Free Agency Is Not a Good Way to Build a Football Team Even When You Have the Cap Space to Spend

Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune answers your questions.

I see this season and next as being a rebuild. Evaluate the players on the roster in Year 1 and gut it again and fill out the roster with a bunch of one-year free-agent deals. Is 2024 when we can expect the Bears to compete again? — @illini8208

There’s no question the Bears are in the beginning stages of a rebuild, and with so many players being added to the roster this year on one-year contracts, there will be considerable overhaul again in 2023. The hope, of course, is that a handful of players they have added will emerge as good fits and be re-signed. The Bears will have a full complement of draft picks next year, and depending on how they advance on offense this season — assuming they do — they could be considerably improved in 2023, when [GM Ryan] Poles will have a ton of salary-cap flexibility to be more aggressive in free agency. The key will be seeing what kind of roots the team can put down on offense and defense in the year ahead.

I tend to agree with this in so far that I think I understand what the Bears are doing this year. They showed that they were willing to spend in spots where they thought they saw value with Larry Ogunjobe. But this is a rebuild year.

Where I hope I differ with many fans and media members is in guessing what the team wants to do in year two. After $45 million in dead cap comes off the books, many understand that the Bears will likely have a lot of space, though perhaps not as much as many people think after they fill out their entire roster this year.

What I think many people expect that the Bears will go on free agents free next year. I hope that that is not the case. I hope what they are planning to do is to spend money to retain players that they signed this year that work out and that they like. But I would hate to see them overpay and blow all kinds of cash on veteran free agents.

Free agency is not a good way to build a football team. The Bears need to develop the players that they are signing and drafting and get them to the point where they want to resign their own. I hope that next year will be the beginning of that process.

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