I fully expected the Chicago Bears to have a down season this year, especially with a first-time, first-year head coach taking the reigns of the team. Looking at the schedule, had I predicted their record this year before the season, I don't think I would have expected just three wins. Five or six would have been a reasonable prediction, but I don't think anyone could have predicted that the Bears would have the worst record in the league this season.
Despite their performance on the field, the Chicago Bears season was not a complete bust. This off-season could be one of the best off-seasons the Bears have ever had. I know for a fact the situation they are in this off-season is the best that they have been in since I started following the team when I was eight years old.
I have confidence that Justin Fields is the quarterback of the Bear's future, so they won't have to spend time, effort, and other resources searching for one this off-season. The amount of cap space the team has more than doubles the amount of cap space of the next team. With $115 million to play with, we could see some big names heading to Chicago for the 2023-2024 season.
Finally, the Bears have the #1 pick in this year's draft! They could trade that pick with the amount of cap space they have. I don't think fans would be upset with this option, especially if it hauls in a good player and a few more picks. I prefer this option. But if they don't trade the pick, according to several mock drafts I have looked at, the All-American Defensive Tackle from Georgia, Jaylen Carter, is heading to Chicago. ESPN describes him as the most unblockable defender in college football.
Another great move by the Bears this season was hiring Kevin Warren, the former Big Ten Commissioner, as the organization's CEO. For the past few years, I have been concerned about the McCasky's team involvement. I even wrote a blog about how I wish the team had new owners that cared about winning football games and didn't just own the team to own the team.
Hindsight 20/20, this was a horrible take. Ryan Poles, Matt Eberflus, and now Kevin Warren. All hire's that we can determine good or not after this off-season. At the very least, the McCaskys are making an effort to get the team back to being a winning organization.
With all this free cap space, there are many pain points the organization needs to focus on, the biggest priority being the defense, which was the worst in the league this past season. The offense also struggled, placing in the bottom half of the league. Some of these issues could be addressed in the draft, but how much is any team willing to rely on a bunch of rookies?
They can address the issues they don't address in the draft in free agency. As mentioned before, they could pull in the best available free agent for any position they want to address.
I go back and forth on what position needs to be prioritized. On the one hand, I want Justin Fields to have a good supporting cast on offense, but you cannot deny how horrible the defense was. So honestly, it does not matter to me which one they prioritize more. I just want more than three wins in a season.
Expectations are going to be high this season. Warren, Poles, and Eberflus have got to be on top of things. Especially if Aaron Rodgers leaves the division, winning the NFC North is the expectation. It's a huge jump after just winning three games, but as I said before, the Bears are in the best situation I believe they have ever been in. A lot of fanbases would kill to be in this situation.
If they don't win the NFC North, they should, at the very least, find themselves playing in the Wildcard Round of the Playoffs. I wouldn't expect them to win anything in the playoffs... this upcoming season. In the 2024-2025 season, they better find a way to make it past the first round. Otherwise, the organization may need to reconsider the GM and Head Coach.