As NFL teams leave the Combine in Indianapolis, the NFL offseason is about to ramp up. A brief timeline of what’s happening in the next two months:
- Now: teams manage their current roster, finishing up cutting and re-signing their own players to make sure they’re under the salary cap before…
- March 13: free agency begins. Teams must stay under the cap at this point, and they can officially sign players from other teams who are not under contract.
- April 25-27: NFL draft.
Since we are just a few weeks away from the six-week period that features the main roster improvement time of the offseason, it’s a good time to take stock of where the Bears are at.
Let’s start by looking at players they already have under contract. A rough depth chart for that is shown below; players who have not played meaningfully in the NFL are not included. I should also note that I included the Bears’ 4 exclusive rights free agents, because those players are all but under contract unless the Bears decide not to sign them (equivalent to cutting a player currently under contract).
Areas to Improve
Now let’s take a closer look at that roster to see what areas need to be cleaned up, ranked roughly from most-to-least pressing.
- Nickel cornerback. Sherrick McManis filled in admirably after Bryce Callahan got hurt last year, but he’s a 31 year old career special teamer for a reason. I’d feel much better about this position group, both in terms of starters and depth, if a new starter at nickel was signed and McManis slots in to a backup role next to Kevin Toliver.