Bears News

Taking a look at how the Bears’ roster, depth chart looks so far this offseason

11 months agoChris Emma

At the final whistle of the regular-season finale January at Soldier Field, the Bears were a football team in disarray – but one with assets that represented hope. General manager Ryan Poles held in his hands the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft and the most salary cap space of any team in the league.

The transaction period of this offseason is all but complete after the waves of free agency subsided in March, the conclusion of the draft in late April and the signing of rookie free agents early this month. Poles spent much of that salary luxury and dealt the first pick to the Panthers, loaded up the roster with additions like DJ Moore, Tremaine Edmunds, T.J. Edwards and Darnell Wright, among many newcomers added to this locker room.

Those assets Poles had at the start of this offseason have now been utilized into building a deeper, better roster. The Bears can look towards their 2023 season opener Sept. 10 against the Packers with hope.

Here is how the Bears’ roster and depth chart look after striking on a pivotal opportunity this offseason.

Quarterback (4) — Justin Fields, P.J. Walker, Nathan Peterman, Tyson Bagent (R)

The first and most important piece of this offseason for Poles was a decision on the Bears’ future at quarterback. Ultimately, he moved forward with plans to build around Fields rather than keeping that first pick and selecting Bryce Young or a prized rookie arm. Now, it’s on Fields to make considerable improvements and prove his place as Chicago’s franchise quarterback. This will be a significant third season for Fields.

Running back (5) — Khalil Herbert, D’Onta Foreman, Roschon Johnson (R), Trestan Ebner, Travis Homer

The Bears’ backfield will certainly look different without David Montgomery, who chose to sign a three-year deal with the Lions in free agency. Herbert enters this season as the lead back, but the veteran Foreman and rookie Johnson should also factor in initially. Chicago’s scouting department is quite confident in Johnson, a fourth-round pick out of Texas, who appears to be a powerful runner ready for an opportunity in the NFL.

Fullback (2) — Khari Blasingame, Robert Burns (R)

Blasingame is back for his second season with the Bears, who believe in the importance of the fullback for their outside-zone running scheme on offense.

Wide receiver (11) — DJ Moore, Darnell Mooney, Chase Claypool, Dante Pettis, Equanimeous St. Brown, Tyler Scott (R), Nsimba Webster, Aron Cruickshank (R), Daurice Fountain, Thyrick Pitts (R), Joe Reed

It was critically important for the Bears to add a playmaker at wide receiver for Fields. But those dynamic players are hard to find in the offseason. Poles prioritized landing Moore in the deal for the first overall pick – coveting him over a 2025 first-round pick – and brought in an accomplished target on offense. The Bears are hopeful that Claypool can have a breakthrough this season after spending this offseason developing greater chemistry with Fields. Mooney is expected to participate in much of this offseason program following a season-ending ankle injury suffered late last November. The rookie Scott will be a fascinating player to watch during training camp.

Tight end (5) — Cole Kmet, Robert Tonyan Jr., Stephen Carlson, Chase Allen, Jake Tonges

With plenty of salary cap space still, the Bears’ next priority this offseason will be re-signing key players on their roster. Kmet should be looking at a long-term extension in Chicago in the coming months, this after posting a career-high seven scores last season and emerging as a key target on offense for Fields. Tonyan gives the Bears another threat in their offense, a reliable weapon previously in Green Bay.

Offensive line (17) — Braxton Jones, Teven Jenkins, Cody Whitehair, Lucas Patrick, Nate Davis, Darnell Wright (R), Alex Leatherwood, Ja’Tyre Carter, Doug Kramer, Larry Borom, Kellen Diesch, Dieter Eiselen, Robert Haskins (R), Gabriel Houy (R), Josh Lugg (R), Lorenz Metz (R), Roy Mbaeteka

The rookie Wright was the missing piece for the Bears’ starting offensive line, a big, physical presence at right tackle who fills a great need for this blocking unit. The starting five should feature Jones at left tackle, Jenkins sliding to left guard, either Whitehair or Patrick at center and the veteran newcomer Davis at right guard. There’s plenty of quality depth for Chicago’s revamped offensive line, which should offer Fields a better opportunity for success this season.

Defensive line (14) — Justin Jones, DeMarcus Walker, Trevis Gipson, Dominqiue Robinson, Gervon Dexter Sr. (R), Zacch Pickens (R), Travis Bell (R), Andrew Billings, Andrew Brown, Rasheem Green, Jalen Harris (R), Jalyn Holmes, Donovan Jeter, D’Anthony Jones (R)

The Bears entered free agency in March with hopes of landing one of the premier defensive tackles on the open market. But the bidding inflated beyond Poles’ price point and the Bears came away with only marginal veteran improvements. Dexter and Pickens, a pair of Day 2 draft selections, should factor into the defensive line rotation right away as rookies. The veteran Jones will serve as the primary 3-technique defensive tackle, though defensive coordinator Alan Williams said to expect a heavy rotation.

Linebacker (10) — Tremaine Edmunds, T.J. Edwards, Jack Sanborn, Dylan Cole, Noah Sewell (R), Sterling Weatherford, Micah Baskerville (R), Kuony Deng, DeMarquis Gates, Terrell Lewis

There’s no more improved position for the Bears than linebacker, with the additions of Edmunds and Edwards representing cornerstones for head coach Matt Eberflus’ defensive identity. Edwards will man the weakside linebacker position, Edmunds will stay inside at the ‘Mike’ linebacker’ and Sanborn will slide over to the strongside spot. Cole was signed as a key special-teams player while Sewell is an intriguing draft pick who will be asked to develop behind the scenes.

Cornerback (9) — Jaylon Johnson, Kyler Gordon, Tyrique Stevenson (R), Jaylon Jones, Josh Blackwell, Kindle Vildor, Terrell Smith (R), Greg Stroman, Michael Ojemudia

In selecting Stevenson late in the second round of this draft, the Bears filled a void in their secondary and completed what’s one of the better young defensive backfields in the game. He is expected to play at the outside cornerback position opposite Johnson, while Gordon will focus on his role at the nickelback position. Jones and Blackwell each made strong impressions as undrafted rookies stepping into roles last season.

Safety (8) — Eddie Jackson, Jaquan Brisker, Elijah Hicks, Adrian Colbert, A.J. Thomas, Bralen Trahan, Kendall Williamson (R), Macon Clark (R)

The return of Jackson will be curious to watch following his season-ending Lisfranc injury last season. Jackson was playing at a Pro Bowl level, but this is a tough comeback – especially for a player who needs to be making quick cuts in the secondary. Brisker shined as a rookie and will man the other starting safety position. Hicks showed some promise stepping in for Jackson as a rookie last season.

Specialists (5) — Cairo Santos, Andre Szmyt (R), Trenton Gill, Ryan Anderson, Patrick Scales

The Bears brought in competition at kicker with the rookie Szmyt and at punter with the veteran Anderson. But it’s most likely that Santos, Gill and Scales will return as the special-teams battery for 2023.

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