NFL analytics giant gives Chicago Bears solid grade for 2024 free agency signings

Pro Football Focus issued grades for every team’s 2024 NFL free agency signings, and the Chicago Bears should be proud. Maybe not ‘hang the report card on the refrigerator’ proud, but proud nevertheless.

PFF gave the Bears a ‘B’ for their effort, which included re-signing lockdown cornerback Jaylon Johnson.

“Chicago had to get this deal done, with Johnson coming off the best season of his NFL career, and the team still managed to keep this contract outside the top five in a handful of key metrics at the cornerback position,” PFF wrote. “Johnson wins by getting it down to four years, allowing him another bite at the apple when he’ll be 27 or 28, but Chicago should be happy with standing firm.”

There was a contingent of Chicago Bears fans who grew frustrated with general manger Ryan Poles’ slow start to free agency, but his decision to trade for Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen squashed those concerns.

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Still, the Bears began the 2024 free-agency period ranked near the top of the league in salary-cap space, which made Poles’ decision to strike a deal with running back D’Andre Swift as his first major signing a curious one.

“Swift faced the Chicago Bears twice a year as a member of the Detroit Lions, but he maxed out at 151 carries over his first three seasons, often dealing with minor injuries,” Pro Football Focus wrote. “Chicago is paying for the 2023 production, with the Miles Sanders warning sign right in front of them. Chicago’s resources would have been much better spent elsewhere.”

I disagree with PFF’s assessment of Swift. Sure, the Bears’ strategy to target a running back in free agency was odd, considering Khalil Herbert and Roschon Johnson are under contract in 2024, but now that Swift is a Bear, there’s reason to be excited.

Swift is a more explosive and versatile running back than both Herbert and Johnson. He can be on the field for all three downs and in any situation. He runs hard, has good wiggle, is explosive, and can flip the field. And he’s only 25 years old; his ceiling hasn’t been reached yet.

Perhaps the Chicago Bears’ free agency grade should be higher, especially if they earned a ‘B’ from Pro Football Focus despite such a sour opinion of D’Andre Swift.

To recap, the Bears added the following players in 2024 NFL Free Agency (most notable moves):

  • Re-signed Jaylon Johnson
  • Traded for Ryan Bates
  • Signed Kevin Byard 
  • Signed D’Andre Swift
  • Signed Gerald Everett
  • Signed Jonathan Owens
  • Signed Matt Pryor
  • Signed Brett Rypien
  • Signed Coleman Shelton
  • Traded for Keenan Allen

Job well done, Ryan Poles, Job well done.

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