The Chicago Bears went into the draft with some needs and wants, and while they definitely added to the depth of the roster at several positions, there are still some positions that could use some help.
At his post-draft press conference, general manager Ryan Poles touched on the state of his roster and why he drafted the players he did while not addressing some positions.
“You want to fix everything immediately, but it’s got to work the right way,” Poles said via NBC Sports. “The right players got to be there that fit our scheme. They want to be here. So, we can’t fix everything at a high level in one swoop.”
Center was one position the Bears weren’t able to land over the weekend, but with a relatively young roster, it sounds like they are content with the veterans they have.
“For right now, I feel good with Cody (Whitehair) and Lucas (Patrick) both as leaders and players,” Poles said, via a Tweet by Courtney Cronin. “They’ve both played that position well in the past.”
Whitehair, who will turn 31 in July, is presumed to be locked in as the starting center, but he hasn’t played the position since 2020. Patrick, who is one year younger than Cody, played only a handful of snaps there last year due to a hand injury.
The other position Poles was asked about was defensive end, and it sounded like there was a plan to address that soon.
“Camp’s a long ways away. We’ll stay on our toes, and if something presents itself, we’ll be able to do that. We’ll be able to do it financially as well.”
Financially speaking, the Bears have the most 2023 salary cap space still available, and they are about $10 million more than the second-place Panthers.
There will be another wave of free agency in the coming days as teams release players to make room for their draft picks and undrafted free agents, so Poles isn’t done yet. Any vested veterans released or street free agents still looking for a team could have Chicago’s interest.
Monday afternoon also marks when free agents signed no longer count against a team’s compensation pick formula, so players will be looking for deals as teams are looking to spend.
Chicago is also first in the waiver wire order for players released with less than four accrued seasons, so they’ll have plenty of options to bolster their 90-man offseason roster.