Free Agents, who featured in Sunday’s playoff games, originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
Not sure if you’ve heard, but the Bears are expected to have over $115 million in cap space this offseason. That’s enough buying power for Ryan Poles to seriously pursue his overhaul of the Bears roster. Considering the team ended the season on a 10-game losing streak to finish on a 3-14 record, they’re going to need it. Virtually every location on the depth map needs to be addressed as well. So if you’re playing Fantasy GM at home, you can dream up signings anywhere on the field. If you want to keep an eye out for potential signers, here’s a watch guide for Sunday.
TONY POLLARD – RUNNING BACK
David Montgomery is a free agent this year, and both Montgomery and the Bears have made it clear that they’d like to get together for another deal. But if they find common ground, Pollard could be a replacement. He’s outshined Ezekiel Elliott in the Cowboys backfield this year and looks like he’d fit well into Luke Getsy’s zoning plan.
DALTON SCHULTZ-TIGHT END
Even with Cole Kmet’s continued growth in 2022, the Bears offense could win with a pass that catches a tight end. Schultz fits the bill, finishing second in both catches with the Cowboys this year and receiving yards and touchdowns at 57, 577 and five apiece.
DANTE FOWLER – DEFENSIVE END
The Bears need a lot of help on the defensive line, and Fowler would be an instant upgrade coming off the edge. Fowler didn’t start for the Cowboys this year, playing behind DeMarcus Lawrence and Dorance Armstrong, but still managed six sacks, seven TFLs and two forced fumbles.
JOHNATHAN HANKINS – DEFENSIVE TACKLE
Another defensive line rotation player for the Cowboys. Hankins contributed against the run on limited snaps this season, notching his first sack of the year against the Bucs in the wild card round.
MIKE MCGLINCHEY – PROPER TACKLE
McGlinchey has been a reliable right tackle for the Niners since taking the position in 2019. He played 94% of the team’s snaps in 2022 and gave up just 27 pressures in 562 passes, according to the PFF.
SAMSON EBUKAM – DEFENSIVE END
Ebukam isn’t a flashy defensive end like Nick Bosa, but he’s been a steady contributor to the 49ers. In his two seasons with the team, he has 9.5 sacks, 74 tackles and 12 TFLs. Additionally, he’s had at least one forced fumble in every year of his career since 2017.
Edmunds didn’t make the big splash plays that Bills fans were expecting when the team drafted him No. 16 overall in 2018, but he’s been a consistent force at the center of their defense. The Bears need to beef up their linebacking corps, and Edmunds has recorded over 100 tackles in every season of his career and has reached the Pro Bowl twice. However, he lacks the forced fumbling that Matt Eberflus craves.
SHAQ LAWSON – DEFENSIVE END
Lawson is another player who could be considered for a rotating role on the Bears defensive line. He’s not a huge impact player but has 25 career sacks, 40 TFLs and seven forced fumbles dating back to 2016.
JESSIE BATES – SECURITY
This signing may depend on Eddie Jackson’s health. Jackson had a resurgent season in 2022 but suffered a Lisfranc injury in Week 12. If he can progress well, expect him to play alongside Jaquan Brisker again. If not, Bates could replace Jackson’s ballhawking ability. Bates had four interceptions in 2022 and has 14 picks from 2018. He’s also doing well as a last line of defense and has had three 100-tackle seasons.
ELI APPLE- CORNERBACK
Since the Giants traded him away in 2018, Apple has paced up and down the league. He’s been under scrutiny since former Giants teammates said he was a clubhouse cancer, but Apple enjoyed something of a renaissance with the Bengals. He only gave up a 57% completion rate when he was targeted that season.
Click here to follow the Under Center Podcast.