Chicago Bears' takeaway No. 3: EDGE must be addressed in free agency
The Chicago Bears selected Caleb Williams and Malik Nabers in the first round of Lance Zierlein's Mock Draft 1.0, which means they didn't spend any high draft picks on the defensive edge. Now, gaining Caleb Williams and Malik Nabers shouldn't be seen negatively because of that, but that is the reality of the situation.
If the Bears don't get high-drafted talent at edge, there's a big need to obtain talent in free agency. That's not to say lower picks can't blossom into impact starters, but it's good to have plenty of depth at positions of need. The 'iron sharpens iron' type of ideology.
If the Chicago Bears go along with Lance Zierlein's Mock Draft 1.0, there are edge rushers who the Bears should be all over this free agency.
It's doubtful, but Josh Allen or Brian Burns would be big hits. Whether Jacksonville lets Allen walk or Carolina lets Burns walk, that's not as likely.
A player who's likely to hit the free agency and also be realistically obtainable is Buffalo Bills' defensive end, A.J. Epenesa, from the University of Iowa. Epenesa fits the type of size Eberflus looks for in his defensive ends, and he wouldn't be too expensive either. Spotrac has his average annual salary at $5.6-million, so a deal around two years for $11-million seems likely.
Epenesa will likely see himself testing free agency due to being a cap casualty for a Buffalo Bills team with big names to pay. And while his first two seasons were a bit lackluster, A.J. Epenesa has had back-to-back 6.5-sack seasons.
If the Chicago Bears go with what Lance Zierlein predicts, acquiring A.J. Epenesa should become a priority this off-season.