Chicago Bears 2022 NFL free agent signings: Byron Pringle, Equanimeous St. Brown join slim WR squad – Chicago Bears Blog

NFL free agency is running, and we’re keeping track of every major signing, trade, and exit from the 2022 offseason, with analysis from our NFL Nation reporters and notes from our experts. . The league’s new year kicked off at 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday, which means free agent signings could be made official afterward. The first round of the 2022 NFL Draft begins April 28 on ESPN.

Reconstruction is underway in Chicago after new general manager Ryan Poles parted ways with former basemen Khalil Mack, Eddie Goldman and Tarik Cohen before the start of the league’s new year. Building around sophomore quarterback Justin Fields is the priority this offseason to put Chicago in position to eventually struggle in the NFC.

Here’s a breakdown of every 2022 NFL free agent signing by the Bears and their impact on the upcoming season:

Pringle signs a one-year contract worth $6 million with $4 million guaranteed, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

What this means: Ryan Poles saw Byron Pringle go from an undrafted free agent who missed his entire rookie season in 2018 due to a role player injury in Kansas City’s offense last season. Pringle had 42 receptions for 568 yards (13.5 yards per catch) and five touchdowns — all career highs — in 2021 and was most productive when lined up in the slot (61% of his snaps). He’s the second receiver Chicago has added in free agency, and the team still has some work to do at that position. Finding an “X” receiver should now be the priority given that Pringle and Darnell Mooney are best used inside.

What is the risk: Regression? The Bears will soon find out if Pringle’s production reflected playing in an offense with Patrick Mahomes or if the receiver is able to improve on what he did in Kansas City in 2022 and become a viable target for Justin Fields.

The Bears are giving Ogunjobi a three-year, $40.5 million contract with $26.35 million guaranteed, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The defensive tackle cashed in as a free agent after signing a one-year contract with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2021.

What this means: Chicago caused a stir in the first wave of free agency and found a disruptive three-technique defensive tackle for Matt Eberflus’ 4-3 scheme. The Bears didn’t necessarily have the right person among players currently under contract to fill that role, so improve the position with a player who is coming off a career-best season as he totaled seven sacks, 16 hits in the quarterback and 40 total pressures will strengthen Chicago. pass the precipitation. The Bears signing Ogunjobi to such a big deal would seem to rule out the team trying to re-sign Akiem Hicks and could spell the end of Bilal Nichols as well. Both players would become rotational players behind Ogunjobi, who turns 28 this season and will carry more long-term benefits.

What is the risk: Aside from a foot injury suffered against the Raiders in the AFC wildcard match, which Ogunjobi underwent surgery to repair in January, the defensive tackle has played most of his career injury-free and has appeared in 76 of 81 games in five NFL seasons. If he can stay healthy, that would be a huge plus for the Bears, who only had Hicks nine games in 2021 due to ankle and groin injuries and missed 13 games between seasons. 2019-2020. Ogunjobi is on the cusp of its peak. He should play an important role in the Bears transition on defense for years to come.

St. Brown signs a one-year contract with the Bears, a source told ESPN. Athletic were the first to report that a deal was imminent.

What this means: That means the Bears took their first step as a wide receiver by signing former Packer, who reunites with OC Luke Getsy after two seasons together in Green Bay. Giving Justin Fields plenty of weapons is a priority, and while St. Brown isn’t a high-end free agent, he has three years of NFL experience and offers depth. In three seasons with Green Bay (he missed all of 2019 after moving to RI with a sprained ankle), St. Brown was targeted 66 times and caught 37 passes for 543 yards and a touchdown. Chicago has a long way to go at receiver and plenty of big names available in free agency who can make an immediate impact.

What is the risk: St. Brown caught 59% of his targets in three seasons with the Packers. It’s not great, nor is its production in 2021 (9 catches, 98 yards), but it’s a low-risk move for Chicago to add a receiver to a very thin field. If St. Brown can’t carve out a role on offense, he could remain a shooter on punt coverage.

Scales agreed to a one-year contract worth a total of $1,272,500, which includes a base salary of $1.12 million ($895,000 guaranteed) and a signing bonus of $152,500, a a source told ESPN.

What this means: Stability for a special teams unit that was used a lot last year on field goals and changing position on the pitch after the attack was blocked. Scales has been with the Bears since 2015 and is a reliable snapper. The Bears decided to keep Scales in the fold with kicker Cairo Santos even after signing long snapper Beau Brinkley earlier this offseason. Chicago has several specialists on the roster and will begin deciding the best fit starting with minicamp and OTAs this spring.

What is the risk: Nothing. Chicago must now decide whether to bring back punter Pat O’Donnell or roll with Ryan Winslow, who signed with the team in February.

Morrow signed a one-year contract with the Bears worth up to $5 million, a source told ESPN.

What this means: Chicago has needs at every level when it comes to defense and calls on Morrow to help fill out its linebacker depth chart. From a Division III prospect to an undrafted free agent who signed with the Raiders in 2017, Morrow became a bright spot on a Raiders defense that struggled in 2020 and landed a one-year contract with $4.5 million fully guaranteed last offseason. He played 62 games in five seasons with 29 starts and has experience in several different linebacker positions as well as experience on special teams.

What is the risk: Morrow has missed the entire 2021 season after injuring his ankle in training camp. He’s 26, so he’s still young with plenty of potential after hitting career highs in tackles (78), passes defended (9), TFLs (8), QB hits (6) and sacks (3) in 14 games during the 2020 season.

Patrick signs a two-year, $8 million contract with $4 million guaranteed in the first year, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.

What this means: Shortly after four-year-old starter James Daniels signed with Pittsburgh, Chicago landed a strong inside offensive line replacement in Patrick, who has started 28 games over the past two seasons at Green Bay. He’s a tough physical lineman who ranked third among centers in pass block success rate (72%) last season according to ESPN Stats and Information. The Bears now have to decide where he fits best — center or guard. He has experience in both (allowed 21 pressures as a goaltender in 2020, 21 pressures at center in 2021) and has committed just eight penalties in 73 career games and 2,492 snaps.

What is the risk: Nothing. Patrick can play in multiple inside positions and allows the Bears to start figuring out how to best protect Justin Fields in 2022.

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