The Chicago Bears are in the midst of a complete rebuild. New head coach Matt Eberflus and new general manager Ryan Poles will look to bring the Bears back into contention within the next few years. In order to do so, their best bet is building around last year’s first-round pick, quarterback Justin Fields.
As of right now, Fields doesn’t have much to work with as far as offensive weaponry is concerned. Darnell Mooney is his current No. 1 wide receiver, but ideally, he’d have a true No. 1 target on the opposite side of him to take some pressure off. The team went out and acquired Byron Pringle during free agency and drafted Tennessee wideout Velus Jones Jr. with the 71st overall selection. They both have potential to contribute right away, but neither are guarantees.
The free agency market for wideout is pretty slim now that the NFL Draft has passed, but there are still a handful of notable veterans there for the taking. Among them is former All-Pro Julio Jones, who remains unsigned after getting released by the Tennessee Titans after spending just one year there.
Michelle Bruton of Bleacher Report wrote about several free agents that are still looking for new homes. In her article, she mentions the Bears as an ideal landing spot for Jones, writing:
“One free agent the Bears might consider is Julio Jones, who remains unsigned after being released by the Titans this offseason… If he can stay healthy in 2022, and if he’s not determined to go to a contender, the 33-year-old could be a valuable veteran presence for a Bears offense looking to develop some young weapons into future mainstays. It’s unlikely both sides would be interested in anything more than a one- to two-year deal.”
Over the past two years, Jones has been hit with the injury bug. He’s played in a combined 19 since 2020, dealing with numerous injuries in the process. 2022 was his worst statistical season to date. Jones totaled 31 receptions for 434 yards and just one touchdown in 10 starts. Though his production was down, Jones still graded out as the 27th-best receiver in the NFL, per Pro Football Focus.
Jones is not the player he used to be, but he’d still a valuable presence to the Bears locker room. Fields will need all the help he can get if he’s going to take that second year leap some fans are expecting. Inserting Jones into their lineup will certainly increase Fields’ chances to do so.