Offseason Team Previews

2022 Chicago Bears Offseason Preview

by Kyle Dvorchak
Updated On: February 18, 2022, 12:32 pm ET

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The final whistle of the Super Bowl marks the end of the 2021 season. That solidifies all draft positions and gets us looking to free agency as the next chance for teams to make significant changes to their rosters. In this series, I’ll break down the needs and goals of every team as it relates to the 2022 offseason. Included will be cap space, cut candidates, positions of need, and plenty of other useful stats and notes as we prepare for free agency and the 2022 NFL Draft. Special thanks to Over the Cap, Pro Football Reference, Pro Football Focus, and Ben Baldwin’s for all of the useful stats they track and house. 

Bears 2021 Recap

It felt as if the Bears' 2021 season was a lost cause before it even kicked off. Head coach Matt Nagy insisted on trotting out Andy Dalton as the starter to open the year and that went about as well as expected. Then, when he inserted rookie Justin Fields into the lineup, it appeared as though he had done nothing to change the game plan for the athletic rookie. Fields was used sparingly on designed runs despite his incredible combination of size and speed. After a disastrous start to the next chapter for the franchise, Chicago management fired Nagy and GM Ryan Pace. Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus was tabbed as the next boss of the Bears shortly after their season ended.

Key Offensive Stats

  • Points per game: 18.3 (27th)
  • Dropback EPA: -.08 (29th)
  • Passing yards per game: 189 (30th)
  • Rush EPA: -.11 (23rd)
  • Rushing yards per game: 119 (14th)


Fields’ struggles were apparent from his first start. He took nine sacks versus the Browns in Week 3 and would continue walking into pressure throughout his rookie season. Fields recorded an 11.8 sack rate, the highest rate of any quarterback in 2021. The most dumbfounding consequence of the rookie’s struggles was Allen Robinson finally failing to overcome poor quarterback play, something that had been a hallmark of his career up to this point. Robinson’s 410 receiving yards were the lowest of his career save for a one-game season due to a torn ACL. In his place, Darnell Mooney broke out with an 81/1,055/4 receiving line. Mooney was the only true bright spot on the offense as David Montgomery ran for 849 yards at a sluggish 3.8 yards per carry.

Key Defensive Stats

  • Points per game: 23.9 (22nd)
  • Dropback EPA: .08 (20th)
  • Passing yards per game: 192 (3rd)
  • Rush EPA: -.02 (26th)
  • Rushing yards per game: 125 (4th)


Injuries derailed Khalil Mack for the first time in his career as he notched six sacks while appearing in seven games. Luckily for the Bears, they just happened to have another former All-Pro pass-rusher on their roster. Robert Quinn, who hadn’t tallied a dozen sacks in a season since 2013, got to the quarterback 18.5 times in 2021. The Bears finished fourth in sacks but struggled when passers got the ball off, allowing 7.6 yards per attempt. A healthy Mack plus a revitalized Quinn will be a ferocious duo but the Bears will need to add cornerback talent to reach the next level.

Bears 2022 Offseason



Cap Space

$28.6 million

First Pick

No. 39

Total Draft Value


Notable Free Agents

WR Allen Robinson, DE Akiem Hicks, LT Jason Peters, QB Andy Dalton, TE Jimmy Graham, CB Artie BurnsRT Germain Ifedi, FS Tashaun Gipson

Cut Candidates

DT Eddie Goldman ($6.7 million in savings), RB Tarik Cohen ($2.3 million), OLB Jeremiah Attaochu ($1.9 million)

Notes: Chicago's total draft value is the sum of the value of every pick they own using the Fitzgerald-Spielberger NFL Draft Trade Value Chart. The values are only estimates until the NFL announces compensatory picks. Cap savings are listed assuming the player is cut before June 1st.

The Bears bet everything on Fields by trading their first and fourth-round picks in the upcoming draft to move up and select him. That left them with one of the lowest total draft values this year. Unlike other teams who gambled with their future, they don’t have a supremely talented roster to show for it.

Team Needs

Between Peters and Ifedi, the Bears are set to lose 22 starts at tackle from 2021. Peters was still playing at a high level but he will be 40 next year so retirement is on the table. Chicago has second-rounder Teven Jenkins waiting in the wings but Nagy mostly refused to play him as a rookie, indicating that he needs to make some progress before being trusted with protecting Fields. Larry Borom, a fifth-rounder from that same 2021 class, made a handful of starts as a rookie but allowed five sacks and 32 pressures across 633 snaps.

Wide Receiver
Assuming Allen Robinson walks in free agency, the Bears will be in desperate need of another option for Fields. Though Fields’ mistakes were often of his own doing, a safety valve out of the slot would give the young quarterback more layups to take instead of sacks. They could be eying a receiver as early as their first pick of the draft.

The Bears had one qualified cornerback grade out as an above-average option according to PFF, second-year defender Jaylon Johnson. Burns, a reclamation project from Pittsburgh, played well once elevated to a starting role but is now a free agent. Even if the Bears aren’t adding elite talent at the position, bolstering their weakest links in the chain will allow the pass-rush to shine.

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Coaching Changes

The Bears cleaned house after a painful 2021 season. None of the notable assistants or coordinators from the Nagy era remain, allowing Eberflus to hire his own staff. His first enlistee was Packers QBs coach Luke Getsy, who will serve as his offensive coordinator. Getsy will be tasked with working his magic on Fields, who displayed loads of athleticism and arm talent between seemingly unending stretches of mistake-laden football last year. While Getsy doesn’t have experience calling plays, both Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams have given him high praise. Rodgers even noted his ability to communicate, calling him a “really good teacher of the game.” Though Rodgers and Fields are worlds apart as players, both in production and style, there is optimism that Getsy can get the most out of the second-year quarterback. If the Packers’ 2021 season is any indication of Chicago’s new style, expect more RPOs and a quick passing attack. Rodgers was among the fastest quarterbacks on the draw while Fields held the ball longer than most passers. 

On defense, Eberflus’s style should match the talent in Chicago well. The Colts blitzed at the second-lowest rate last year and played man coverage on roughly a fifth of their plays. The Bears have two pass-rushers with All-Pro nods under their belts. They won’t need to blitz to create pressure but extra bodies in coverage should mitigate their weakness at corner. The change to Eberflus will also move the Bears from a 3-4 base to a 4-3. This means Quinn and Mack will go from playing outside linebacker to defensive end. Both players have plenty of experience with their hands in the dirt so the move won’t be an issue, though it will put more stress on the team to find better talent at linebacker.

Offseason Outlook

Without a first-round pick or an enormous stash of cap space to work with, newly-christened Bears GM Ryan Poles joins a team at the ground floor of a rebuild. The best they can hope for is to add depth on the defense and give Fields everything he needs to succeed. That should include a retooled offensive line and more options to throw to than just Mooney. 

Though Bears fans may not like it, a winning record in 2022 isn’t as important as developing Fields. The Ohio State product cost them a top-10 pick this year in addition to their first-rounder in the 2021 NFL Draft. It's now on Getsy and Fields to turn around an offense that has one top-20 finish in the past eight seasons.