The Chicago Bears have been very active in free agency already, but a lot of fans are wondering why the main positional needs, meaning offensive tackle and defensive line, have not been seriously addressed yet. The Bears still have plenty of cap space and a plethora of draft picks, so the question is what is Ryan Poles' next move? With a name like Orlando Brown Jr. on the market, should the Bears dish out a large payday for him to move to right tackle, or would they keep him at left tackle and move Braxton Jones over?
The Chicago Bears could go a completely different direction and take a tackle at the ninth overall pick in the upcoming draft. There will most likely be at least two of the top three tackles available if not all of them. Peter Skroronski, Paris Johnson Jr., and Broderick Jones are all sure to be available in that area, and all project as starting linemen in the NFL.
Signing Jones would be more of a sure thing. He has played both tackle positions well for many years, but he is definitely better at the right side. Pro Football Focus graded him at 75.4 this past season, his highest grade since his last year in Baltimore. His overall grade ranked 19th in the league, trailing Braxton Jones who was 18th.
Chicago Bears must at least consider overpaying for Orlando Brown, Jr.
Adam Schefter reported live on ESPN that most teams view him as a right tackle, but he has insisted he wants to play and get paid as a left tackle. That means that Poles would have to pay him a large sum of money to convince him to play the right side. Even if they do commit to him playing left tackle, he will still ask for top-tier money. While he is not elite at that position, he is a Pro Bowler and a Super Bowl champion, so there is something to be said as to what he brings to the table.
From what we have heard so far, the Bears have done their due diligence in every major piece this offseason. They offered contracts to Mike McGlinchey and Dre'mont Jones but just missed out on them. Fans have to remember, Poles will not want to deplete the Bears of their funds going forward, so it will be interesting to see if he gives out the big contract that Orlando Brown Jr. is looking for.
The Bears are also not going to compete for a Super Bowl this year. They are building the foundation and still have young players who need time to develop, like Braxton Jones. Giving him another year at left tackle to see if he can build upon his impressive rookie year could prove fruitful and a lot cheaper than signing Brown to play left tackle. On the other hand, Poles seems to be going all in on getting Justin Fields the help and protection he needs.
Ryan Poles has surprised a lot of Chicago Bears fans so far this offseason, so keep an eye out for the trade market regarding tackle or defensive line, since those markets have started to dry up in free agency. Whatever happens, Poles needs to address the need for a talented tackle on the offensive line, whether that is signing Orlando Brown Jr. or drafting a top tackle.