5 Chicago Bears Who May Not Return with Shane Waldron as Offensive Coordinator

Chicago Bears, Justin Fields, Darnell Mooney
Chicago Bears, Justin Fields, Darnell Mooney / Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports
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The Chicago Bears are the talk of the NFL offseason due to the franchise-altering decisions that will need to be made over the next two months or so. While there is still nothing set in stone in terms of who will be the team's starting quarterback next year, the Chicago Bears front office and coaching staff alike need to be looking for players to add to the team that will help the offense, regardless of next season's starter.

The next iteration of this offense should look significantly different than the previous, due in large part to the change in the coordinator position. After relieving Luke Getsy at the end of the season, the Bears hired Shane Waldron and much of his staff, to run the offense. Waldron brings an impressive history as a play-caller and a developer of talent, two things that the Bears desperately need to unlock within their offense.

Chicago Bears, Shane Waldron
Chicago Bears, Shane Waldron / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Waldron and company will certainly look to bring in players that fit their scheme and will also look to get cheaper and more talented where possible, as will essentially every other NFL team. Thus, there are many players across the offense, even starters, who may not have a path to returning to the Chicago Bears for the 2024 season. Here, we will look at five such candidates, in no particular order, and discuss the possible reasons that Waldron will elect to go forward in a different direction:

Number 1: Center Lucas Patrick

The Bears' offensive line has improved dramatically since the beginning of the Ryan Poles/Matt Eberflus regime, and the group took another step forward in 2023, thanks to the addition of first-round pick Darnell Wright. Still, the offensive line seems to lack consistency within the middle of the group, and center Lucas Patrick may end up the odd man out going into the offseason.

An eight-year veteran in the NFL, Lucas Patrick started 15 games for the Bears just a season ago, but the team may elect to move on from the former Green Bay Packer, who is slated to enter free agency this offseason. Patrick had his season year with the Bears in 2023, but the 30-year-old is not far removed from a 2022 campaign where he was only available for seven contests due to injury.

Chicago Bears, Lucas Patrick, Justin Fields
Chicago Bears, Lucas Patrick, Justin Fields / Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

The Bears seem to have two young, quality tackles in Wright and Braxton Jones, and with another good young piece in Teven Jenkins, the team is very close to having an impressive starting five. The team could look to either find a franchise center in the draft or sign a capable veteran in free agency, but regardless of the avenue the team takes to replace him, Waldron will likely not retain a 30-year-old center who has no experience with himself or his scheme.