We’re into the second week of free agency (counting the two “legal tampering days” that start the process), and the Bears have been busy reshaping their roster. As he said, Ryan Poles has so far spurned spending big money on a few players, instead adding more players on smaller deals. He’s also added to the team’s salary cap through subtraction, whether by trade or by releasing veterans. There have been plenty of moves, so if you’ve had trouble keeping up, you’ve come to the right place. Scroll on to see all the moves the Bears have officially made to begin the free agency period.
SIGNED KHARI BLASINGAME - FULLBACK
Blasingame spent the last three seasons working as Derrick Henry’s lead blocker in the Titans offense. In 2019 and 2020, Henry led the NFL in both rushing yards and rushing touchdowns. He was off to another hot start in 2021, but an injury limited him to only eight games. Blasingame doesn't just block, however. Over 32 games with the Titans, he’s caught 10 passes for 97 yards and rushed the ball three times for six yards. Those 13 touches have resulted in four first-downs, too. Blasingame also contributed to Tennessee’s special teams, playing 45% of the team’s special teams snaps in each of the past two seasons.
RELEASED TARIK COHEN - RUNNING BACK
When healthy, Cohen was one of the most dynamic players on the Bears roster. He was a threat in both the rushing and passing games, and was an All-Pro return man. But he tore his ACL in Week 3 of the 2020 season and hasn’t played since.
RELEASED EDDIE GOLDMAN - NOSE TACKLE
The Bears drafted Goldman in the second round of the 2015 draft, and before long he became a key cog in the middle of Vic Fangio’s 3-4 defense. But Goldman opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns, and when he returned he didn’t make the same impact as he did previously. Now with Matt Eberflus installing a 4-3 defense, a top-tier nose tackle isn’t as important as a dominant defensive tackle, so Poles parted ways with Goldman, who was set to carry the fourth-highest cap hit on the team.
TENDERED JESPER HORSTED - TIGHT END
Before tendering Horsted, Cole Kmet was the only tight end under contract for next season. Horsted has also shown chemistry with Justin Fields when he’s gotten the chance to play. Last season, Horsted only played six offensive snaps, but he made the absolute most of them by catching two passes for 21 yards. Each of those catches went for touchdowns, too.
RE-SIGNED DEANDRE HOUSTON-CARSON - DEFENSIVE BACK
Houston-Carson is a reliable and versatile defender who has played safety and slot corner for the Bears. It’s unclear whether the Bears want DHC to return to start, or to add depth on the backend, but he provides some stability and familiarity in the secondary.
SIGNED JUSTIN JONES - DEFENSIVE TACKLE
Hours after Larry Ogunjobi failed his physical, negating the deal he and the Bears had in place, Matt Eberflus was on the phone with Jones. About 10 hours after that, Jones was on a plane to Chicago. How Jones became a Bear is a crazy story, but now that he’s on the roster he’ll fill the important three-technique defensive tackle position on Eberflus’ defense.
TRADED KHALIL MACK - DEFENSIVE END
Technically this transpired several days before legal tampering began, but it’s worth rehashing. By trading away the face of the defense, Ryan Poles and Matt Eberflus kickstarted their roster facelift. In return, the Bears received a second-round draft pick in 2022 and a sixth-round draft pick in 2023. In four seasons with the Bears, Mack racked up 36 sacks, 14 forced fumbles, six fumble recoveries and two interceptions. His 14 forced fumbles rank fifth-most in franchise history, behind Alex Brown, Lance Briggs, Richard Dent and Charles Tillman. However each of those guys played over 125 games for the Bears, to Mack’s 53 games.
SIGNED NICK MORROW - INSIDE LINEBACKER
Morrow was an ascending player in the Raiders’ defense, but he missed the entire 2021 season with a high ankle sprain. He’s played all three inside linebacker positions, giving Matt Eberflus extra versatility as he works out where Roquan Smith will play. Morrow is known for playing fast, which is a key trait Eberflus covets in his players.
SIGNED AL-QUADIN MUHAMMAD - DEFENSIVE END
With Khalil Mack out of town, the Bears needed to find a new defensive end to line up opposite Robert Quinn. Muhammad is that man, following Matt Eberflus to Chicago after four years playing for him in Indianapolis. Muhammad is primarily known as a run-stopper, but can chip in on the pass rush as well. Last season was his first as a full-time starter and he notched six sacks.
TENDERED SAM MUSTIPHER - CENTER
Mustipher started all 17 games for the Bears at center last season, just two years after signing with the team as an undrafted free agent. But the next move on this list indicates that Poles has opted to bring Mustipher back as a backup, or has different plans for him altogether this season.
SIGNED LUCAS PATRICK - CENTER
After letting James Daniels walk as an unrestricted free agent, the Bears signed Patrick, who has experience playing all three interior offensive line positions. But in his introductory press conference with the team, Patrick said he expects to play center this season. If that’s the case, the Bears need to shuffle their line some more to find Daniels’ replacement at right guard.
SIGNED BYRON PRINGLE - WIDE RECEIVER
Pringle is a shifty playmaker when he gets his hands on the ball in the middle of the field. He can make defenders miss with his elusiveness, or by simply breaking tackles, and is a threat to score from anywhere on the field. He was buried in Kansas City’s stacked offense, but should have more opportunities to make an impact in Chicago.
RE-SIGNED PATRICK SCALES - LONG SNAPPER
The Bears signed Scales in 2015 and he’s been their reliable long snapper ever since (except for 2017, which he missed due to a torn ACL). He’s a key cog in the team’s field goal and point-after unit, helping Cairo Santos connect on over 90% of his field goals, and 96.9% of his PATs.
TENDERED LACHAVIOUS SIMMONS - OFFENSIVE TACKLE
Simmons made his NFL debut last season playing in two games, and starting one, at right tackle. The Bears turned to him with Germain Ifedi, Larry Borom, Teven Jenkins and Elijah Wilkinson all unavailable for their Week 7 matchup against the Buccaneers. But Simmons struggled against the Bucs’ fearsome pass rush early, so the Bears swapped him out for Alex Bars. The Bears drafted Simmons in the seventh round of the 2020 draft.
SIGNED EQUANIMEOUS ST. BROWN - WIDE RECEIVER
The Packers drafted St. Brown in 2019, but he never made a huge impact in their offense. He did make a mark in Green Bay’s special teams core, and that’s where he could see the majority of his playing time in Chicago, too. St. Brown has familiarity with new Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy, since Getsy worked as the Packers passing game coordinator for the past two seasons. So St. Brown can also help the rest of the Bears offensive players learn Getsy’s system and terminology.
RELEASED DANNY TREVATHAN - INSIDE LINEBACKER
Trevathan joined the Bears as a free agent in 2016 and was a key figure as the Bears changed their culture following the departure of Phil Emery and Marc Trestman. For most of his Bears tenure, Trevathan was an important piece in the middle of the defense. But injuries marred his Chicago career, and he only played a full season twice. With Trevathan’s release, only Eddie Jackson and Roquan Smith remain from the team’s vaunted 2018 defense.