The Chicago Bears are gearing up for the start of free agency with the most cap space available of any team in the NFL. Offensive tackle looks to be one of their top priorities for the 2023 season.
The Chicago Bears are in desperate need of continuity and stability on their offensive line. They have a gaping hole available at right tackle, which theoretically could be filled by moving Teven Jenkins out to his more natural position. The position he should have started at the day he was drafted in the second round by Ryan Pace. The smart move the Bears could have made was to keep Charles Leno Jr and then have Jenkins at right tackle. While Leno Jr was struggling a bit he wasn’t as bad as the two left tackles the Bears have fielded the last two years.
But that’s not what happened and instead, new GM Ryan Poles was left scrambling to find starter-capable players at both left and right tackle. Poles may have lucked out with drafting Braxton Jones in the fifth round as Jones immediately came in and started at LT and played well enough that maybe, he can be a fixture there over the long term. Although allowing a league-high 42 pressures and seven sacks and 12 penalties doesn’t bode well for him as a pass blocker. Moving Jenkins back to right tackle would seem to make the most sense in terms of overall value and the money that could be applied to more important positions.
For now, though it appears Jones is locked in at left tackle and Jenkins at right guard and as such the Chicago Bears will focus on finding an RT in free agency. Here is a list of the best available players at offensive tackle according to ProFootballFocus.
ProFootballFocus came out with their list of the top 101 free agents available during the 2023 NFL free agency period. Here is their list of players in order
#9 (98.) OT GEORGE FANT, NEW YORK JETS
#8 (82.) OT CAMERON FLEMING, DENVER BRONCOS
#7 (77.) OT JERMAINE ELUEMUNOR, LAS VEGAS RAIDERS
#6 (73.) OT KELVIN BEACHUM, ARIZONA CARDINALS
#5 (57.) OT ISAIAH WYNN, NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
#4 (38.) OT KALEB MCGARY, ATLANTA FALCONS
#3 (16.) OT JAWAAN TAYLOR, JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
#2 (11.) OT MIKE MCGLINCHEY, SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
#1 (8.) OT ORLANDO BROWN JR., KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
The top-5 offensive tackle free agents in 2023 could be targets for the Bears but there is already some headwind the Bears face in making a big signing to fill their need at RT.
First Orlando Brown Jr is already being mentioned as getting the franchise tag again for the Kansas City Chiefs. Despite big money doled out to Chris Jones and Patrick Mahomes the Chiefs are intent on keeping Brown Jr.
Second Jawaan Taylor has only now lived up to his draft status in his contract year. Taylor played decent enough for the Jaguars but a lot of his success has been credited to the quick passing game implemented by Doug Peterson and the elusiveness of Trevor Lawrence.
Jaguars beat reporters aren’t all that high on re-signing Taylor:
“That’s how Taylor managed to finish with a hum-ho 58.7 rating on Pro Football Focus while allowing just five sacks.”
That’s not exactly a player you want to break the bank for given that he’s struggled to make an impact with his current and develop any type of consistency in his play.
Next Kaleb McGrary with the Atlanta Falcons. McGrary seems like an ideal fit to come to the Bears, but the Falcons also have plenty of cap space to resign McGrary to a deal, the third most available of any team heading into free agency.
Isaiah Wynn in New England seems to not be a player the Bears would want to add to their rotation. Wynn has been mostly a bust for the New England Patriots racking up more criticism than compliments for his attitude and play.
The best player that may fit what the Chicago Bears are trying to do is Mike McGlinchey. The 49ers are up against the salary cap with a little over $8-million in free cap space. They are also going to have to sign Nick Bosa to a monster contract extension sooner rather than later and McGlinchey knows his worth and his eagerness to cash in.
McGlinchey already fits in with the Chicago Bears’ outside zone run game and is still fairly young at 28-years-old. But is he worth making one of the top-5 highest-paid players at his position? McGlinchey is going to reset the market for offensive tackles and it may be hard for the Chicago Bears to decide that they want to pay McGlinchey as much as he believes he’s worth.
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