Chicago Bears: 5 free agent targets who could start in 2021

Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports /
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Chicago Bears, Steven Nelson
Chicago Bears – Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports /

The pieces seem to be coming together for the Chicago Bears. In order to afford the high-end players they currently have, Ryan Pace retooled and reconstructed the roster on both offense and defense by having to take discounts and downgrades at certain positions.

Pace really made a statement in the NFL Draft by trading up and selecting both Justin Fields and Teven Jenkins. He gave up plenty of draft capital, but the execution was correct as Fields has the highest upside of any quarterback in the draft and offensive tackle is a dire need on the Bears’ offense.

Regardless, the Bears could still use a few different starters given some of their current situations. They have some weaknesses and could upgrade at a few spots. Bringing in any of these guys would immediately improve the roster regardless and at the very least, would be great depth.

Chicago Bears Free Agent Target: Steven Nelson, Cornerback, PIT

Following his release in March, Steven Nelson has generated plenty of interest as a free agent this offseason. Nelson though is stuck playing the waiting game evaluating all of his opportunities. One of the reported teams interested in Nelson is actually the Bears as well, but there are 13 other teams showing interest in him.

Nelson is a veteran cornerback who has essentially been a full-time starter since 2016 when he played with the Kansas City Chiefs. He saw his best season in 2018 in Kansas City where he caught four interceptions and was lockdown only allowing a 51.3% completion.

He played well his first year in Pittsburgh in 2019 in which he allowed a 50.0% completion for only 491 yards. He didn’t allow a single touchdown all year. He regressed last season before his release allowing a 58.2% completion. Nelson was released due to cap issues with the Steelers.

The Bears moved on from nickel cornerback Buster Skrine and All-Pro cornerback Kyle Fuller this offseason, so they need plenty of help at cornerback. They brought in Desmond Trufant, but Trufant struggles to stay healthy. After Trufant, the Bears have plenty of inexperienced cornerbacks, so bringing in Nelson would likely add a starter alongside Jaylon Johnson or at the least a veteran backup.