15 Most Impactful Bears of 2022: No. 13 Justin Jones

The Chicago Bears wrapped their 2022 season, where they finished 3-14 and lost their final 10 games of the year. But the future is bright heading into this 2023 offseason, as GM Ryan Poles has the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft, a boatload of salary cap space ($118 million) and a franchise quarterback in Justin Fields.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be counting down our 15 Most Impactful Bears for the 2022 season. We’ll recap their 2022 season and look ahead to how they factor into 2023.

Next up at No. 13 is defensive tackle Justin Jones, who was the most consistent defensive lineman in his all-important role as three-technique in Matt Eberflus’ defense.

Background

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Position: Defensive tackle

Age: 26

Experience: 5th year

2022 cap hit: $4.6 million

2022 stats

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  • 17 games: 52 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, 7 QB hits, 4 pass breakups, 1 fumble recovery

2022 recap

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When the Bears’ signing of Larry Ogunjobi fell through (due to a failed physical), Poles turned to Plan B with Justin Jones, who signed a two-year deal to serve as the integral three-technique in Eberflus’ defense. Jones was easily the best defensive lineman this season, and he provided consistency to Chicago’s weakest position group. Poles praised Jones as one of the most consistent playmakers along the defensive front this season, where he led the team in tackles for loss and was second in QB hits. Jones also found himself thrust into a leadership role following the trades of team captains Roquan Smith and Robert Quinn. When all was said and done, Jones was easily the best free-agent acquisition by Poles in 2022.

2023 outlook

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When you look at the Bears defensive line, Jones is arguably the only guy that should definitely be brought back in 2023. But you have to wonder if Jones, with one year left on his contract, will be in his same role in 2023. Chicago could look to target a more explosive three-technique this offseason — be it in free agency or the NFL draft. Georgia’s Jalen Carter is someone who could be available if the Bears trade back from the first overall pick — or definitely if they decided to stay put. But listening to how Poles spoke about Jones as a “steady piece” on defense — and his performance in 2022 — you have to figure Jones will still play a key role on next year’s defensive line.

15 Most Impactful Bears of 2022

We’re counting down our 15 Most Impactful Bears of 2022. Check back every day.

15. LT Braxton Jones

14. CB Kyler Gordon

13. DT Justin Jones

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Story originally appeared on Bears Wire