Why the Chicago Bears should be buyers (and some potential targets):
Even though the Bears are not in a position to make a run this year, there are still several positional groups that the team could look to improve at the deadline. Mainly, the team needs more help up front on both lines of scrimmage, and while Poles seem to be keen on building the trenches through the draft, there are a couple of names that the Bears have to be at least somewhat interested in.
Chicago's priority should be to monitor the availability of any Washington Commanders defensive lineman. A unit that boasts four former first-rounders, Washington has focused recently on resigning the star interior line duo of Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne, who are both owed at least $20 million per year through 2025. However, both their starting ends Montez Sweat and Chase Young are set to become free agents at the end of the season, and for a team that finds themselves near the bottom of their division, it might be time for the Commanders to move on from one of these edge rushers.
Aged 27 and 24 respectively, both Sweat and Young provide interesting long-term options for the Bears to help build their pass rush around for the foreseeable future. It is somewhat difficult to foresee what kind of hypothetical package Washington would require for either player, but given the Bears' abundant draft capital moving forward, it should be a price that Chicago can afford.
Outside of a big swing for a franchise-caliber player, the Bears could be interested in adding younger depth, especially across the offensive line. Through the first seven weeks, Darnell Wright and Teven Jenkins have shown promising flashes against good competition, but due to either injury or inconsistent play, the offensive line as a whole has had its ups and downs throughout the year. A younger bridge player, especially in the interior, might be an interesting option in order to help the offense develop right now while still leaving flexibility in the future to use a higher draft pick on a guard or a center.
A couple of interesting players, if made available, that could fit these requirements include Buffalo Bills reserve center Ryan Bates and Baltimore Ravens backup guard Ben Cleveland. Both players are signed through the 2024 season, and could certainly look to make the leap into a starting lineup in the NFL. It may be unlikely that either player would become a long-term answer in Chicago, but given the fact that neither player's asking price would be too high, it could be an interesting option to add to an offensive line that has yet to consistently fielded the same starting group week to week.