Bears change tone, believe in rapid rebuild

Aug 26, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA;  Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) is stopped by Buffalo Bills cornerback Christian Benford (47) during the first half  at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Bears
2022 record: 3-14, fourth NFC North

Playoff picture: The Bears have missed the playoffs in 10 of the past 12 seasons. Their last postseason win came at the end of the 2010 season.

Biggest Week 1 question: Is quarterback Justin Fields ready to take his game to the next level in his third NFL season? The Bears’ hopes for a resurgence ride heavily on Fields, who is a gifted athlete but has posted an underwhelming 79.7 quarterback rating in his first two seasons.

What’s new: The Bears badly needed a top-tier wide receiver, and they jumped at the chance to acquire D.J. Moore from the Carolina Panthers before the draft. Moore put together three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons before falling short last season with 63 catches for 888 yards and seven touchdowns. In free agency, the Bears opened their wallets to bring in linebacker Tremaine Edmunds, who signed a four-year deal with nearly $42 million guaranteed. Other signings included guard Nate Davis, running back D’Onta Foreman and tight end Robert Tonyan.

They’re gone: Running back David Montgomery left via free agency, signing with the division rival Detroit Lions. Montgomery was the Bears’ lead back for the previous four seasons, averaging 3.9 yards per carry while tallying 3,609 rushing yards and 26 touchdowns in that time. His absence creates a big opportunity for Khalil Herbert as primary running back.

On the money: The Bears had flexibility under the salary cap this offseason, but next season they will need to make some decisions at wide receiver. Wideouts Darnell Mooney, Chase Claypool, Equanimeous St. Brown and Dante Pettis all are set to become unrestricted free agents following this season.

Get to know: Rookie right tackle Darnell Wright might not sell a lot of jerseys, but he will be an important factor in the Bears’ offense this season. The Tennessee product impressed coaches during training camp and will be part of a new-look group that tries to protect Fields.

Vegas says: BetMGM set the Bears’ odds to win the NFC North at +450, making them the biggest longshot in a relatively tight division.

–Field Level Media

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