Even the most optimistic of Chicago Bears fans aren't holding a lot of hope for the 2022 season. That includes are own David Kaplan, who has the Bears going 5-12 this year.
But is that a bad thing?
"I think that if they're 5-12 and if they know by the end of the season that Justin Fields is the answer, then that's fine. Big picture," Chicago Sun-Times' Bears beat reporter Patrick Finley told Kap on Unfiltered.
"You know, the the beauty of 5-12 this season is they get their own draft pick, which is something that they haven't had.
"The beauty of 5-12 this season is that next year they have the most salary cap money in the NFL.
"The beauty of 5-12 is that they use all of this dead cap space. I think they're third in the league in dead cap space - which is money you pay to players to play for other teams - that they burn through that this year.
"Reset, try and figure out what they have in their quarterback and then really try to be competitive the following season with a high draft pick. I don't have a problem with that.
"You don't replace your GM and your coach unless there's something really wrong and you've got to fix that. And that takes more than one offseason."
According to Spotrac, the Bears are projected to have $96.3 million cap space in 2023. That's roughly $22 million more than the next team on the list, the New York Giants.
If the Bears go 5-12, they'd have a top first-round pick. The Bears didn't have their 2022 first-round pick because of the trade with the Giants that landed Chicago Fields in 2021. Former general manager Ryan Pace had been willing to trade his first-round picks, doing so for Mitchell Trubisky and Khalil Mack, in addition to the Fields trade.
But they'll have their first-round pick back in 2023.
If there is one thing to give Bears fans hope for the future, it's that a year from know with 2023 NFL Free Agency and the 2023 NFL Draft in the books, new general manager Ryan Poles might have assembled a roster ready to contend in the NFC North.
So rebuilding the team might take more than one offseason, but can it be done in just two?