Here’s a look at Chicago Bears’ depth chart following 1st week of free agency, Justin Fields trade

USC’s Caleb Williams seems likely to fill starting role at QB

Chicago Bears wide receiver DJ Moore tries to break away from Atlanta Falcons safety Jessie Bates III during their game Sunday, Dec. 31, 2023, at Soldier Field in Chicago.

It was a busy first week of free agency at Halas Hall, along with a franchise-altering weekend. The Bears on Saturday traded starting quarterback Justin Fields to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The move paved the way for the Bears to select a quarterback with the No. 1 overall pick in next month’s NFL draft. USC quarterback Caleb Williams is widely considered the favorite to become the first pick. The trade ended a three-year run for Fields with the Bears. The move wasn’t a surprise, necessarily, but it was still an emotional moment for many Bears fans who stood behind Fields.

In addition to dealing Fields, the Bears signed a half dozen free agents and traded for star receiver Keenan Allen. Atop the list of new additions through free agency were running back D’Andre Swift and safety Kevin Byard.

The Bears currently hold four selections in next month’s draft, including the No. 1 overall pick and the No. 9 overall pick. Those are opportunities to add more talent. In both drafts since Ryan Poles became the team’s general manager, the Bears have traded down in order to acquire more picks. So it’s entirely possible the Bears wind up selecting more than four players during draft weekend.

So where do all these moves leave the team? Here’s an early look at the Bears’ depth chart as it stands as of March 18.


Starter: TBD

Backups: Tyson Bagent, Brett Rypien

There’s currently a huge hole here. A hole that likely has Caleb Williams’ name on it.

Running back

Philadelphia Eagles running back D'Andre Swift walks off the field after defeating the New York Giants, Monday, Dec. 25, 2023, in Philadelphia.

Starters: D’Andre Swift, Khari Blasingame (fullback)

Backups: Khalil Herbert, Roschon Johnson, Travis Homer

Adding Swift makes this a much deeper group. When everyone is healthy, Johnson is likely to be relegated to a special teams role. Herbert began last season as the starter, but now likely will take a back seat to Swift.

Wide receiver

Starters: DJ Moore, Keenan Allen, Tyler Scott

Backups: Dante Pettis, Velus Jones Jr., Collin Johnson, Nsimba Webster

The Bears traded a fourth-round draft pick to the Chargers in exchange for Allen. Expect Moore and Allen to be on the field about every snap, assuming both are healthy. As of right now, the third starting spot probably would go to either Scott or Pettis, but the Bears still could look to add another receiver in the draft.

Tight end

Former Los Angeles Chargers tight end Gerald Everett makes a catch prior to a game, Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023, in Foxborough, Mass. The Chicago Bears and former Los Angeles Chargers tight end Gerald Everett have agreed to a two-year, $12 million contract that guarantees $6.1 million, a person familiar with the situation said Tuesday, March 12, 2024.

Starter: Cole Kmet

Backups: Gerald Everett, Stephen Carlson

With new offensive coordinator Shane Waldron, Kmet and Everett probably will find themselves on the field often. Everett brings previous experience in Waldron’s offense. The Bears will likely add another couple tight ends either through the draft or via undrafted rookies.

Offensive line

Starters: Braxton Jones (LT), Teven Jenkins (LG), Coleman Shelton (C), Nate Davis (RG), Darnell Wright (RT)

Backups: Ryan Bates, Larry Borom, Matt Pryor, Ja’Tyre Carter, Aviante Collins, Jerome Carvin, Doug Kramer, Bill Murray

Center was the clear weakness on the Bears’ offensive line heading into the offseason. The Bears have addressed it twofold by signing former Rams center Coleman Shelton and trading for versatile interior lineman Ryan Bates (who can play every position). The Bears believe in Jones and Wright at the tackle spots. Jenkins and Davis are likely to return as starters.

Defensive line

Chicago Bears defensive end Montez Sweat celebrates after stopping the Detroit Lions on 4th down late in their game Sunday, Dec. 10, 2023 at Soldier Field in Chicago.

Starters: Montez Sweat (DE), Gervon Dexter (DT), Andrew Billings (DT), DeMarcus Walker (DE)

Backups: Zacch Pickens, Dominique Robinson, Jake Martin, Byron Cowart, Khalid Kareem, Michael Dwumfour, Daniel Hardy

As of now, the Bears could be poised to move Dexter into the starting lineup. The 2023 second-round pick ended last season strong. It still feels like the Bears need to make another addition on the defensive line, possibly with that No. 9 overall pick (or if they trade back from No. 9). The Bears could be considering either defensive ends or defensive tackles, but this team really lacks a promising, young edge rusher.


Starters: Tremaine Edmunds, T.J. Edwards, Jack Sanborn

Backups: Amen Ogbongbemiga, Noah Sewell, Micah Baskerville

No changes here in the starting lineup. Ogbongbemiga is the only new addition. He will be primarily a backup and a special teams weapon.


Starters: Jaylon Johnson, Tyrique Stevenson, Kyler Gordon (nickel)

Backups: Terell Smith, Josh Blackwell, Jaylon Jones, Greg Stroman Jr.

The Bears locked up Johnson for the next four years, making him one of the highest-paid cornerbacks in football. Stevenson will play opposite Johnson and Gordon will continue in his role as the nickel cornerback. Smith is likely the first cornerback off the bench if someone gets hurt. Blackwell is a special teams ace.


Philadelphia Eagles safety Kevin Byard (31) during an NFL football game against the New York Giants, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2024, in East Rutherford, N.J.

Starters: Jaquan Brisker, Kevin Byard

Backups: Jonathan Owens, Elijah Hicks, Quindell Johnson, Tarvarius Moore, Adrian Colbert, Douglas Coleman III

Byard will take over the starting position vacated by longtime Bears safety Eddie Jackson. Owens is likely to be the top backup at the safety position and he could contribute on special teams.

Special teams

Starters: Cairo Santos (K), Trenton Gill (P), Patrick Scales (LS)

Backups: Corliss Waitman (P), Cameron Lyons (LS)

No changes are expected in the kicker, punter and long snapper department. Velus Jones Jr. is the front-runner for the kick returner job, but the team has options there. Tyler Scott and Khalil Herbert also could take over those duties. Dante Pettis, who the team re-signed last week, could be the punt return man. Scott or Jones also are possibilities.

Sean Hammond

Sean Hammond

Sean is the Chicago Bears beat reporter for the Shaw Local News Network. He has covered the Bears since 2020. Prior to writing about the Bears, he covered high school sports for the Northwest Herald and contributed to Friday Night Drive. Sean joined Shaw Media in 2016.