What to expect from the Bears' recent signings
|Friday, March 17, 2023, 7:32 AM- -|
For the first time in a while, the Bears have been aggressive on the free-agent market as they continue to go after what they want. That shouldn't surprise anyone when you look at where this team is financially and what they need to do to get back into playoff contention.
With tons of needs to address this offseason, GM Ryan Poles has addressed some of those already and will continue to address them as free agency rolls along, and the draft gets set to begin. While not every signing will be impactful, the Bears continued to add to their roster on Thursday as they added three more players for the 2023 season.
All three players have started at one point in their careers and should be expected to make an impact in Chicago.
These are the types of signings to expect from Poles a lot this offseason unless they go out and make a massive signing.
For the Bears offense to take the next steps, they need better production from the TE position. Sure, Cole Kmet was as reliable as they come the past two seasons, but apart from him, the Bears needed someone consistent in the TE room. Enter Robert Tonyan, who signed a one-year deal to join the Bears.
If the name sounds familiar, it could be that he spent his entire NFL career up north playing for the Green Bay Packers. Not much of a yards TE, Tonyan has always been a redzone threat and even had double-digit TDs in 2019 en route to a Pro Bowl appearance. Since then, Tonyan has struggled as he dealt with a torn ACL and then took on a lesser role as last season concluded.
The addition of Tonyan will be a massive pickup for the Bears and their offense. Not only will it open more things up for Kmet as Chicago can go with a multiple TE set, but they are adding a proving contributor in the red zone. That is one area that the Bears struggled in last season, and they need to be better if they want to be taken seriously this season.
Speaking of offensive additions, the Bears made a sneaky good signing late Thursday evening as they plucked Foreman from the Carolina Panthers. Signed to a one-year, 3.5 million dollar deal, Foreman has starter experience and is an excellent backup to Khalil Herbert, who is now the No. 1 RB.
After David Montgomery elected to hit free agency and then chose to sign with the Lions, Chicago knew they needed to get Herbert some help. The addition of Travis Homer would have been enough, but Foreman is a massive addition to this team and should see plenty of touches this season. The 26-year-old Foreman has been a backup most of his career, but has been getting more playing time the past two seasons.
2022 saw him have his best season as he finished with a career-high in carries (203), yards (914), and touchdowns (5). He did this while splitting time with the Falcons and the Panthers, so he benefitted from them not having many options. It will be interesting to see his role in Chicago now that Montgomery is gone.
One of the many problems for the Bears last season fell on their defense, especially in the trenches. Not only did they lack a pass rush to finish dead last in the NFL with 20 sacks, but they also struggled to stop the run allowing a league-worst 4.9 YPC. Chicago knew they needed to address this area somehow and have already picked up a pair of free agents on the line. The most recent is the addition of former Las Vegas Raider Andrew Billings, who has agreed to a one-year, 3.5 million dollar deal.
Coming off a season where he had 39 tackles, three tackles for a loss, and one sack in 14 games, Billings will add some much-needed depth in the trenches for Chicago. Billings may not be someone who can come in and start immediately, but he is a great run stuffer and fits well in the Matt Eberflus system. Look for him to be a great rotational piece on the defense this season.