Bears predicted to land several prized Top 40 free agents
Kirby Lee - USA Today Sports

Bears predicted to land several prized Top 40 free agents

by - Senior Writer -

I know the NFL offseason just started for the Chicago Bears, but it is never too early to look ahead. While there are still plenty of internal decisions that need to be made, mainly what happens to Matt Eberflus, Luke Getsy, and Justin Fields, there are a lot of other things that this team must do to build off of this season.

That all starts and stops with the No. 1 pick in the overall draft and what precisely the Bears plans are with it. Do they keep the pick and draft Caleb Williams, or do they trade with someone else to acquire their first-round pick along with additional picks? No one knows what the Bears are thinking at this point, and that is the biggest mystery of the whole thing.

While that will be the biggest storyline all offseason long, Chicago has a lot of questions to answer before the draft even starts, and that stops and starts with free agency. After having the most cap money to spend last season and using it on the defensive side of the ball, the Bears are once again going to have a boatload of money to spend on players they need.

After addressing defense last season, the offense should be the focus this season, and you are already hearing rumors and predictions about the Bears landing a guy like Mike Evans. That would be huge for Fields or whoever is under center next year, but when you look at the top 40 free agent list for this upcoming offseason, the Bears are predicted to land two of them with a definite possibility of three if they can get him before he hits the market.

Christian Wilkins (DT)

The Bears need help at many positions, but with plenty of draft capital coming up, they will have the chance to address those needs. Look for them to focus on the less pressing needs in free agency, with one coming at defensive tackle. Chicago was one of the best teams at stopping the run this season, and they did that without a significant leader in the middle.

Miami Dolphin DT Christian Wilkins would be that leader and a player the Bears would love to have. He is the second Miami Dolphin mentioned on this list, but when you consider that former Bears D-Coordinator Vic Fangio runs defense, you can see why there is a ton of interest across the board.

With nearly 64 million in cap space right now, Chicago has a chance to impact their roster further quickly, and Wilkins is an attractive player who will give this team versatility. Yes, he may be listed as a DT, but Wilkins can move around the line, which makes him an ideal fit for any system.

He also has a motor that doesn't quit, so he is a rare three-down player. Every team could use that, especially the Bears, as Wilkins showed some real skill during his tenure with Miami. Look for the Dolphins to make a run at keeping him around, but Wilkins is predicted to be a game changer for the Bears on a four-year 80 million dollar pickup. Expect more names to be linked to the Bears in the coming weeks, but this is where things stand right now.

Robert Hunt (Guard)

It's no secret that the Bears biggest weakness the past few seasons has been the offensive line. Over the past two seasons, no QB has been sacked more than Fields, and despite the overall improvements this team has made to address the line, he still gets hit a lot.

Some of that falls on him for holding on to the ball too long, but when you rewatch the Packers game, the Bears line was manhandled up front, leading to a less-than-stellar performance. After drafting Darnell Wright last season and seeing Braxton Jones and Tevon Jenkins improve this past season, there is hope for the Bears offensive line as they continue to gain confidence together.

Adding a guy like Hunt into the mix would be a massive win for this team, as he could take over the RG position for Nate Davis. With his contract with the Miami Dolphins set to end, Hunt will be one of the better interior linemen on the market, as he has a knack for manhandling his opponents in the run game.

That is the strength of the Bears offense, so adding anyone who fits that strength is an added bonus. Although he is a physical beast up front, Hunt also has some of the best athleticism among offensive linemen and shows that off once he reaches the second level. Whether Fields stays or Williams comes in, Huff is the guy you want blocking for you as he is expected to sign a three-year deal worth around 42 million.

Jaylon Johnson (CB)

One of the biggest reasons the Bears defense became a top 10 unit this season was the play of their secondary as they led the league in interceptions. Jaylon Johnson was a massive factor in that, and after failing to reach a long-term deal last season, many felt he was a deadline piece.

As the season went along, Johnson continued to preach his desire to remain in Chicago, and his overall play backed that up as the Bears kept him for the remainder of the season, which was a good move. Not much of a ball-hawking defender early in his career, Johnson has been a model of consistency since breaking into the league, and now his play-making abilities are showing up.

He seems like an ideal piece to give a long-term extension, too, but with his market expected to be crazy, the Bears may take the easy way out for now and use the franchise tag on him to keep him around. That is when long-term talks will start, and the Bears hope that no bridges need to be mended when they start talking.

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