The Chicago Bears couldn’t make a big leap at wide receiver this offseason. It wasn’t a huge surprise. General manager Ryan Poles inherited a team with a limited salary cap and no 1st-round picks. He didn’t want to sacrifice even more future capital trying to snag a big name in the market when the listing had so many other holes to fill. So the Bears opted for quantity over quality, adding several new faces like Byron Pringle, N’Keal Harry, Equanimeous St. Brown and Velus Jones.
If one or two of them became solid targets for Justin Fields, that would be a huge boon. Still, most expect the Bears to be active in the receiver market next spring. They will be in a much better position to do so. The Poles have carefully managed their payroll where they should have over $90 million of salary cap space, more than enough to hit the biggest targets. Unfortunately, this possibility may already be dead thanks to a series of recent expansion announcements.
Seahawks’ WR DK Metcalf signs a three-year, $72 million extension, with $58.2 million guaranteed, per source. The deal includes a $30 million signing bonus, the highest ever for a WR. Metcalf will be a free agent again at age 27.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 28, 2022
49ers are giving Deebo Samuel a three-year, $71.55 million extension, with $58.1 million guaranteed, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 31, 2022
The #Steels and WR Diontae Johnson have agreed to a two-year, $36.71 million extension, the source said. Teams worked last night and this morning to end his lockdown with a shorter deal than we’ve seen from others that allows him to be a free agent again after the 2024 season.
—Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) August 4, 2022
The Chicago Bears may need to find help in the draft.
Samuel, Metcalf and Johnson were all considered the best free agent receivers of 2023. All are now locked in with their original teams on new deals. That leaves the pool dangerously shallow for teams looking for positional help. A quick look at the remaining possible names includes the following:
- Mecole Hardman
- Darius Slayton
- Jacob Meyer
- Allen Lazard
- Jarvis Landry
Not exactly an elite array of names. Unless an unexpected player is released or lands on the trading block, it’s obvious the Chicago Bears may have to shift their focus to the 2023 draft. That doesn’t have to be bad. Early projections have five receivers looking like 1st-round prospects. Assuming the pundits are right and the Bears aren’t doing very well this season, they should have a shot at landing one of the best in the class.
It might not be the instant jolt fans are looking for, but it could end up being a blessing in disguise in the long run.
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