The Chicago Bears have a few players that could be in the mix at multiple positions along their offensive line, so until we see exactly what new offensive line coach Chris Morgan has in store it’s hard to predict how things will play out. For these next three articles in my series (guard/center/tackle) I’ll put the players at the positions they spent most of their time playing a year ago. And who knows, if the Bears get their o-line figured out, then maybe the next time you visit the ri sports betting app you can get a good futures line for the 2022 season.
In this 12-part series I’ll be listing the contract status of all the current Bears players on a position by position basis, while speculating on some offseason moves that could happen.
James Daniels - Free agent- Spotrac is predicting Daniels’ new contract to be in the 4 year, $30 million range, and if that’s what it takes to bring the 24-year old back to Chicago, I think it’s a fair deal. He’s a 4 year veteran that has been decent, but his best football could still be in front of him. I’m also still curious to see what he could do at center.
Cody Whitehair - Signed through 2024 - Last year was a strange one for Whitehair. He was mostly his usual solid self, but his mistakes were glaring and impactful. He had a down year for sure, but I don’t think it makes any sense to cut him this offseason. Whitehair’s deal has a void year in 2025 for $1.1 million, so releasing him as a post June 1 cut means a cap hit of $4.2 million and a cap savings of $8.1. He can play all three interior line spots which gives the coaching staff some options depending on personnel.
Alex Bars - Restricted free agent - Bringing Bars back to compete for a reserve role makes some sense. He’s worked hard to add value by being able to play anywhere on the o-line, so get him in camp to let the new coaches work with him.
2022 OUTLOOK - The Bears also have former UDFA Dieter Eiselen in the mix next year, and a determination has yet to be made on Teven Jenkins, Larry Borom, and Germain Ifedi staying at tackle. Once the coaches decide who ends up where, then the Bears can attack the offensive line in free agency and the draft.
And the Bears will be attacking the position for sure.
Whether the Bears bring Daniels and Whitehair back or not, I expect them to draft a guard if there’s one on their board that makes sense. They need an influx of young talent at every o-line position because the depth has been lacking the last few years. When you are forced to add guys on 1-year veteran deals every offseason because you failed to draft and develop your own offensive line that’s a serious problem, and it’s a problem the Bears will rectify with new GM Ryan Poles already talking about the importance of the position.
Zion Johnson from Boston College could be a day 2 pick, and he’s been working a bit at center some too. He also played at Poles’ alma mater, so that would be interesting for his first ever draft class. Cole Strange from Chattanooga plays the game with the intensity that Poles covets.
With the Packers cap situation potentially going all-in on keeping their QB1/WR1 in Green Bay, they may have to let a few free agents get away. One of those is 28-year old guard/center Lucas Patrick. Besides being familiar with new O.C. Luke Getsy, he’s started 28 games the last 2 years and could be a stop gap for a few years while the Bears work on bolstering the position.
If the Bears want to spend a little money on the position they might go after the Rams Austin Corbett or the 49ers Laken Tomlinson, but I’d rather they just pay Daniels and continue his development.