3 Free Agents the Bears Should Sign Before Mandatory Minicamp

The Bears have had an incredible offseason, but why slow down? Now is the time to get cheap, underrated players that could change a franchise.
General Manager Ryan Poles could sign more players before the 2024 season starts
General Manager Ryan Poles could sign more players before the 2024 season starts / Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports
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Connor Williams

Anyone who watched Bears games the last year or two has watched QB Justin Fields run for his life most of the game. That scrambling ability made him one of the most electrifying players in the NFL. But it didn't really add up to a sustainable offensive strategy.

Much conversation was had if this was an offensive line issue, if Fields was busting the pocket too early, or if he was missing open receivers during his reads. Regardless, some of the issues were definitely O-line related as PFF graded the unit as 28th in the league in 2023. One of the highlights of the line was 2023 first-round choice OT Darnell Wright. There is no doubt that more improvement is available.

At center, the Bears have already set up a competition between ex-Bill Ryan Bates (78.7 rating) and ex-Ram Coleman Shelton. Bates only played 35 offensive snaps in 2023 and in 2022 started 15 games, splitting time between guard and center. Shelton started all 17 games last year at center and he also has experience at guard.

But Connor Williams was rated as the second-best center in 2023 with an 86.5 rating. As a Dolphin, this year should have been a huge contract extension for Williams, but he tore his ACL late in the season. The expectation is that Williams should be back to play in 2024, probably sooner than later. The injury makes Williams a risk, though he has been outstanding, and only getting better in recent years.

Williams would be a cheap addition with absolutely incredible upside (especially at age 27) in the protection of Caleb Williams.