4 offseason moves the Chicago Bears should make in 2024, including Justin Fields’ decision

Chicago Bears offseason
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The Chicago Bears approached the midway point of the 2023 NFL season seemingly on the brink of blowing it up. A strong finish to the regular season provided hope for the future, but decisions still need to be made on how this franchise will move forward.

No NFL franchise has bigger decisions to make this offseason. Chicago must determine what it’s going to do with quarterback Justin Fields and head coach Matt Eberflus. If Eberflus returns and Fields is traded, the Bears build around the No. 1 overall pick. On the other hand, Chicago could trade down from the top spot for the second consecutive year and build around Fields.

Related: Chicago Bears draft picks 2024

Let’s dive into the offseason moves we believe the Bears should make this spring.

1. Fire Matt Eberflus, hire Ben Johnson as head coach

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We must credit Eberflus for his work with Chicago’s defense. After the team parted ways with its defensive coordinator, the Bears’ head coach took over the reins and Chicago had one of the 10 best defenses in the second half of the regular season. However, our priority is providing a young quarterback with the best offensive mind possible, it’s the best way to position them for long-term success. Furthermore, we want to ensure as much system continuity as possible for the quarterback.

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That means firing Eberflus and hiring Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson. A small benefit of this move, obviously, is it weakens an NFC North rival for the 2024 season and potentially longer. More importantly for Chicago, Johnson has proven in the last 3 seasons that he’s exactly the kind of coach you want to work with a young quarterback.

There are obvious risks with this decision. Johnson might not but cut out to be a head coach and losing Eberflus will likely hurt the defense. Fortunately, the Bears have the cap space to add more talent on the defensive side. Put enough talent on that side of the ball and even a league-average defensive play-caller and strategist should have some success with this unit. Winning on offense is most important, though, hence prioritizing Johnson over Eberflus.

2. Chicago Bears trade Justin Fields to the Atlanta Falcons

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The next domino to fall in this exercise for Chicago is Fields. He’s proven himself worthy of being the type of quarterback you can build an offense around. Unfortunately, he’ll always have limitations as a passer and if long-term success is the goal, some quarterbacks either offer more upside or greater stability over the course of six-plus years.

Teams like the Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots and Las Vegas Raiders should all be interested in Fields. While he can’t stay with the Bears’ organization in this scenario, Chicago could offer him the choice to pick his next team. There’s no better fit than the Atlanta Falcons.

  • Chicago Bears trade: Justin Fields, 147th overall pick
  • Atlanta Falcons trade: 41st overall pick, 109th overall pick

Related: NFL QB rankings

While the Bears likely won’t gain a first-round pick for Fields, this deal catapults them back into Round 2. In a fairly deep 2024 NFL Draft class, the improved draft position could mean the difference between landing a role player and a multi-year starter who can make an immediate impact. The bottom line, Fields gets a fresh start with a talented team and the Bears get to reset things with a rookie quarterback.

3. Re-sign Jaylon Johnson, add Connor Williams in NFL free agency

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Chicago already took care of business a little bit during the regular season by signing edge rusher Montez Sweat to a contract extension. Fortunately, they have a lot more money to spend and the first player that earned some of that money is cornerback Jaylon Johnson.

Re-signing Johnson is important for a couple of reasons. First, it sends the message even after the Justin Fields trade that players who produce will be rewarded. Developing homegrown talent and keeping it is paramount to sustained success. Second, Johnson was one of the best cornerbacks in 2023 and every good defense needs a premier edge rusher and a high-end No. 1 corner. Chicago now has both for four-plus years.

While there are plenty of high-end free agents the Bears should pursue, we’ll focus on a second-tier option that fills a need. Connor Williams’ free-agent value was dinged late in the regular season by an ACL tear. While Williams will need a majority of the offseason to recover and he’s now suffered two ACVL tears in his career, Williams will only be 27 in May. Plus, he only allowed 6 pressures in 280 pass-blocking snaps and earned a 90.5 PFF run-blocking grade this past season. When healthy, Williams can be an above-average starting center in the heart of the Bears’ offensive line.

4. Chicago Bears mock draft: Land franchise QB, load up on both sides of the ball

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The Chicago Bears truly can’t go wrong with either Drake Maye or Caleb Williams in the 2024 NFL Draft. Considering we hired Ben Johnson as head coach in this scenario, though, we’re going to give the nod to the quarterback who most consistently plays within structure.

Chicago Bears mock draft 2024

  • 1.01: Drake Maye, QB, North Carolina
  • 1.10: Jer’Zhan Newton, DL, Illinois
  • 2.41: Keon Coleman, WR, Florida State
  • 3.74: Christian Haynes, iOL, UConn

There’s no NFL comparison for Maye to Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago’s fans don’t have to relive that nightmare. Instead, Maye is a much closer player to Justin Herbert. The difference, of course, is that Maye will be put into a situation with a No. 1 receiver already on the roster, a quality running game and he’ll have one of the best play-callers in the NFL scheming up his offense.

Rounding out the top-10 picks, the Bears keep defensive tackle Jer’Zhan Newton in Illinois. Not only was the 6-foot-2 defensive tackle one of the best interior pass rushers in college football last season, he also excelled in run defense. A three-down starter in the middle of the Bears’ defensive line only makes that unit stronger. Finally, wide receiver Keon Coleman (21 in May, 6-foot-4) adds a big-bodied wideout to the Bears’ receiving corps. Pair him with Moore and you have a complementary receiver duo who can be Maye’s productive weapons for years to come.

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