3 Bears impending free agents who need to be brought back, 3 the team should let walk

2024 is shaping up to be one of the most important years in the long history of the Chicago Bears. What free agent moves should GM Ryan Poles make to start the year off right?

Jaylon Johnson is set to receive a lucrative contract this offseason. Should the Bears be the ones to give it to him?
Jaylon Johnson is set to receive a lucrative contract this offseason. Should the Bears be the ones to give it to him? / Justin Casterline/GettyImages
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Bears need to upgrade their offensive line this offseason, which means Lucas Patrick needs to be on his way out

Squint a little, and you can begin to see a real offensive line forming in Chicago. Darnell Wright had a solid rookie season at right tackle, second-year pro Braxton Jones played well after coming back from an early-season neck injury, and Teven Jenkins was the O-line's best player when healthy (which admittedly, has been an issue for him). Even free agent signee Nate Davis showed improvement after struggling early in the season.

Chicago's line is far from a finished product. Ryan Poles needs to add multiple depth pieces to account for inevitable injuries, but more than anything, he needs a new center, because Lucas Patrick has not been up to the task.

Patrick led all centers with 11 penalties, and his blocking wasn't up to snuff, either. Justin Fields was constantly pressured up the middle, and if I had a nickel for every time the Bears got stuffed on a run up the middle, I could have a nice lunch at Portillo's.

Chicago will almost certainly look elsewhere in free agency to fill its need for a center, or to the draft, where prospects Sedrick Van Pran, Jackson Powers-Johnson, and Zach Frazier are all highly-rated. Either way, there shouldn't be a spot for Patrick.