Chicago Bears: Signing this free agent would be a mistake for Ryan Pace

Chicago Bears (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Bears offense needs to be revamped in many ways but signing this free agent would be a mistake for Ryan Pace and the team.

In a dream scenario, the Chicago Bears would have more cap space available to make a significant splash in free agency. The team has too many holes though and one of them might be the quarterback. Rumors are swirling around like crazy as the 2020 NFL Combine takes place. Many of them have involved the Chicago Bears and quarterbacks to push or replace Mitchell Trubisky.

A report came out today that the Bears have been in talks with the Bengals regarding Andy Dalton.  If the Bears traded for Dalton, the team would owe him $17 million on top of another $9 million for Trubisky. This leaves little room to add pieces desperately needed on offense. One of those positions is tight end. The same can be said if they try to sign Marcus Mariota, Jameis Winston, Philip Rivers or even Tom Brady.

Another rumor is floating around that the Chicago Bears want to make a splash in free agency by targeting top tight end target Austin Hooper.

The Bears can make the money work. That is not the only problem. The team has a projected $26 million in cap space and can reach between $30 and $40 million more. Reports are that the new collective bargain agreement might increase the salary cap even more. That said, the team needs to add an offensive guard, inside linebacker (or retain either Danny Trevathan or Nick Kwiatkoski), tight end and more. Spreading their money thin on Austin Hooper would not be ideal.

Hooper is by far the most talented tight end to likely hit free agency. Hunter Henry might be better, but rumors are that the Chargers may franchise tag Henry. Either way, these two are about to make a great deal of money.

Multiple teams have reported interest in Hooper and it makes sense why. Hooper has made the Pro Bowl the last two seasons. He has averaged a catch rate of nearly 79 percent. He has been extremely efficient during his time in Atlanta. Over the last two years, Hooper has scored 10 touchdowns. He is about to make a great deal of money, just hopefully not for the Bears.

The concern I have is that he is projected to have a higher AAV than Jimmy Graham who tops the tight end position at $10 million. The sad part is that Trey Burton is ranked sixth at $8 million in AAV. Hooper is good, but I am not ready to believe he deserves more money in AAV than the likes of Zach Ertz or Travis Kelce. Not to mention, the Bears do not have Matt Ryan. Ryan is an almost elite passer in the NFL and Hooper clearly benefits.

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If I am Ryan Pace, I am not throwing $10-plus million at Austin Hooper to play here in Chicago. I would look at adding Eric Ebron or Tyler Eifert instead, or see what it would take to trade for Hayden Hurst. Adding a tight end on Day 3 of the NFL Draft should also take place this offseason. The Bears could turn their weakest position into one of the strongest if done correctly. Getting into a bidding war and overpaying for Hooper is not the ideal way of going about things.