Top dream and realistic goals
Top Bears free agent to re-sign: OL James Daniel
The Bears offensive line is in trouble, but James Daniels isn’t one of them. The Iowa product is one of the best inside linemen in the NFL and has allowed just four sacks in his career. If they let Daniels go, it will be difficult to find another talented young player in free agency. If Justin Fields is going to take a step forward in 2022, having players like Daniels is essential. Re-signing Daniels will cost more than $10 million a year, but the Bears signed Cody Whitehair to a five-year extension in 2019 with an average annual value of $10.2 million, so it seems possible.
Dream Free Agent Target: CB Levi Wallace
This man’s career would make a great movie. First, he marched to Alabama as a zero star rookie and quickly became a starter. Then he signed with Buffalo as an undrafted free agent, became a starter midway through his rookie year, and has been a starter for four years since. He’s a perfect CB2 with six interceptions and 30 passes defended in 52 games. However, the Bears don’t want to overpay for a single position, and Wallace should be available for around $9.6 million a year. That’s significantly less than cornerback JC Jackson, who is expected to sign a contract worth more than $20 million a year.
Best Free Agent Target (Realistic): DL Maurice Hurst
Hurst could have been a first-round pick from Ann Arbor. Instead, after being diagnosed with heart disease, he fell in the fifth round. At 26, the Bears could unleash some of that first-round potential. He is a prototypical three technique in a 4-3 offensive defense. He had 76 tackles, eight sacks, one forced fumble and one interception in his first three seasons with the Raiders. He was placed on the Raiders’ 2020 reserve/COVID-19 roster and was later released. He was signed by the 49ers immediately, but ended up on injured reserve with a calf injury.