We’re a week into free agency, and the Bears are almost out of money. Well, sort of. There’s always money in the banana stand.
As of Monday morning, the Bears have a little under $2 million in remaining cap space, per Spotrac (this doesn’t yet include contracts for safety Deon Bush, cornerback Artie Burns and linebacker Barkevious Mingo). However, General Manager Ryan Pace can free up more dollars by restructuring the contracts of Akiem Hicks, Khalil Mack, Kyle Fuller and/or Eddie Goldman.
The downside to that approach is that the bill will be due for those guys in the future. But that may be a problem for a another day. Pace’s former team, the New Orleans Saints, has been kicking their proverbial cap can down the road for years now.
All of that sets up this list of second and third-wave free agents the Bears might be interested in over the next week or so. We’re going to stick to offense because the Bears look done adding anything more than depth pieces (like Burns and Mingo and Jordan Lucas) on defense.
Guard Josh Kline
Kline was cut by the cap-crunched Vikings last week and is the best run blocking guard still available, per Pro Football Focus. That’s not saying a lot, though. Kline’s run blocking grade in 2019 was slightly lower than Rashaad Coward’s, the guy he’d compete against if he were to land in Chicago. Kline is 30 and would bring some much-needed experience to a battle at right guard that might still include a draft pick.
Guard Michael Person
He’s similar to Kline, a veteran who would bring experience to a battle with greenhorns like Coward and Alex Bars. He played all but one snap of the San Fransisco 49ers’ playoff run earlier this year and, like Kline, won’t count against the 2021 compensatory pick formula because he was cut. A decent case here is for Person or Kline to be 2020’s starting right guard, with Coward being a valuable reserve who can play both guard and tackle.
Running back Corey Clement
Snap to Clement, toss to Burton, pass to Foles… The Bears could re-create the Philly Special! Clement was a valuable reserve for Doug Pederson’s Philadelphia Eagles in 2017-18, and the Bears should add another running back for depth behind David Montgomery and Tarik Cohen. But as cool as the thought of re-uniting the Philly Special guys in Chicago is, Clement is coming off of a season-ending shoulder injury. Because the Bears can’t get their medical staff to check him out due to the NFL’s COVID-19 travel restrictions, this is probably just a fun thought.
Running back Carlos Hyde
Man, it’s tough out there for running backs. Hyde had the first 1,000-yard season of his career last year with the Texans and, a week into free agency, still hasn’t signed anywhere. If he’s willing to take a cheap, one-year deal, pairing him with David Montgomery would make a lot of sense. Hyde hasn’t been used as a receiver much in the last few years, but he did catch 59 passes in 2017.
Wide receiver Robby Anderson
It’s been a brutal year for free agent wide receivers thanks to the deep, talented draft class about to hit in April. Anderson has been a victim of that market. His 14.98 yards per reception over the last three years rank 15th among wide receivers with at least 100 catches. That kind of explosiveness has been lacking in the Bears’ offense. Anderson is the most expensive guy on this list, but if his price keeps dropping, he’s worth considering as an upgrade in this offense.