3 Chargers 2023 opponents that improved immensely in free agency
The Chicago Bears will not likely be in the conversation for a playoff run this year after a 3-14 season last year. That being said, from being the worst team in football to what they look like now through free agency is an immense improvement and a big step in rebuilding the team.
The Bears made a splash this offseason, starting by trading away the #1 pick in the draft to the Carolina Panthers. The draft compensation received (2023 picks 9 and 61, 2024 first-round pick, and a 2025 second-round pick) won't show an immediate improvement but has the potential to add great young talent and depth to the team over the next few years.
Also received from the Panthers in the trade was DJ Moore. Moore gives Justin Fields a top weapon to play aside Darnell Mooney and Chase Claypool. The Bears had the least passing yards in the NFL last season with no receiver eclipsing 500 yards aside from tight end Cole Kmet. Moore tallied 888 receiving yards and 7 touchdowns last season with a carousel of quarterbacks, both leading the Panthers and would be team highs for the Bears.
Moore isn't the only Panthers skill position player to come to Chicago this offseason. D'Onta Foreman was signed to a one-year deal as part of the plan to replace Montgomery who signed with their division rivals in Detroit. Foreman had a breakout season in Carolina rushing for 914 yards and 5 touchdowns, starting 9 games for the Panthers.
Both Foreman's yards and yards per attempt were greater than Montgomery's last season. The numbers can be affected by the difference in offensive line strength but with the Bears slowly treading away from Montgomery over the past few years, Foreman is a more than an adequate replacement to run between the tackles to play aside the speedy Khalil Herbert. Adding Travis Homer for depth as the #3 running back solidifies their backfield well coming into the season.
To help in the passing game the Bears also signed Robert Tonyan. The former division rival out of Green Bay was a great addition to play aside Kmet in the tight end room and give Fields even more options
The Chicago Bears made more moves than just bolstering their skill positions. With one of the worst tackle rates in the league, the Bears needed to sure up their defense, and the moves they made certainly begin to do just that. Chicago signed Tremaine Edmunds to the largest four-year contract in the league to an inside linebacker.
Edmunds is a young defensive star in the league with an upside in the passing and rushing game. To fix their tackle rate, Edmunds's 100+ tackles per season for five years straight will be an immense upgrade for the team.
To add to the linebacker core the Bears added T.J. Edwards to play alongside Edmunds. Edwards is another young defensive piece that can lead this team going forward. Edwards did the play relaying in Philadelphia and had an exceptional 2022 season with 159 tackles. Like Edmunds he brings an upside to both the pass and run game on defense as the Bears linebacking core for at least the next three years has the potential to be great if they add some depth.
Giving up the second-most rushing yards and the most rushing touchdowns in the league last season, the Bears made moves to add depth and fill holes in their defensive line as well. Chicago brought in some veterans to the line, Andrew Billings at defensive tackle and DeMarcus Walker at defensive end. The 2022 Bears defensive line didn't have any player with more than 3 sacks and only 1 player who eclipsed 10 tackles for loss.
Walker brings experience and talent to the line, with 7 sacks last season he had as many as the top two Chicago sack leaders combined. Billings brings depth and experience to the line, there is no real downside to the Billings addition as he was brought in as depth and only has the potential to play above expectation. The defensive line still is not solidified whatsoever but the moves made have surely taken huge strides in turning over the Bears' defense.
The Chargers will play the Chicago Bears at home this upcoming 2023 season.