Since the Bears locked up the No. 1 overall pick, we’ve been laser focused on what the team will do with the top selection in the 2024 draft. But before picks start coming off the board in Detroit, free agency will begin. The Bears have plenty of cash to spend and plenty of holes to fill on the roster, so there’s a good chance they’re active when the market opens.
If you want a sneak peek of some of the players who could be on GM Ryan Poles’ wishlist, these Super Bowl players could fit in with the Bears if they don’t sign extensions or get tagged by their respective teams.
CHRIS JONES - CHIEFS DEFENSIVE TACKLE
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Jones and the Chiefs were at an impasse for much of the 2023 offseason and at one point it seemed like they were headed towards a divorce. But the two sides agreed to a one-year deal and Jones proved once again that he’s one of the best defensive tackles in the game. Pairing him with Montez Sweat would not only boost the pass rush, but it would allow Gervon Dexter more time to develop and thrive as a second-wave lineman.
Jones racked up 10.5 sacks and 13 TFL in 2023, which earned him First-Team All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors. He’s got a history of success in the Super Bowl, too. He batted three balls down at the line of scrimmage in the team’s 2020 victory over the 49ers, made five tackles in their loss to the Bucs one year later and made three tackles in last year’s win. Jones also forced a fumble in the Chiefs’ AFC Championship win over the Bills this year.
NICK ALLEGRETTI - CHIEFS BACKUP INTERIOR LINEMEN
Not every free agent signing has to be a big splash to make a big impact for a team. Allegretti might not hit the market, since he’s proven his worth to the Chiefs as the next man up on their interior OL, but if he does he could help the Bears. Injuries happen on the OL. Starters Teven Jenkins, Nate Jones and Lucas Patrick all missed time due to injury and the Bears backups weren’t always up to snuff. Cody Whitehair seems to have lost a step after a long, reliable career as a versatile blocker. Ja’Tyre Carter has yet to develop into a convincing option after the Bears selected him with a seventh-round pick in the 2022 draft.
With Pro Bowl left guard Joe Thuney being deemed a “long shot” to play on Sunday, Allegretti might get a chance to play in the Super Bowl to show the world what he can do.
MIKE EDWARDS - CHIEFS SAFETY
The Bears have a decision to make with Eddie Jackson this offseason. His leadership and communication in the back of the defense alone could be worth his $18 million cap hit. But a nagging foot injury has cost him the better parts of the last two seasons, and Ryan Poles could decide to cut bait to save cash.
If he does, Edwards has emerged as a reliable option for the Chiefs this season. He’s started at free safety since Bryan Cook went out with an ankle injury in December and has limited opposing quarterbacks to a 48.4% completion rate when targeted. Edwards also has eight interceptions, five fumble recoveries, one forced fumble and four defensive touchdowns over his five-year career, so he has the requisite ballhawk skills to play in the Bears secondary.
CHASE YOUNG - 49ERS DEFENSIVE END
Poles opted to bring in Montez Sweat rather than his former Commanders teammate, Young, at the trade deadline. Their play over the second half of the season showed Poles made the right choice.
Young has looked out of sorts at times throughout the postseason, and injuries have kept him from reaching the full potential people saw when he won Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2020. His athletic traits are still tempting and it’s not unthinkable that the Bears would consider bringing him in on a small, short-term deal if no big market emerges for his services.
RANDY GREGORY - 49ERS DEFENSIVE END
It doesn’t seem likely that the Bears will retain Yannick Ngakoue and Dominique Robinson hasn’t developed into an effective pass rusher in two seasons with the team. Many folks have the Bears picking an edge rusher or two in the upcoming draft, but that wouldn’t preclude them from adding another end in free agency.
The 49ers acquired Gregory partway through the season and he’s been a rotational edge rusher for the team this year. He’s also familiar with Matt Eberflus from their time together in Dallas in 2015 and 2016. A seven-year NFL veteran, Gregory has 22 career sacks, 10 forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. Gregory has four tackles and one TFL for the 49ers in this postseason.
SEBASTIAN JOSEPH-DAY - 49ERS DEFENSIVE TACKLE
Joseph-Day would not come to Chicago to lead the way as a major force at three-tech, but if the Bears believe Gervon Dexter is ready to start, he could be a solid rotational piece. He played a career-high 71% of a team’s defensive snaps for the Chargers in 2022, but for the most part he’s hovered around a 40%-60% snap share. Joseph-Day has 11 sacks and 21 TFL in 71 career games. Importantly, he has an 8.5% missed tackle rate over his career. That would’ve been second-best among all Bears DTs last season.