Super Bowl watch guide for Bears free agent targets


Super Bowl Sunday, the most exciting day on the NFL calendar. It’s simultaneously a day for champions to be crowned, and a day for friends and family to get together for parties filled with food, drink and fun. For hardcore Bears fans already looking ahead to next fall, there’s even more to watch.

The Bears are projected to have the most cap space in the NFL this offseason by a large margin. It will be enough purchasing power for Ryan Poles to continue his overhaul of the Bears roster in earnest. Considering the team finished the season on a 10-game losing streak to land on a 3-14 record, they’ll need it. Practically every position on the depth chart will need to be addressed too, so if you’re playing Fantasy GM at home, feel free to dream up marquee signings anywhere on the field. If you’re looking to scout any of the potential signees, here’s a watch guide for the Super Bowl.



The Bears need to entirely retool their defensive line, and they’ve offered hints that they’d like to do it from the inside-out. If they don’t land Daron Payne, who’s arguably the top DT set to hit the market, Hargrave would be another great option even though Hargrave is several years older. He’s been an absolute force for the Eagles, and seems to get better with age. Hargrave is coming off a career year with 11 sacks, 10 TFLs, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries. He had a great 2021 campaign as well, and earned Pro Bowl honors that year. Hargrave may be more of a nose tackle than three-tech, and three-tech is the more coveted position in Eberflus’ defense, but that shouldn’t matter. Hargrave would bring a big boost to the line.



Darius Slay earns all the spotlight in the Eagles secondary, but Bradberry more than holds his own on the opposite side of the field. He allowed a paltry 45.3% completion percentage when targeted this year, and only gave up two touchdowns on the year. For his efforts, Bradberry was named an All-Pro Second-Teamer. Most importantly though, Bradberry has been a ballhawk for his entire career. Dating back to 2016, he has 18 interceptions. If Poles signs Bradberry, the Bears would feel pretty good about Jaylon Johnson and Bradberry locking down the boundaries and Kyler Gordon sticking in the slot.


If the Bears decide they like Kyler Gordon more as an outside corner than a nickel corner, then they could look into signing C.J. Gardner-Johnson. Bears fans may remember Gardner-Johnson as the trash talker who coaxed both Anthony Miller and Javon Wims into throwing punches at him in 2020. This year, however, Gardner-Johnson cemented himself as one of the best defensive backs in the league, who can play both safety and slot corner. CJGJ tied for the NFL lead in 2022 with six interceptions.


By all accounts, the Bears want to re-sign David Montgomery and Montgomery wants to re-sign with the Bears. But that was the story with Roquan Smith last season, and the two sides were never able to find common ground. If the same happens with Montgomery, and the Bears don’t want to shell out to bring in Saquon Barkley, then Miles Sanders could be an option. Sanders broke out for 1,269 rushing yards and 11 rushing touchdowns in 2022 after some ho-hum statistical seasons in his first three seasons. But the lack of big numbers from 2019-2021 is mainly due to his lack of carries, not his lack of ability. Sanders only averaged 160 carries a year over that time, so he hasn’t accumulated too much wear and tear on his body, despite carrying the ball 259 times in 2022.



If the Chiefs let Orlando Brown Jr. hit the market, you can bet Ryan Poles will try to bring him to Chicago. Brown Jr. has been one of the most reliable tackles in the NFL over the duration of his career and hasn’t missed a start since he earned a starting job in Week 7 of 2018, his rookie season. He’s been a Pro Bowler every year since 2019 and would instantly solidify the Bears line. Further, if the Bears sign Brown Jr. they’d be able to move Braxton Jones to right tackle where he may be able to take an even bigger step in his development.


If the Bears don’t make a trade for a bonafide No. 1 wide receiver this offseason, Ryan Poles he’s comfortable fielding a group of talented, if not elite, pass catcher. In that case, Smith-Schuster is a player who could enter the mix. Smith-Schuster has never been able to replicate the production he had when Antonio Brown was lined up opposite him, but he still added value to the Chiefs as a reliable target this year. His 78 catches for 933 yards in 2022 aren’t eye-popping numbers, but they would’ve led all Bears pass catchers by a wide margin. Cole Kmet was the man who topped the Bears leaderboard in both categories this year, and he finished with 50 catches for 544 yards.


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