Additions like Tonin, Foreman are part of the first reconstruction phase originally appeared nbc sports chicago
After a 3-14 season, NFL Media draft expert Daniel Jeremiah offered a candid assessment of what Bears general manager Ryan Poles needs to accomplish during the offseason and the 2023 NFL Draft.
“You look at the Bears and gosh, you're trying to get a capable group in there,” Jeremiah said during a pre-combine conference call in February.
Able, 2022 bears were not. This isn't surprising, considering that the Poles arrived in Chicago and immediately amassed a subpar roster. The 2022 season was a complete punt as the Poles looked to the offseason to begin an extensive rebuilding project.
Months of buzz about the Bears' mountain of salary cap space had fans and pundits dreaming about the massive injection of star-level talent that was about to arrive in Chicago.
But when Poles, head coach Matt Eberflus and the Bears' staff evaluate the free-agent class and place players into “value buckets,” only a few are clear. big names made the cut,
Bear gave linebacker Tremaine Edmonds signed a four-year, $72 million contract as a potential candidate for the Will linebacker spot. Chicago was at right tackle Mike McGlinchey until the very end, but the Notre Dame product landed in Denver on a five-year, $87.5 million contract with the Broncos.
The rest of the Bears' free-agent hall does not include big names or high prices. Poles' goal during this free agent cycle was to identify fit and add talent, as well as keep the Bears flexible for future seasons. This is just the first step in a multi-layer reconstruction.
So far all the Poles have done with their additions is stretch the Bears' floor. It was almost underground in 2022, so it shouldn't be that hard. But the Bears are more capable at several positions, especially linebacker with Edmonds and TJ Edwards.
The Bears missed a ton of tackles in 2022. Safety Eddie Jackson was the team's best tackler as most people before him made the “Ole! Hall of Fame”. Edmonds and Edwards are athletic tackling machines that would automatically form a linebacking corps that had a better than 10.7 percent missed tackle rate.
The Poles signed defensive end DeMarcus Walker. Walker won't make any headlines, but his 32 pressures, seven sacks and 16 quarterback hits may have led the Bears' miserable defensive line last season.
Basic ability comes.
He was also the subject of Thursday's moves when the Bears signed tight end Robert Tonin, running back D'Onta Foreman, and defensive tackle Andrew Billings.
Billings is an experienced run-stuffer. He won't make much of an impact as a pass rusher, but at 6-foot-1, 311 pounds, he has the ability to move interior offensive linemen, plug holes and allow the Bears' new linebackers to get downhill and create Incredible power. plays. He will give the Bears 20 to 25 snaps of solid run defense. The Bears' defensive line was a catastrophe in 2022. Billings isn't a parade-worthy signing, but he is a quality pro who could help them in one key area.
The signing of Tony gives the Bears a clear upgrade over Ryan Griffin and Trayvon Vesco at the No. 2 tight end spot. While the former Packer isn't much of a blocker, he is a solid red-zone threat who has had a nose for the end zone in the past. Tony is a surefire receiver (two drops in five seasons, per Pro Football Reference) who knows offensive coordinator Luke Gatsy's scheme.
Foreman is the addition that caught my eye on Thursday.
After David Montgomery left in free agency, the Bears needed to find another reliable running back to split carries with Khalil Herbert. Foreman is coming off a 2022 season in which he rushed for 913 yards and five touchdowns on 203 attempts. Foreman forced 34 missed tackles while making 21 explosive runs with a 33.2 breakaway percentage (percentage received on runs greater than 15 yards).
Montgomery only had a breakaway percentage of 8.9 and only 17 explosive runs last season, but made 46 missed tackles.
The Bears want burst, bang, and big-play ability out of their backs. Montgomery is a workhorse, but he doesn't have the breakaway ability Poels and Eberflus are craving.
Foreman isn't much of a threat as a pass-catcher and needs to improve as a pass-protector, but he should serve as a nice compliment to Herbert as the Bears are a running back-by-committee. Want to go with Attitude.
Connected: Areas Attracting Free Agents Show QBs Can Accelerate Rebuild
Not every free-agent signing is worth a backflip.
But what have Pols done last week, both in free agency and Blockbuster trade with the PanthersThere's a stable of solid veterans to go along with Edmonds' big acquisition and wide receiver DJ Moore, who came through in the trade from Carolina.
It will take several seasons to rebuild a roster that can compete for a playoff spot. Having the projected franchise quarterback in Fields could help move that process along.
But a necessary first step is to raise the floor by adding proven experienced contributors to complement the high-end talent that is either already on the roster or will be added in the future.