ESPN identifies the best fits for the Bears in free agency

Free agency is just around the corner, where Bears general manager Ryan Poles will begin overhauling what was arguably the league’s weakest roster.

Good thing Chicago is projected to have north of $100 million in salary cap space to work with, where there are no shortage of needs on both sides of the ball.

ESPN’s Matt Bowen identified the best fits for the NFL’s top 50 free agents, and there were two players at key positions of need that fit the bill for the Bears.

The biggest concern facing Chicago this offseason is shoring up the defensive and offensive lines, which were the biggest weaknesses for their respective units.

Here’s a look at those players that Bowen believes would be a perfect fit:

RT Mike McGlinchey

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The Bears have needs across the offensive line, but tackle is arguably the biggest — especially considering Justin Fields was the most-sacked quarterback in the NFL last season.

Mike McGlinchey is ESPN’s seventh-best pending free agent. If the Bears opt to roll with fifth-round left tackle Braxton Jones, who impressed in his rookie season, it would go a long way bringing in McGlinchey to anchor the right side of the line.

McGlinchey didn’t produce his best tape in pass protection last season, but he has the blocking traits at a premier position to upgrade a Bears offensive front that must do a better job of protecting quarterback Justin Fields. He wins with angles and the ability to get off the ball, and while McGlinchey’s pass block win rate slipped to 89.6% this season, his run block win rate of 81.2% ranked fifth overall in the NFL. It could be a big, multiyear deal for McGlinchey, and Bears general manager Ryan Poles would be adding a starting right tackle to address the subpar play of the Chicago offensive line (58 sacks allowed).

Other offensive tackles currently set to hit the open market include Orlando Brown, Jawaan Taylor and Kaleb McGary.

DT Dre'Mont Jones

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Chicago had the worst defensive line in the NFL last season, and they’re in the market for a disruptive three-technique to help power Matt Eberflus’ defense. There are options in the NFL draft — and Jalen Carter has been a popular mock — but they would also benefit from bringing in an experienced veteran.

Dre’Mont Jones is ESPN’s 16th-best pending free agent. Jones, 26, is an explosive three-tech that would immediately upgrade the defensive line. He’s at his best when pressuring the quarterback, as evidenced by his 6.5 sacks in 13 games.

With edge/interior flexibility, Jones is a high-end mover who shows a quick first step off the ball and the short-area juice to penetrate versus the run game or create pass rush production. In ’22, he registered 6.5 sacks and 28 pressures, and his pass rush win rate when lined up inside (15.9%) ranked sixth among all defenders. He is an ascending player who would immediately upgrade a talent-deficient Bears pass rush, and I expect Jones to cash in with a long-term deal. The Bears allowed almost 5 yards per rush last season, and their sack total of 20 was last in the NFL.

Other defensive tackles currently set to hit the open market include Da’Ron Payne, Javon Hargrave and Dalvin Tomlinson.

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Story originally appeared on Bears Wire