GM Ryan Poles does not make many friends among Chicago Bears fans with his rather bland approach to free agency. His only attempt at something approaching a splash move was Larry Ogunjobi, and it fell through due to a physical failure. Since then, Poles have made do with a number of smaller initiatives. They all have the same thing in common. They check three key boxes.
- Younger Page (28 and under)
Clearly, the team is not looking for win-now opportunities. They take calculated chances on smaller names in hopes that they might be able to continue to grow. This is the typical approach for a team entering a rebuilding phase. With this in mind, there are still some names out there that might fit the profile of what Chicago is looking for.
The Chicago Bears are or could monitor these guys
Auden Tate (WR)
By the end of the 2019 season, the Cincinnati Bengals looked like they had a potential breakout star on the way with the Tate. The previous pick in the 7th round had 575 yards that season in just 12 games. Unfortunately, his progress was derailed over the next two years due to a mix of health issues and the rise of other teammates, including Tee Higgins and, of course, JaMarr Chase. The boy is only 25 years old and presents an enticing goal of 6’5 with strong hands to make hard catches.
Ryan Bates (OG)
A name the Chicago Bears already know. They plan to meet with Bates on Tuesday in hopes of picking him up. It’s not hard to see why. The young blocker was fantastic in 2021 for the Buffalo Bills, playing several different positions from left tackle to both guard positions. He was dominant on the left guard and allowed four pressure on Josh Allen in six games. This guy might be scratching the surface of what he can. It can be difficult to outbid Minnesota and New England for his services.
#Bills RFA LG Ryan Bates # 71
Three game movie review from ’21
– Get stunned away
-Phenomenal football player
– Stud in pass pro
-Strong hands / firm through its core
-Foot speed shows in pull / zone
– Positional versatility
-25 years old
High upside potential acquisitions for #Bears pic.twitter.com/ZuR7RkJ4xL
– Brandon Robinson (@BRobNFL) March 21, 2022
Tavon Young (CB)
It was a surprise when the Baltimore Ravens let the 28-year-old cornerback go. Young established himself as one of the better slot cornerbacks in the NFL over the last few seasons. His physical style of play and nose for football make him perfectly suited to the type of defense Matt Eberflus wants to run. The Tampa-2 scheme depends in part on that position. Kenny Moore proved it in Indianapolis. Young wants other suitors, but should not break the bank.
Ronnie Harrison (S)
The Bears have said they want physical football players. Harrison has no problem filling that role. He loved coming after it for Alabama and then Jacksonville and Cleveland. His versatility often stood out and made great plays both in coverage and as an extra blitzer. The trick is to get him to play under control. Alan Williams should be able to help. Harrison can become the combination safety that falls into the box, allowing Eddie Jackson to do what he does best by playing midfield. In terms of skills, he is as close as the Bears would have had since Adrian Amos left in 2019.
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