Breaking down every Bears move through first wave of free agency

The Chicago Bears have made a slew of moves through the first wave of free agency, including some notable signings, releases and one blockbuster trade.

So far, Bears general manager Ryan Poles has addressed concerns at wide receiver, offensive line, defensive line and linebacker. And he’s far from done.

Poles mentioned he’s a big proponent of the second and third waves of free agency, where he’ll be able to address depth concerns with more favorable contracts.

With that in mind, here’s a look at every move the Bears have made through the first wave of free agency:

Bears sign OL Lucas Patrick

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Contract: 2 years, $8 million

The Bears’ first move at offensive line was to sign a versatile lineman in Lucas Patrick, who has experience in Luke Getsy’s scheme in Green Bay. Patrick has played three different positions during his time with the Packers — left guard, center and right guard. It’s a solid first step for Poles when it comes to addressing the offensive line. The deal is an affordable one at $4 million per year, where Patrick will serve as the starting center.

Bears sign LB Nicholas Morrow

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Contract: 1 year, $3 million

The Bears made their first move in addressing linebacker concerns with the signing of Nicholas Morrow, who signed a one-year prove-it deal. Morrow is coming off a career year with the Raiders, where he set career highs in total tackles (78), tackles for loss (eight), sacks (three) and QB hits (six) in 2020. He suffered a foot injury in the preseason that sidelined him for the entire 2021 season. If Morrow establishes himself as a dependable starter, this will wind up being a great signing for Chicago.

Bears sign WR Byron Pringle

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Contract: 1 year, $4 million

The Bears signed wide receiver Byron Pringle to a one-year deal worth up to $6 million with incentives. While Pringle wasn’t the big-name splash many were hoping for in free agency, he’s someone who’s been buried on Kansas City’s depth chart. Pringle is coming off a breakout year with the Chiefs, and he has a chance to break out with the Bears. Right now, he’s the WR2 behind Darnell Mooney.

Bears sign WR Equanimeous St. Brown

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Contract: 1 year, value unknown

The Bears also signed wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown to a one-year deal. St. Brown spent his entire four-year career with the Packers before rejoining new offensive coordinator Luke Getsy in Chicago. He’ll have a good understanding of the offense Getsy is running. St. Brown served mostly as a depth option at wide receiver, which is what he figures to be with the Bears.

Bears sign DT Justin Jones

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Contract: 2 years, $12 million

After the Larry Ogunjobi deal fell through, the Bears wasted no time in finding his replacement in Justin Jones, who signed a two-year deal that was more affordable than Ogunjobi’s. Jones will serve as the three-technique in Matt Eberflus’ defense. Jones is coming off a career year with the Chargers, where he was especially impressive against the run.

Bears sign DE Al-Quadin Muhammad

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Contract: 2 years, $10 million

The Bears added another edge rusher in Al-Quadin Muhammad, who signed a two-year deal. He reunites with former Colts defensive coordinator and Bears head coach Matt Eberflus. Muhammad joins a pass rush led by Robert Quinn and Trevis Gipson. While he’s certainly no Khalil Mack, who was traded to the Chargers, Muhammad is a solid option coming off the edge for Chicago.

Bears sign FB Khari Blasingame

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Contract: Unknown

The Bears are signing fullback Khari Blasingame, which gives Chicago its first true fullback since 2018. Blasingame, who spent the last three years with the Titans, has been their primary fullback back since his arrival. Unfortunately, injuries limited him to 11 games last year, where undrafted rookie Tory Carter took his spot. While we don’t know details of Blasingame’s contract yet, it should be a favorable deal.

Bears re-sign LS Patrick Scales

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Contract: 1 year, $1.27 million

The Bears re-signed long snapper Patrick Scales to a one-year veteran salary benefit contract. Scales has been with Chicago since the end of the 2015 season, where he’s been a reliable long snapper during his tenure. Scales will reunite with kicker Cairo Santos on what was a solid special teams unit in 2021. Only, they’ll be without punter Pat O’Donnell, who signed with the Packers. Scales’ re-signing was an affordable deal for one of the team’s most consistent players.

Bears re-sign S DeAndre Houston-Carson

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Contract: 1 year, $1.77 million

The Bears re-signed safety and special teams ace DeAndre Houston-Carson to a one-year contract worth under $2 million, which is a steal considering Houston-Carson’s impressive 2021 season. Houston-Carson joins Eddie Jackson as the only safeties currently under contract in 2022. While Houston-Carson isn’t likely to be a starter, he’s a key reserve capable of stepping in and performing. Not to mention, he’s one of Chicago’s best special teamers.

Bears trade EDGE Khalil Mack

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Salary cap savings: $6 million (2022), $28.5 million (2023)

Dead money: $24 million (2022)

The Bears traded star pass rusher Khalil Mack to the Chargers for a 2022 second-round pick and 2023 sixth-round selection. While the compensation doesn’t seem like much, the fact that the Chargers took on the final three years of Mack’s contract is a big reason why they didn’t get a big return. Sure, the Bears have to eat $24 million in dead money in 2022. But they’ll save $28.5 million in cap space in 2023. After looking at some teams releasing star players, it’s a win that the Bears were able to get something in return.

Bears release NT Eddie Goldman

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Salary cap savings: $6.7 million

Dead money: $5.2 million

The Bears released nose tackle Eddie Goldman ahead of the start o the new league year after failing to find a trade partner for him. The interior defensive line is going to look different this year, and the switch to a 4-3 scheme likely contributed to Goldman’s release. Unfortunately, the Bears do have to eat $5.2 million in dead money this year. But considering Goldman was going to cost $11.8 million against the salary cap, Chicago made the right move in releasing him after failing to find a trade partner.

Bears release RB Tarik Cohen

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Salary cap savings: $4 million

Dead money: $1.75 million

The Bears released running back Tarik Cohen with an injury designation as he failed to pass a physical since tearing his ACL in Week 3 of the 2020 season. Cohen signed a three-year extension just before his injury, but his lack of availability made this an easy decision for Poles. With Chicago designating Cohen a post-June 1 cut, it frees up $4 million in cap space with just a $1.75 million dead cap hit.

Bears release LB Danny Trevathan

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Salary cap savings: $3.3 million

Dead money: $2.4 million

The Bears released linebacker Danny Trevathan, a move that many expected well before it became official. Trevathan has battled injury struggles that limited him to just two full seasons in six years, and his performance has declined over the last couple of years. Given Trevathan’s injury struggles, performance and age, it was an easy decision for Poles to make. With Chicago designating Trevathan a post-June 1 cut, it frees up $3.3 million in cap space with $2.4 million in dead money.

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