3 Pending Bears Free Agents Who Must Be Re-Signed

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bears head into a pivotal offseason with the No. 1 overall pick, another top 10 pick in the first round, and plenty of cap salary cap space.

Hopefully that is enough to add more talent to get the team into the playoffs next season.

The Bears project to have over $46 million in cap space which puts them in the league's top 10. They should use some of that space to re-sign a couple of their free agents.

Yannick Ngakoue, Lucas Patrick, and Dan Feeney should not be brought back. Ngakoue was not the sack specialist like he was with other teams and an injury cut short his season. Patrick and Feeney spent a ton of time getting shoved back after snapping the ball.

Those three having subpar years is a big reason center and another edge rusher to partner up with Montez Sweat are two of the team's biggest needs this offseason.

It would be nice to have running back D'Onta Foreman back since he was productive when he was active. Since he was a healthy inactive a couple of times this season, he will probably look for an opportunity to get more playing time. Plus, the Bears can draft a cheap replacement.

Backup tight end Robert Tonyan Jr. was not very productive and can be replaced with a draft pick or a different free-agent option on a one-year deal.

With Luke Getsy fired, hopefully, that brings an end to wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown. The guy can block, but he cannot really catch the ball. It also does not help he is the less talented St. Brown brother (Amon-Ra has emerged as a stud receiver for the Detroit Lions). Fingers crossed; the Bears can find a better punt returner than Trent Taylor.

Long-snapper Patrick Scales is a free agent, but he has reached the status of an automatic re-sign as long as he wants to continue to play.

That leaves three Chicago Bears who will be free agents that should be brought back.

Jaylon Johnson

Johnson picked the perfect time to have a career year. He had four interceptions along with a pick-six on his way to his first Pro Bowl selection. He was also named second-team All-Pro. The only reason he was not a first-team All-Pro was because DaRon Bland had more picks despite Johnson being better in coverage.

General manager Ryan Poles has vowed to re-sign Johnson, but not getting an extension done during the season is going to cost him.

Justin Jones

He had some rough moments this year. Jones also had games where he was a complete no-factor like Week 1 against the Green Bay Packers.

Then Montez Sweat was acquired, and Jones started to play really well. Jones had a career-high 4.5 sacks this past season.

He is not a game-wrecking three-technique defensive tackle. He is a productive rotational defensive tackle. Jones is still 27 and is a locker room leader.

The team should look for an upgrade at the three-tech. Although Gervon Dexter Sr. showed some potential to be the wrecking talent needed there. The Bears will still need depth and Jones would provide a lot of quality reps behind whoever is the starter.

Marcedes Lewis

The ageless tight end wants to return for a 19th NFL season. He will be 40, but can still block at a high rate.

With Getsy gone, you might think the Bears will want to move on. New offensive coordinator Shane Waldron likes to run two or three tight end sets to unleash the run game and Lewis is still blocking great. Poles even acknowledged the veteran leadership he provided at the general manager's year-end press conference.

If the Bears do a reset at quarterback, it can never hurt to have a wise vet helping Braxton Jones or Darnell Wright protect that valuable asset in pass protection. Lewis should only cost the veteran minimum and that is a price worth paying to help win games in the margins.

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