The Chicago Bears have made a slew of moves through the first wave of free agency, including the addition of some impact starters and one blockbuster trade involving the No. 1 pick.
So far, Bears general manager Ryan Poles has addressed concerns at linebacker, defensive line, wide receiver and running back. And he’s far from done.
Poles has mentioned in the past that he’s a big proponent of the second and third waves of free agency, where he’ll be able to address depth concerns with more favorable contracts in the coming weeks.
With that in mind, here’s a look at every move the Bears have made through the first wave of free agency:
- Bears acquire: Nos. 9, 61 in 2023, 2024 first-round pick, 2025 second-round pick, WR DJ Moore
- Panthers acquire: No. 1 pick in 2023
The Bears made their biggest move ahead of free agency in dealing the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft to the Panthers for a haul. Chicago landed two first-round picks, two second-round selections and wide receiver DJ Moore. While Carolina was going to give three first-rounders for the top pick, Poles insisted that Moore be part of the trade package. Now, quarterback Justin Fields has a No. 1 receiver, the Bears have three additional picks and the arrow is pointing up for this offense.
Contract: 3 years, $19.5 million ($7.9 million guaranteed)
Chicago’s first free agent addition was an absolute bargain in hometown kid T.J. Edwards, who was one of the league’s best linebackers last season. Edwards was one of the top-graded linebackers, earning a 84.8 grade from Pro Football Focus. Last season, Edwards totaled 159 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, two sacks and seven pass breakups. It’s unclear whether Edwards will serve as the MIKE or WILL linebacker in this defense, but he should have an impact wherever he lines up.
Contract: 4 years, $72 million ($50 million guaranteed)
The Bears doubled down at the linebacker position landing Tremaine Edmunds to pair alongside Edwards. Edmunds, who’s just 24, is an athletic, explosive linebacker who’s both a solid run defender and impressive in coverage. Edmunds is a two-time Pro Bowler who is an immediate upgrade for Chicago. Like with Edwards, it’s unclear whether Edmunds will be the MIKE or WILL linebacker. But, wherever they line him up, he should be an impact player.
Contract: 3 years, $30 million ($19.25 million guaranteed)
Chicago added a quality starter along the offensive line in Nate Davis. While Davis has played exclusively at right guard, he’s expected to make the move to left guard as Cody Whitehair could be back at center. Davis is not only a dominant run blocker — a perfect fit for the Bears — but he’s also solid in pass protection. The concern with Davis has been health, as he’s only played one full season, which makes depth even more important.
Contract: 3 years, $21 million ($15.65 million guaranteed)
The Bears added some help at defensive line with the signing of DeMarcus Walker, who provides a clear upgrade off the edge. Walker is a versatile defensive lineman who can play inside, as well. He’s coming off a breakout year with the Titans, where he totaled 7.0 sacks, 32 pressures and 16 QB hits. In fact, Walker had more sacks than Justin Jones, Trevis Gipson and Dominique Robinson combined, as well as just four less QB hits than the Bears had as a team last season.
Contract: 2 years, $3.6 million ($1.95 million guaranteed)
Chicago re-signed a key piece of their top-ranked rushing attack from last season in Khari Blasingame. While Blasingame didn’t record a single stat, he was the lead blocker for the NFL’s best run game, where he helped open holes for Khalil Herbert and former Bears running back David Montgomery. Bringing back Blasingame, who earned a two-year extension, is an important move for this offense.
Contract: 1 year, $1.317 million ($1.092 million guaranteed)
Chicago returned a key player from special teams in Patrick Scales, who remains the longest-tenured player on the Bears having been with the team since 2015. Scales is coming off another solid year with the Bears, where he was the lone Chicago player to receive a single All-Pro vote for 2022. Now, Scales is back with kicker Cairo Santos and punter Trenton Gill heading into 2023.
Contract: 2 years, $4 million ($1.75 million guaranteed)
The Bears added some depth at running back and on special teams with Travis Homer. Last season, Homer appeared in 10 games with the Seahawks, where he had 19 carries for 74 yards (3.9 yards per carry). Homer is solid in pass protection and provides a receiving option out of the backfield for Fields. Homer was one of the Seahawks’ most productive and consistent special teamers, whether it’s on coverage or as a return specialist. With Khalil Herbert and D’Onta Foreman on the roster, Homer is a solid RB3 for Chicago.
Contract: 2 years, $5 million max
Chicago upgraded at backup quarterback with the addition of PJ Walker, who’s an ideal backup for Fields. Walker saw extended action with the Panthers last season, where he completed 63-of-106 passes for 731 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions in six games (five starts). Walker is also reunited with former Carolina teammate DJ Moore. Shortly after Walker’s signing was made official, the Bears parted ways with Trevor Siemian, making it clear Walker is QB2.
2023 cap savings: $1.965 million
The Bears released back quarterback Trevor Siemian shortly after signing PJ Walker to a two-year deal. Last season, Chicago signed Siemian to a two-year deal, and he started one game last season in place of an injured Fields. Unfortunately, Siemian was injured, as well. It’s a move that doesn’t come as a surprise considering Walker was a better scheme fit as Fields’ backup quarterback. In cutting Siemian, Chicago frees up nearly $2 million in cap space.
Contract: 1 year, $3.5 million ($2.4 million guaranteed)
The Bears addressed the interior of their defensive line with the addition of Andrew Billings, who will serve as a 1-technique in Matt Eberflus’ defense. Chicago bolstered their run defense with Billings, who’s able to clog holes and serves as an upgrade for one of the league’s worst run defenses from last season. Last season with the Raiders, Billings totaled 39 tackles, three tackles for loss, one sack and three QB hits in 14 starts. It’s not a flashy signing, but it’s a sneaky good addition for Poles, who prioritizes scheme and value.
Contract: 1 year, TBA
Chicago landed another hometown player in Robert Tonyan to serve as a complement to tight end Cole Kmet. Tonyan is familiar with offensive coordinator Luke Getsy’s scheme, having played with Getsy in Green Bay from 2010-21. Tonyan excels as a receiver, particularly when it comes to the red zone. Last season, Tonyan had 53 receptions on 63 targets for 470 yards with two touchdowns. Tonyan serves as another pass catcher for Fields heading into 2023.
Contract: 1 year, $3 million
The Bears added another running back in free agency in D’Onta Foreman, who’s an explosive runner. Last season with the Panthers, Foreman had a breakout season after replacing Christian McCaffrey, who was traded to the San Francisco 49ers. Foreman rushed for 915 yards in 17 games with nine starts. He averaged 4.5 yards per carry. Foreman eclipsed 100 rushing yards in five games. Foreman will be competing with Khalil Herbert for the starting job, although they’ll serve as a 1-2 punch in the backfield.