Bears Insider

Schrock's NFL Power Rankings: Where Bears stand after free agency, Justin Fields trade

Expectations should be very high for the Bears in 2024

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The NFL's new league year kicked off with a flurry last week as marquee names like Saquon Barkley, Christian Wilkins, and others changed zip codes.

The defending champion Kansas City Chiefs got better at wide receiver, the San Francisco 49ers revamped their defense, the Baltimore Ravens got a king to beef up their run game, and the Bears added another elite weapon to their offense before finally closing the book on the Justin Fields era by trading him to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

After a reshuffling of the deck, new faces are in new places, so it’s time for the first offseason power rankings as we firmly turn our attention to the 2024 season.

Here’s where all 32 teams stand after free agency.

  1. Kansas City Chiefs: The defending champs re-signed Chris Jones and replaced Marquez Valdez-Scantling with Marquise “Hollywood" Brown. They should be able to add a good receiver and defensive lineman with their first two picks. They'll once again enter the season as the Super Bowl favorites, even if they trade star cornerback La’Jarius Sneed.
  2. San Francisco 49ers: Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch were one score away from a Super Bowl title, but close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. The 49ers tinkered with their defense this offseason. The Niners swapped out Arik Armstead and Chase Young for Leonard Floyd, Yetur Gross-Matos, and Maliek Collins. San Francisco might have a Brandon Aiyuk dilemma to solve, but the Niners remain the cream of the NFC crop right now.
  3. Detroit Lions: Detroit’s biggest win of the offseason was keeping offensive coordinator Ben Johnson in-house. But the Lions also did a good job of adding skill to their secondary by trading for Carlton Davis and signing Amik Roberts. Defensive tackle D.J. Reader should make the Lions' run defense even better, and Kevin Zeitler is an upgrade over departed guard Jonah Jackson. The time is now in Detroit.
  4. Cincinnati Bengals: As long as Joe Burrow is 100 percent healthy, I’m going to ride with the Bengals. Cincinnati brought in tight end Mike Gesicki and safety Geno Stone and swapped in offensive tackle Trent Brown for Jonah Williams. The Tee Higgins trade request looms over Cincinnati’s offseason. In the end, I think he’ll end up playing on the tag, and the 2024 season will potentially be the last ride for the trio of Burrow, Chase, and Higgins.
  5. Baltimore Ravens: The Ravens brought back Justin Madubuike but lost Patrick Queen and Geno Stone. The addition of Derrick Henry gives the Ravens a true difference-maker at running back. Baltimore has been able to run the ball regardless of the back, but the tandem of Lamar Jackson and Henry gives the Ravens a dimension they haven’t had yet in the Lamar era.
  6. Philadelphia Eagles: The splash addition of Saquon Barkley got all the headlines, but it’s the changes at the coordinator positions that will determine whether or not the Eagles bounce back in 2024. Kellen Moore and Vic Fangio seem like clear upgrades at both OC and DC. The Eagles have the talent to contend, but that wasn’t enough last season. Will it be in 2024?
  7. Houston Texans: CJ Stroud burst onto the scene as a rookie, and Texans general manager Nick Caserio went to work building a better team around him this offseason. Houston added star pass rusher Danielle Hunter, defensive lineman Denico Autry, linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair, and running back Joe Mixon. They also re-signed tight end Dalton Schultz. The arrow is pointing straight up in Houston.
  8. Green Bay Packers: The Packers had the youngest roster in the NFL last season and they got even younger this spring by adding running back Josh Jacobs and safety Xavier McKinney while getting rid of Aaron Jones, Darnell Savage, and David Bakhtiari. Jordan Love ascended to a new level during the back half of the 2023 season and the Packers are primed to be a legitimate Super Bowl threat in 2024.
  9. Dallas Cowboys: Dak Prescott, CeeDee Lamb, and Micah Parson remain. The Cowboys still have a ton of talent, but they need to prove they can get over the hump in big games. Dallas didn’t add much in free agency but did lose key offensive linemen in left tackle Tyron Smith and center Tyler Biadasz, meaning they could be in the middle of an O-line rebuild in 2024.
  10. Buffalo Bills: It’s time for a retool in Buffalo. Tre’Davious White, Jordan Poyer, Gabe Davis, Mitch Morse, and Leonard Floyd are out as the Bills try to navigate a difficult cap situation. The Bills still have Josh Allen, who feels like he’s good for an automatic 10 wins, but it might a step-back season for Buffalo in 2024.
  11. Los Angeles Rams: The Rams were one of the best teams in the NFL when Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp, Puka Nacua, and Kyren Williams were healthy in 2023. I like what the Rams have, but Aaron Donald’s retirement and Matthew Stafford’s durability make me a little wary of the Rams in 2024.
  12. Cleveland Browns: The Browns were ravaged by injuries last season and should get most of those players in back in 2024. Cleveland re-signed Za’Darius Smith and Shelby Harris, traded for wide receiver Jerry Jeudy, and signed linebacker Devin Bush. The Browns can contend this fall if Deshaun Watson can play good football consistently. If he can’t, it could be Jameis Winston time in the Dog Pound.
  13. New York Jets: The Jets solidified their offensive line in front of Aaron Rodgers by adding left tackle Tyron Smith, right tackle Morgan Moses, and guard John Simpson. New York has an elite defense under head coach Robert Saleh. If Aaron Rodgers can stay healthy, the Jets are the ultimate wild card in the AFC.
  14. Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence was banged up for a lot of the 2023 season, and his play suffered because of it. Couple that with a bad defensive performance, and you have a recipe for a disappointing 2023 season in Jacksonville. The Jags brought in defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen to fix things and added defensive tackle Arik Armstead and safety Darnell Savage to bolster that unit. If Lawrence is healthy, I expect a bounce-back season from the Jags.
  15. Pittsburgh Steelers: Pittsburgh made the playoffs with the trio of Kenny Pickett, Mitchell Trubisky, and Mason Rudolph at quarterback but the Steelers were quickly bounced by the Bills in the playoffs. So general manager Omar Khan went out and completely revamped the quarterback room by adding Russell Wilson and Justin Fields. Wilson will enter as the starter but don’t be surprised if Fields overtakes him at some point. Whether it’s Wilson or Fields, the Steelers will be in the mix again this fall.
  16. Miami Dolphins: The Dolphins lost a lot this offseason, with Christian Wilkins, Robert Hunt, Andrew Van Ginkel, and Xavien Howard all exiting. The ‘Fins brought in edge rusher Shaq Barrett, safety Jordan Poyer, and linebacker Jordyn Brooks to fill some holes. Those are solid moves but they don't make up for the big losses. Miami has to prove it can win on the road, in the cold, in December and January. I’m selling the ‘Fins for now.
  17. Chicago Bears: The Bears are fast improving and are set to draft Caleb Williams with the No. 1 overall pick. They will immediately surround him with the best supporting cast a No. 1 overall pick has ever had during his rookie season. The addition of Keenan Allen gives the Bears two elite receivers while running back D'Andre Swift and tight end Gerald Everett round out a revamped skill group. New offensive coordinator Shane Waldron should be a big upgrade over Luke Getsy. The expectation should be for the Bears to make the playoffs in 2024. No question.
  18. Atlanta Falcons: Kirk Cousins, head coach Raheem Morris, and offensive coordinator Zach Robinson headline the new arrivals in Atlanta. The Falcons have an underrated defense and a host of weapons for Cousins to utilize. If Cousins is healthy, the Falcons are your NFC South favorites.
  19. Minnesota Vikings: The Kirk Cousins era is over, and it looks like the Vikings are gearing up for a run at one of the top quarterbacks not named Caleb Williams. J.J. McCarthy feels like quarterback Minnesota will eventually land on. With a good skill group and defense that just added Jonathan Greenard and Andrew Van Ginkel, it won’t be a long rebuild in Minnesota if they get the QB right.
  20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Baker Mayfield, Mike Evans, and Antoine Winfield are back, but the Bucs did little to improve their roster from a year ago. Regression is coming.
  21. Los Angeles Chargers: Jim Harbaugh is a big improvement over Brandon Staley. But who is Justin Herbert going to throw the ball to next season? The Bolts have to get one of the top three receivers in the draft to help out their star quarterback.
  22. Seattle Seahawks: The Mike Macdonald era will begin with what feels like a transition year. The Seahawks lost some talent on both sides of the ball and need to revamp their roster to fit what Macdonald and new offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb want to do.
  23. Indianapolis Colts: Priority 1 for the Colts is getting a full season out of Anthony Richardson. Might be the only priority after a lost rookie season.
  24. New Orleans Saints: The Saints have to eventually hit the full reset button. That’s not coming this year after more cap manipulations allowed them to run it back with an aging defense and Derek Carr. Not exactly inspiring, is it?
  25. Las Vegas Raiders: The Raiders made a massive splash by signing star defensive tackle Christian Wilkins, but they also lost their team “heartbeat” in Josh Jacobs. I’m excited for the Antonio Pierce era, but I need to know who is playing quarterback.
  26. Tennessee Titans: On paper, I like the idea of a Brian Callahan offense with Calvin Ridley, DeAndre Hopkins, and Tony Pollard. Will Levis showed some things during his rookie season, but a big jump is needed for me to be sold on Tennessee's future.
  27. Washington Commanders: I really like what new general manager Adam Peters has done in his first offseason. He and head coach Dan Quinn bolstered the offensive and defensive lines while adding a do-it-all back in Austin Ekeler and a reliable tight end in Zach Ertz. The Commanders just have to nail the pick at No. 2. Maye or Daniels? Daniels or Maye?
  28. Arizona Cardinals: The Cardinals beefed up their defensive line with Justin Jones and Bilal Nichols. They also added a good cornerback in Sean Murphy-Bunting. Trading for offensive tackle Jonah Williams will benefit Kyler Murray, but he has no one to throw to at the moment.
  29. New York Giants: A defensive line of Brian Burns, Kayvon Thibodeaux and Dexter Lawrence will be a nightmare for opposing offenses to block. That’s the good news. The bad news? Daniel Jones is still the quarterback, the Giants brought in Drew Lock to “push him,” and the line and receivers are mediocre at best. Not ideal for Brian Daboll and Co.
  30. New England Patriots: The Patriots had a lot of salary cap space entering free agency and didn’t wind up spending a lot of money. They lost a bidding war for Calvin Ridley and haven’t done much to build a good support system for a rookie quarterback. The Patriots should run to draft Drake Maye if he’s available at No. 3, but could a trade-down be in the works?
  31. Denver Broncos: Broncos Country … let’s rebuild – the Sean Payton remix.
  32. Carolina Panthers: The Panthers paid a lot of money to revamp the offensive line in front of Bryce Young. That was needed. However, there still isn’t a ton of talent on a team that just traded star defensive end Brian Burns to the New York Giants. It’s going to be another season Young has to try to survive.

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