More than 20 players from last year’s team that finished 6-11 are gone, including familiar names such as outside linebacker Khalil Mack and wide receiver Allen Robinson II.
Each position group will have a new starter, except for quarterback with Justin Fields and running back with David Montgomery. Chicago added 11 draft picks to a team that is considerably younger at a handful of positions.
As NFL training camps swing into action this week, here’s a look at the Bears’ position groups that experienced the most change this offseason.
The Bears acquired Reiff on Tuesday after he spent last season in Cincinnati, where he started 12 games at right tackle before his season was cut short due to an ankle injury. The 33-year-old has extensive experience playing left and right tackle, with 144 career starts between both positions. When we last saw the Bears practice, fifth-round rookie Jones had supplanted Teven Jenkins, a second-round pick in 2021, at left tackle with the first-team offensive line. Opposite Jones was Larry Borom at right tackle.
It appears Chicago wants more assurance in protecting Fields’ blindside, which puts Reiff in position to move back to left tackle, where he spent four seasons as the starter in Minnesota (2017-20).
Patrick was one of Chicago’s bigger signings when free agency opened in March. The former Packers lineman has the flexibility to play center or right guard, but he quickly confirmed that he would be playing center in Chicago. The only two offensive line positions that felt close to being solidified at the end of offseason workouts were Patrick at center and Cody Whitehair at left guard.
Eberflus noted last month that “all combinations are open” along the offensive line.
“I would say there’s not a deadline,” Eberflus said Tuesday. “But like I said in the spring, the sooner the better.”
Chicago brought in Dakota Dozier to contend at right guard, but the seven-year veteran tore an ACL during minicamp and was placed on injured reserve. While Sam Mustipher received most of those reps during the spring, Schofield has 82 career starts and only gave up two sacks in 907 snaps last season. That experience could put him on the inside track to landing that spot.
The Bears allowed an NFL-high 58 sacks last season. Fields was pressured on 36% of his dropbacks, which was the second-highest rate for any quarterback.