be appreciated, and the process would be made a whole lot easier if everyone had a wish list.

It would be great if the NFL offseason worked this way, too. End-of-year team needs are usually pretty obvious and it doesn't take a career general manager to identify a roster's biggest weaknesses. But filling those needs is as challenging as surprising your significant other with a present that checks all the boxes.

The Bears are no exception to this general theory and are heading into an offseason with holes to fill.

So let's take a shot at what the perfect offseason wish list would be for GM Ryan Pace.

1. Quarterback competition: Marcus Mariota (Titans)

The Bears can't come out of free agency without a veteran quarterback who's capable of challenging Mitch Trubisky for the starting job in training camp. Chicago should hold a legitimate quarterback competition this offseason and Mariota would be the perfect player to target.

Mariota, like Trubisky, was the second overall pick in his draft year (2015) and just never found his rhythm with the Titans. But his connection with Bears offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich (who coached Mariota at Oregon) makes him a natural fit. He needs a fresh start with a team that has a strong supporting cast, and that describes the Bears perfectly.

 

This isn't to say all hope is lost with Trubisky, but after 40 regular-season starts, there's more than enough evidence to conclude the Bears need a player like Mariota in order to safeguard against another disappointing season in 2020.

2. Help for Khalil Mack: Shaq Barrett (Buccaneers)

Barrett enters Week 17 second in the league with 16.5 sacks. He waited for the perfect season to breakout, as he's set to hit unrestricted free agency this offseason.

According to Spotrac, Barrett's anticipated market-value will be at or over $15 million per year, which certainly sounds too pricey for a Bears team that's up against the salary cap. But Chicago can free up some spending money if they choose to rescind the more than $13 million they're supposed to pay Leonard Floyd on his fifth-year option in 2020.

Barrett will cost a little more than Floyd's fifth-year price tag, but he'd also represent a much better (and more lethal) option to line up opposite Mack next fall.

3. The tight end this offense needs: Harrison Bryant (FAU)

The Bears can't afford to go back to free agency for a tight end after the failed Trey Burton experiment from 2018. Burton has 68 catches for 653 yards and six touchdowns in two injury-plagued years with the Bears.

Instead, Pace could use one of his two second-round picks in the 2020 NFL Draft on a pass-catcher at the position.

FAU's Harrison Bryant won the John Mackey Award as the nation's best tight end after finishing 2019 with 65 catches for 1,004 yards and seven touchdowns. He's in the mix to be the first tight end drafted in 2020 because of his playmaking skill set, and with no tight ends likely to receive a first-round grade, the Bears could have their pick of the litter when they're on the clock in Round 2.

4. Attitude in the interior: Brandon Scherff (Redskins)

Much has been made this season of the failures of Trubisky and the playcalling of coach Matt Nagy. But neither Trubisky or Nagy stands a chance to prove their value if the offensive line doesn't do its job. 

The biggest issue for the Bears' starting five has been along the interior, where Kyle Long (even when healthy) was no longer playing at a starter's level. His replacement, Rashaad Coward, is better served as a swingman reserve than a starter.

Enter Scherff, who despite dealing with injuries the last couple of seasons, would represent a massive upgrade for an offensive line that needs more toughness inside.

Scherff suffered a torn pec in 2018 and a combination of shoulder and elbow injuries limited him to just 11 games this year. As a result, his asking price may be lower than his talent level warrants. And if that's the case, the Bears can't pass on the opportunity to add him. 

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