Chicago Bears, Las Vegas Raiders named landing spots for top free-agent

Bears, Raiders named landing spots for top free-agent
from Aaron Becker, with

There will be a ton of talent available in NFL free agency, which begins on March 13 at 4 p.m. ET. However, there seems to be a consensus top upcoming free agent and Pro Football Focus believes two teams are poised to land him.

PFF’s Brad Spielberger named the Chicago Bears and Las Vegas Raiders as landing spots for Chiefs defensive lineman Chris Jones.

The five-time Pro Bowler is PFF’s top free agent this offseason after posting 74 tackles, 26 sacks and two forced fumbles over the past two seasons. Jones has been a key piece to Kansas City’s defense, helping the team win three Super Bowls in the past five years.

The Chiefs could very well re-sign the 29-year-old thanks to the NFL raising the salary cap by an unprecedented $30 million.

However, Jones is not expected to receive the franchise tag, which would be worth $32 million instead of the regular $19.7M, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. If the two sides are unable to reach an agreement on a new deal, the Bears or Raiders could be the benefactors.

Both teams are among the top 10 teams with the most salary cap space and Spielberger thinks each has a good argument for making a run at Jones if he were to hit the open market.

“The Bears may not be looking to make this big of a splash, and general manager Ryan Poles has often prioritized spending on younger players, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t make this connection,” Spielberger writes. “The missing piece to Chicago’s ascending defense taking another step is a proven interior pass rusher.”

Chicago’s defense is certainly a work in progress. Defensive end Montez Sweat led the team in sacks (six) after joining it at the trade deadline. Jones could give the Bears their first double-digit sack leader since Robert Quinn posted 18.5 sacks in 2021.

Las Vegas, on the other hand, could strengthen its defense, which was playing very well over the second half of 2023.

“The Raiders’ defense finished the second half of the season on an absolute tear, but a few key contributors on the interior defensive line are pending free agents,” Spielberger writes. “A duo of Maxx Crosby and Chris Jones would immediately become one of the league’s best.”

Spielberger is right. Pairing Jones with Crosby could create one of the most feared duos in the league. Of course, this is only possible if their AFC West division rival lets Jones walk.