It's safe to say that the Chicago Bears went through some ups and downs in 2021. The team finished below the .500 mark for the first time since 2017 and looked stagnant on offense. Making sure young quarterback Justin Fields can improve in his second year as the starter has to be a top priority.
One way the front office can guide him in the right direction is by upgrading the players around him. The Bears are projected to have over $26.5 million in available cap space and have a deep free agent class sitting right in front of them. New GM Ryan Poles has a shot to make an immediate impact.
Here's a look at three free agents that the Bears need to sign to build around Fields on offense.
Bears Free Agent Targets
1. Chris Godwin, WR
Signing wide receiver Allen Robinson to a massive deal back in 2018 may have ended on a sour note, but it proved that the Bears are willing to pay up for their top target. Chicago is in need of a WR1 once again and could use a similar strategy to bring Pro Bowler Chris Godwin to the windy city. Godwin has tallied at least 1,000 receiving yards in two of his last three seasons and averages an impressive 13.6 yards per reception in his career. He could act as Field's go-to threat through the air and allow fellow WR Darnell Mooney to see less intense coverage. Seems like a win for everyone involved.
2. Ryan Jensen, OL
Another former Tampa Bay Buccaneer entering the free agent market that should interest the Bears is center Ryan Jensen. The veteran lineman made his first Pro Bowl in 2021 and gave up just 2 sacks on over 1,150 snaps played. Meanwhile, Chicago struggled to stop anyone from getting into the backfield and allowed a league-high 58 sacks on the year. Keeping Fields upright and healthy will be vital in his development moving forward. Jensen has the experience (8 seasons) to mentor young players on the roster and has played in every game over the last five seasons. The Bears should do whatever it takes to sign Jansen.
3. Evan Engram, TE
While starting tight end Cole Kmet finished with 612 receiving yards in 2021, the Bears are set to lose both Jimmy Graham and Jesse James to free agency. That leaves a gaping hole at a position Chicago likely does not want to pour a ton of money into. Evan Engram would be an affordable target and could take over the No. 2 TE role rather easily. The former New York Giant has logged 2,828 receiving yards across five NFL seasons and reached the end zone 16 times. His route-running skills are already top-notch and the coaching staff can work with him to refine his blocking capabilities. Engram could end up being a steal at the right price.
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Larry Rupp is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Larry Rupp also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username phillyfan424. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.