Can the Bears Improve from League’s Worst a Season Ago?

Nov 6, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Bears wide receiver Darnell Mooney (11) controls the ball against the Miami Dolphins at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

They were content to tear it down in Chicago, so there was no great concern at winning just three games in 2022.

Can the Bears Improve from League’s Worst a Season Ago?

They have spent big in free agency, and they needed to. They also had a big draft, but how much of an immediate impact will it all have?

Last Season

Can the Bears
Nov 5, 2022; Evanston, Illinois, USA; Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Poles, right watches during the first half of the NCAA football game between the Northwestern Wildcats and the Ohio State Buckeyes at Ryan Field. Mandatory Credit: Adam Cairns-The Columbus Dispatch

The Bears got the number one pick in the 2023 draft thanks to their 3-14 record. It was their worst season since 2016. Their .176 win percentage was their worst since 1969, when they had a 1-13 record. Chicago started the season well, winning two of their first three games. They would then lose 13 of the next 14 games. It was the first season under general manager Ryan Poles, and winning half as many games as the previous season was not the plan. Bears fans console themselves with the number one draft pick and a rebuild, which is fine as long as progress starts happening this season.

Head Coach

Bears Choose Starting QB vs. Vikings
Jan 1, 2023; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Chicago Bears head coach Matt Eberflus watches their game against the Detroit Lions from the sidelines in the third quarter at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports.

The Bears appointed first-time head coach Matt Eberflus, who had been defensive coordinator at the Indianapolis Colts for the previous four years. He came to Chicago with 30 years of coaching experience, including 13 in the NFL. His first season became a bit of a free hit for Eberflus, with not much concern over that season’s record with a rebuild underway in Chicago. More than three wins will be expected in Year 2; that amount of wins usually gets you firmly on the hot seat. The most important job for the Bears is the development of their young quarterback. Nothing should take greater priority.

Star Players

2 Intriguing Players
Jan 22, 2023; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Buffalo Bills linebacker Tremaine Edmunds (49) looks on during warmups before an AFC divisional round game between the Buffalo Bills and the Cincinnati Bengals at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Justin Fields has the potential to be the next Kirk Cousins in terms of the polarising opinions he arouses. He certainly brings excitement to the Chicago Bears with his 1000-yard rushing season in 2022, which saw some real highlight reel plays. I fully understand why Bears fans want him to be their guy. Critics point to a lack of passing ability and doubt whether he will ever be a guy who can beat teams from the pocket.

In 12 games, he threw for 1870 yards, seven touchdowns, and ten interceptions in his rookie season. Last season there was an improvement with 2242 yards, 17 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions from 15 games. Can Fields improve again? He needs to, and significantly so.

D.J. Moore made his way to the windy city as part of the trade that sent the Bears number one pick to the Panthers. It was a good move by Chicago, they needed a genuine WR1 to help Fields out, and they got that with Moore. Since being drafted by Carolina in the first round of the 2018 draft, Moore has enjoyed five productive seasons. He had a three-year stretch of 1000-yard seasons between 2019 and 2021. That ended in 2022, when he amassed 888 receiving yards, but also, seven touchdowns were a career-high.

Tremaine Edmunds is the Bears big-money acquisition for this season. The former first-round pick had four good seasons in Buffalo, being named to the Pro Bowl twice. Edmunds is one of the league’s top linebackers, and along with fellow new signing, T.J. Edwards makes the linebacker position an area of strength on this team. Edmunds is a rare combination of size, speed, and athleticism who makes plays all over the field.

Teven Jenkins comes into his third season, and naming him a star player is a bit of a projection. Drafted in the second round in 2021 as an offensive tackle, the Bears moved Jenkins to right guard in 2022. It looks like a wise decision after Pro Football Focus graded him 80.7, the third-highest for any guard across the league. He is moving to left guard this season, and if he performs to the same standards again, he will be on his way to becoming a top player at the position.


Nov 12, 2022; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Miami Hurricanes cornerback Tyrique Stevenson (2) intercepts a pass against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in the second half at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports.

R1 Pick 10 OT Darnell Wright
R2 Pick 53 DT Gervon Dexter
R2 Pick 56 CB Tyrique Stevenson
R3, Pick 64 DT Zacch Pickens
R4 Pick 115 RB Roschon Johnson
R4 Pick 133 WR Tyler Scott
R5 Pick 148 LB Noah Sewell
R5 Pick 165 CB Terrell Smith

R7 Pick 218 DT Travis Bell
R7 Pick 258 Kendall Williamson

Free agent additions

LB Tremaine Edmunds – signed a 4-year, $72 million deal.

G Nate Davis – signed a 3-year, $30 million deal. 

DE Marcus Walker – signed a 3-year, $21 million deal.

LB TJ Edwards – signed a 3-year, $19.5 million deal.

RB Travis Homer – signed a 2-year, $4 million deal.

RB D’Onta Foreman – signed a 1-year, $2 million deal.

DT Andrew Billings – signed a 1-year, $2.75 million deal.

TE Robert Tonyan – signed a 1-year, $2.65 million deal.

DE Rasheem Green – signed a 1-year, $2.5 million deal.

LB Dylan Cole – signed a 1-year, $1.2 million deal.


4-5 wins

So much depends on Fields. Can the young quarterback take a jump in the passing game and make Chicago a genuine threat? If he can, maybe the Bears have done enough during the offseason to make a run at the division. If he doesn’t, I can’t see the Bears winning many games. The good news is another early draft pick would give them a chance to try again at QB.