4 Chicago Bears free agent targets if money was no object

The free agent market is loaded with talent. Which players are at the top of general manager Ryan Poles' wish list?

Christian Wilkins is one of the top prizes in the 2024 free agent class
Christian Wilkins is one of the top prizes in the 2024 free agent class / Brandon Sloter/GettyImages
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This is the most important offseason in the long and storied history of the Chicago Bears, and it's just getting started. The Monsters of the Midway hold the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft, and most experts believe they will be selecting USC's Caleb Williams as their new quarterback of the future. They also hold the ninth pick, which will only further help them bolster a roster that is already one of the youngest and most talented in the league.

Speculation about what Chicago will do with its impressive draft capital has understandably dominated the Chicago sports radio airwaves, but long before Roger Goodell is serenaded by boos as he strides to the podium, the Bears will have the opportunity to strengthen their roster through free agency.

The NFL's free agent period officially begins on Wednesday, and the Bears could be one of the league's most active teams. Even after locking up star cornerback Jaylon Johnson to a four-year, $76 million deal, GM Ryan Poles has over $63 million to play with, the fourth-highest mark in the league.

Poles will still need to be smart in constructing this roster to make a playoff run in 2024 and beyond, but what would he do if money was no object and the salary cap didn't exist? Today we'll look at four free agents that the Bears would love to land. In reality, signing all four won't be possible, but because the Bears are in a great place financially, one or two of these are absolutely in play.

4. Christian Wilkins would take the Bears defensive line to the next level

The Bears' defensive front is in a much better place than it was a year ago. Midseason acquisition Montez Sweat quickly established himself as a foundational franchise piece, and he was smartly locked up to a long-term deal. Gervon Dexter Sr. proved to be one of the best rookie D-linemen in the league, and the foursome of DeMarcus Walker, Andrew Billings, Zacch Pickens, and Justin Jones, while unspectacular, was instrumental in helping the Bears boast one of the top rushing defenses.

All but Jones are under contract for at least one more year, which gives Chicago a high floor heading into next year. The Bears have the cap space to fish in the more expensive waters of the free-agent ocean, though, and Christian Wilkins would make a heck of a catch. With Chris Jones now off the market after returning to the Chiefs, Wilkins is the top interior lineman available, and honestly, with the Bears' young roster, he's a better fit than Jones would be anyway.

Wilkins enjoyed the best season of his career in 2023, with nine sacks and 23 quarterback hits. He'll still be only 28 years old for nearly the entire regular season, and he's a guy the Bears can count on to be on the field week in and week out, as he's gone three straight seasons without missing a game. He's phenomenal against the run, and combined with Sweat, would be a terror to opposing quarterbacks, as well.