Bears' Boldest Free Agency Gamble of the 2024 NFL Offseason

V. Carbonneau
June 8, 2024  (1:11)

Ryan Poles
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The Chicago Bears have made headlines this offseason, igniting optimism for a team that hasn't seen the NFL playoffs since 2020 and hasn't won a postseason game since 2005.

After years of struggling on offense, the Bears hope they've found their solution by selecting Caleb Williams with the No. 1 pick in the 2024 Draft. Williams, already named the starter, showed exceptional skills at USC, including arm strength, accuracy, touch, and pocket mobility. The Bears believe these attributes will translate well to the NFL.
Alongside Williams, the Bears made significant additions to their receiving corps. They acquired veteran wide receiver Keenan Allen from the Los Angeles Chargers and drafted Washington wideout Rome Odunze. General manager Ryan Poles aims to provide his young quarterback with the star power needed for a potent passing game.
With top receiver D.J. Moore and solid tight end Cole Kmet already on the roster, the Bears' passing game is expected to improve significantly from last year's 27th ranking. A move into the top half of the league, or even the top 10, seems plausible.
Bears Add D'Andre Swift to Boost the Running Game
Understanding that a robust passing game alone won't suffice for a rookie quarterback, Poles reinforced the running game by signing free agent running back D'Andre Swift. After spending three seasons with the Detroit Lions, Swift had a strong year with the Philadelphia Eagles, rushing for 1,049 yards with a 4.6 yards per carry average and five touchdowns. His performance earned him a three-year, $24 million deal with the Bears.
However, Swift's tenure with the Lions saw him in a role-player capacity, never rushing for more than 617 yards. In Chicago, he'll face competition from Khalil Herbert. Although Swift is expected to be the No. 1 running back, it won't be easy to take playing time away from Herbert. If Swift doesn't assert himself and ends up splitting time or becoming a second-string player, the Bears won't get full value from their investment.
Moreover, if Swift underperforms and the running game falters, it could impede Williams' development and effectiveness.
### Swift Needs a Fast Start
The pressure is on the Bears to show significant improvement for an offense that has stagnated in recent years. With the addition of Williams, Allen, Odunze, and Swift, the Bears need a strong start when they open the season against the Tennessee Titans in Week 1. Following that, they face road games against the Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts, then home games against the Los Angeles Rams, Carolina Panthers, and Jacksonville Jaguars.
This schedule should favor the Bears, and Swift's ability to provide a consistent running game is crucial. If he can deliver a solid ground game, it will ease Williams' transition to the NFL. Conversely, if Swift fails to offer a reliable running threat, opponents will likely pressure Williams more aggressively.
June 8   |   57 answers
Bears' Boldest Free Agency Gamble of the 2024 NFL Offseason

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