Chicago Bears: Free Agents Who Could be on their Radar

Dec 11, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Chicago Bears outside linebacker Pernell McPhee (92) and defensive end Akiem Hicks (96) celebrate after a play during the fourth quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. The Lions won 20-17. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 11, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Chicago Bears outside linebacker Pernell McPhee (92) and defensive end Akiem Hicks (96) celebrate after a play during the fourth quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. The Lions won 20-17. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /
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Nov 15, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers tackle Gosder Cherilus (78) blocks during the second half of a football game against the Dallas Cowboys at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 15, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers tackle Gosder Cherilus (78) blocks during the second half of a football game against the Dallas Cowboys at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports /

I have written about the fact that the Bears don’t have a heavy hitting high-caliber starting left tackle right now.  On the opposite side, you may be able to say that they are struggling a little on the right.  If they were to go with a free agent tackle they would not only need to make sure that this player would be an upgrade over what they currently have (at left tackle where they have Charles Leno Jr.) but someone who can stay healthy and contribute.

Leno Jr., is not a terrible left tackle but he’s not a franchise one.  But is there anyone better out there, in the free agent market, to take his spot in 2017?  Do the Bears even need to make a move here this offseason or should they concentrate on other positions?

In looking at the free agent tackles available, there are a few that could supplant Leno Jr., and most probably play better.  They include:

Alejandro Villanueva-Buffalo Bills

Andrew Whitworth-Cincinnati Bengals

Eric Winston-Cincinnati Bengals

Riley Reiff-Detroit Lions

Matt Kalil-Minnesota Vikings

Andre Smith-Minnesota Vikings

Sebastian Vollmer-New England Patriots

Marshall Newhouse-New York Giants

Gosder Cherilus-Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The list above is quite impressive and there is a lot of talent there.  Some of those guys be re-signed by the current teams by the time free agency hits which could be unfortunate.  But if any one of them were available and the Bears could swoop in and pick one of them up, their offensive line would be instantly better.  Most the guys on the list are better than what the Bears’ have now.  Getting anyone would be better than just sitting by and doing nothing.

The draft is also a good place to look here but for faster results, free agency can get you to where you want to go quicker.  The Bears can grab a free agent then get a younger player to develop behind the veteran.  That may be the way they need to do this at left tackle.