10 Under the radar free agents Chicago Bears should target in 2023
Despite having a fat wallet to spend on free agency, don’t expect the Chicago Bears to go wild signing big names. They will likely make a lot of smaller signings. Here are some under-the-radar free agents they should target.
Well, the time is almost here. The new NFL league year is about a week away. There are huge expectations on the shoulders of Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Poles.
After signing a lot of second-rate players and having them play in important positions in 2022, Poles’ first season as general manager resulted in a 3-14 season.
While many considered that a failure, Poles put the Bears in a good situation. With the signings and shipping away key veterans, Chicago now has about $100 million in salary cap space. That is the most by far in the league. They also have the number one pick.
Chicago is primed to make a dent in this offseason. With the plethora of cap space, Poles can go after just about any free agent he desires. Will he go on a spending splurge and get a few big names, however?
Don’t expect Poles to do that. There are a lot of holes on this roster. Poles can sign a few big names but that will still leave gaping holes on the roster. He showed the discipline to stay with his plan last season despite the fans’ disapproval. He could do that once again this offseason.
There are plenty of second-level players Poles can sign and strengthen the roster. Remember the line from the movie The Perfect Game in which the catcher speaks to the Kevin Costner character’s drinking by saying “A bunch of little bottles of vodka equal one big bottle.”
That is what Poles should do. Signing a bunch of solid players who might not be elite will equal a strong team. Then Poles can use the draft to make the team even stronger.
Here are 10 under-the-radar targets the Chicago Bears should go after.
10 under-the-radar free agent targets for the Chicago Bears
Duke Riley, LB, Miami Dolphins
The Chicago Bears need some help at the linebacker spot. In 2022, they did not have much depth. There were a lot of inexperienced players backing up the starters.
Then the Bears traded away the best starter, Roquan Smith. He got into a contract dispute with the team and Poles ended up trading him for picks.
Nicholas Morrow moved over to the weak side and undrafted rookie Jack Sanborn took over the middle. However, Sanborn got injured and had his season cut short.
Now there is a question of whether Sanborn is starting material. Whoever starts, though, the Bears still need some depth.
Duke Riley won’t wow you on the field but he won’t make big critical mistakes either. He is a solid player who can play well in a rotation. That is what he did with the Miami Dolphins. He had 48 tackles and a sack. He made some impact as a substitute and on special teams.
Riley has the speed to go sideline-to-sideline and get to the ball carrier and make a play. Poles will still be looking at other linebackers to start but he’ll make the rotation more solid.