Chicago Bears would be silly not to pursue Andre James in free agency

Cody Whitehair's recent release has the Chicago Bears in a position to address their center need in free agency.

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The Chicago Bears must sign a center this offseason, even if they plan to draft one. Andre James is one of the best centers that could potentially hit the free-agent market. Should the Bears sign James this offseason?

James comes from the Las Vegas Raiders. He was a UDFA in 2019 when Jon Gruden was the coach and worked himself from a potential roster cut to a starter for three years running. James had just 117 snaps and one start over the first two years of his career, which is why it was surprising the team turned to him in 2021. However, he turned into a trusted starter for the Raiders, improving every year and missing just three starts over the last three seasons. 

Now, James is set to hit free agency, with over 3,000 snaps at center. He has seen multiple head coaches and General Managers come and go during his time, and the coaches that brought him in are long gone. James may be looking to cash in this offseason, knowing that this will be his best chance at age 27.

The Chicago Bears could look to the Las Vegas Raiders to fill their center need

PFF has James scheduled to make $9M per year on a potential 3-year, $27M deal. The Chicago Bears just freed up about $9M in cap space when they moved on from Cody Whitehair. The team would be spending about the same cap space, arguably less since they can smooth over the first year with a signing bonus. In that, they would be getting a younger, healthier, and certainly better player at the position. 

It would be a no-brainer for the Chicago Bears to offer Andre James that sort of deal. Will they have interest, will James make it to free agency, and will these two sides come together in free agency?

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