When the 2022 edition of NFL free agency opens its doors on Monday for the legal tampering period, the Chicago Bears will be hot on the trail of a handful of wide receivers.
One target has already emerged in Pittsburgh Steelers free agent JuJu Smith-Schuster. As of Sunday morning, the Bears were one of the top teams interested.
Beyond Smith-Schuster, the Bears are looking at a few other options.
One of those options became clearer on Sunday when Arizona Cardinals beat reporter Johnny Venerable tweeted that the Bears have been in on 25-year-old wide receiver Christian Kirk.
Christian Kirk would be a solid free agent addition for the Chicago Bears, but at the right price.
Just within the last couple of days, multiple reports have stated that the former Texas A&M standout would receive $15 million per year in his next contract, which would be a hefty amount to pay for a guy who hasn’t been a true number one option — and likely won’t be.
Kirk is a speedy, shifty wideout who can gain a whole lot of yards after the catch and when in open space. He’s a nice deep threat to compliment Darnell Mooney, leaving the Bears with a decision on who comes in to play the slot.
Over four seasons in Arizona, Kirk has compiled 236 receptions on 358 targets, accumulating 2,902 yards and 17 receiving touchdowns. He’s also shown an ability to take a jet sweep or two for some good yardage.
Back in 2018, when Kirk was coming out of college, a lot of Bears fans wanted Kirk in Chicago after he had a strong showing at the Combine. Since being drafted by Arizona, the Cardinals haven’t used Kirk for much more than a second or third option, depending on the year.
Kirk could absolutely provide value to the Bears, as head coach Matt Eberflus wants to get younger and faster. He’s after guys who know how to run and run quickly. Kirk fits that mold, and he would also potentially give some value on special teams.
Depending on what the Bears do with Jakeem Grant, Kirk could become their main return specialist. He was a monster return man in college and has since returned a total of 51 punts in four seasons with the Cardinals.
If Poles and the Bears pursue Kirk, expect a deal to look similar to a 4-year, $55 million contract. Next year, the Bears are currently projected to have over $140 million in cap space as it stands. So, going forward, they could afford a move like this — especially if it helps get Fields to where he should ultimately be.