After another average season, the Chicago Bears will be looking to make a couple of splashes this offseason in the 2024 NFL Draft and free agency. Regarding free agency, the Bears need to re-sign young cornerback Jaylon Johnson and expected to have $49 million in cap space.
With that amount of cap space, Chicago can address multiple positions, including the defensive line. ESPN senior NFL reporter Jeremy Fowler wrote Saturday (subscription required) that the Bears are “very high” on Minnesota Vikings star defensive end Danielle Hunter.
Hunter is one of the top EDGE rushers in this year’s NFL free agency class and could command a multi-year deal from multiple teams looking to add to a veteran defensive lineman.
Spotrac projects the 29-year-old defensive end’s calculated market value at a three-year, $60 million deal with an average annual salary of $20 million. Hunter is coming off an excellent 2023 season under Vikings defensive coordinator Brian Flores.
The 6-foot-5 defensive end posted career highs across the board with 83 combined tackles, 23 tackles for loss, 22 quarterback hits, 16.5 sacks, and four forced fumbles. Over his last two seasons, Hunter has produced 44 quarterback hits, 35 tackles for loss, 27 sacks, and been named to the Pro Bowl twice.
The Bears’ defense looked better with Montez Sweat in the second half of the season. But they still struggled in multiple pass-rushing categories. Nonetheless, it will be interesting to see how Chicago approaches free agency and if they will be one of the teams interested in signing the vet defensive end.
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