3 Free Agents Chicago Bears GM Ryan Pace Should Consider Signing

Chicago Bears - Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Chicago Bears - Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports /
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CHICAGO, ILLINOIS -. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS -. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

2. Rick Wagner

Trading up in the 2nd round of the 2021 draft, the Bears selected Oklahoma State tackle, Tevin Jenkins, at 39th overall. A massive tackle with tremendous power and footwork, Jenkins is a mauler in the run game. Hoping to add a physical young tackle to this offensive line, Nagy and Pace were excited about his physicality and footwork. A monster in the run game and the passing game, Jenkins gave up zero sacks on 623 pass-blocking snaps during his final two seasons at Oklahoma State.

In a game against the Oklahoma Sooners last season, Jenkins suffered a Lumbar strain to his lower back. Continuing to experience back tightness the following week, Jenkins announced he would forgo the remainder of the 2020 season to prepare for the NFL Draft. Deciding to draft him despite his medical concerns, Pace and Nagy were hopeful for what could bring to the table this season.

During the first three weeks of training camp, Jenkins was never a full participant in practice. Sighting back tightness as the reason for his absence, Matt Nagy told reporters Jenkins back problems were improving each day. Today (8/18/21), it was announced that Jenkins is having back surgery and will be out until at least November.

During the beginning of training camp, right tackle Germain Ifedi suffered a hip flexor injury during conditioning drills. Missing the last 15 practices, Ifedi’s status remains in question. Losing the presumed starting left tackle and right tackle to injury in training camp, the Bears’ offensive line is in trouble. With so much at stake for Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace in 2021, more depth and experience must be added to this o-line group before the start of the regular season.

After a slew of injuries to the offensive line during training camp, the Bears signed nine-time pro-bowl LT Jason Peters to a one-year deal.  Earning a 67.7 overall PFF grade in eight games playing LT for the Eagles in 2020, Peters had his worst career season. Unable to stay healthy in recent years, 39-year-old Peters shouldn’t be counted on to play all 17 games by Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy.

Adding depth and experience to the offensive line is crucial for the success of this offense. Considering how terrible the offensive line has been the past two seasons, Ryan Pace should sign Rick Wagner to compete for the starting right tackle position. Hoping to never see a disaster like 2020 on this offensive line again, seeing Pace sign another experienced veteran tackle would be very comforting for Bears fans.

Earning a 77.0 overall PFF grade, and giving up just one sack in nine games, Rick Wagner was very solid for the Packers in 2020. If signed, Wagner would compete for the starting right tackle spot for Chicago. An upgrade from Elijah Wilkinson and Germain Ifedi, Wagner would provide the Bears with more depth and competition on the offensive line. Starting 96 career games at right tackle, adding an experienced veteran like Wagner would really help the Bears offense this season.