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5 free agent targets for Bears following 2024 NFL draft

5 free agent targets for Bears following 2024 NFL draft originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Now that the NFL draft is done, the Bears have a clearer picture of what their depth chart will look like this season– and where they can still use some help. Accordingly, GM Ryan Poles will have a more focused plan as he sorts through the remaining free agents on the market to fill in whatever holes remain on the roster.

Compared to when Poles tore down the roster in 2022, there isn’t much work left to do for the front office. After the first waves of free agency and the draft, the team is set at the skill positions on offense. Their secondary remains stacked. If the team could use extra bodies anywhere, it’s on the offensive and defensive lines (like most NFL teams), so that’s where we’re going to look.

It’s also worth noting that the Bears probably aren’t in line to make another splash signing. Depending on where you look, the Bears are estimated to have between $8 million and $12 million in effective cap space after the draft, and Poles may want to keep some powder for use over the course of the season. So don’t expect huge deals projected here.

Green could be an option for a one-year reunion with the Bears adding just Austin Booker in the draft. The depth on the defensive line is good, but what he brings to special teams is better. Green blocked two kicks for the Bears last season.

Haynes has dealt with numerous injuries throughout his five-year career, so he likely wouldn’t be called upon to start for the Bears. But he could still accomplish two goals for the Bears: 1) increase competition for depth spots on the interior, and 2) help teach new offensive coordinator Shane Waldron’s scheme and verbiage. Haynes worked under Waldron for the last three seasons in Seattle.

Joseph turns 36 next year and is not the same player that he was in his heyday with the Vikings. But defensive tackle is one of the Bears’ thinnest position groups, and Joseph could be an impactful veteran presence to help Gervon Dexter as Dexter presumably takes over as the team’s starting three-tech.

The Bears brought in Ngakoue on a one-year deal to bolster their pass rush last summer, but his season ended early due to an ankle injury. If the medicals check out, it would make sense for the team to run it back since the two sides are familiar with each other. It would also take some of the pressure off Booker as he works to hone his raw talent in his rookie season.

RAKEEM NUNEZ-ROCHES – DEFENSIVE TACKLE

Nunez-Roches is younger than Joseph at 31, but with just four career sacks he doesn’t have the same track record of production as a pass rusher. He still has plenty of experience with 118 games and 42 starts to his name, and brings positional versatility to the table with snaps at NT, DT and DE. Poles has also played a key role in picking Nunez-Roches before. Poles was Kansas City’s director of college scouting when the Chiefs selected Nunez-Roches in the sixth-round of the 2017 draft.

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