NFL Free Agency

Two reports link Bears to major free agent who would transform the offense

Typically, Ryan Poles has been disciplined in free agency

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A big time free agent has been linked to the Bears, a couple of times. Two separate reports have said the Bears are interested in signing dynamic running back Saquon Barkley.

Let’s start with USA Today reporter Tyler Dragon. In a free agency and franchise tag roundup published on Tuesday night, Dragon wrote that the Bears, Chargers, Eagles, Raiders, Ravens and Texans are all “rumored to have interest in Barkley.”

Not the most convincing link between Barkley and the Bears, but NY Daily News reporter Pat Leonard corroborated the report.

“Sources view the Baltimore Ravens, Las Vegas Raiders, Chicago Bears, New England Patriots, Houston Texans and Philadelphia Eagles as some primary potential suitors who have the resources, need and interest to possibly sign Barkley,” Leonard wrote.

Again, none of this definitively states the Bears want to bring Barkley to Chicago. It would make sense if they did, though. Over the past two seasons, Barkley has re-established himself as one of the top rushers in the game. Since 2022, Barkley’s 2,274 rushing yards and 113 rushing first downs rank fourth among RBs. His 16 rushing TDs rank tied for 10th.

Even if the Bears are interested in Barkley, there’s a chance another team is more interested. Both Dragon and Leonard listed several teams as potential suitors for Barkley in free agency, so it’s possible one of them offers Barkley more than the Bears are comfortable paying for a running back.

GM Ryan Poles has demonstrated discipline when doling out free agent contracts over his two previous offseasons with the team. He would need to view Barkley as a major multiplier on the offense to give him a bigger contract than a middle-tier free agent RB would command.

NFL teams are allowed to begin negotiating with upcoming free agents on Mar. 11. They can officially sign free agents to new contracts on Mar. 13.

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