2024 Chicago Bears roster breakdown: Who’s under contract and who’s a free agent

CB Jaylon Johnson highlights Bears’ impending free agents

Chicago Bears fans celebrate with cornerback Jaylon Johnson after his second interception during their game against the Las Vegas Raiders Sunday, Oct. 22, 2023, at Soldier Field in Chicago.

The Bears are finally in a place where it doesn’t feel like they have needs everywhere on the roster. Yes, a 7-10 football team is still not a Super Bowl contender, but compared to where the team was a year ago, the Bears have made tremendous progress.

General manager Ryan Poles truly tore this thing down to the studs in 2022. The past year was the first step toward building it back up. Now – Bears fans hope – comes the fun part.

The Bears made some big additions, such as receiver DJ Moore and defensive end Montez Sweat. With more cap space and two first-round picks, the Bears will have another chance to add premium talent to the roster.

“We’re going to identify needs,” Poles said last week at Halas Hall. “What do we need? What are the holes in the roster? And then we’re going to attack them with the same relentlessness that we did this past season. Obviously, we have a lot more resources, so I’m excited to do that.”

We’re going to attack them with the same relentlessness that we did this past season. Obviously, we have a lot more resources, so I’m excited to do that.”

—  Ryan Poles, Bears general manager

But first, here’s a look at where the roster stands right now. Here’s a look at who is under contract for 2024 and who is set to become a free agent. Contract status is according to

Under contract for 2024

* – indicates a player is on a futures contract.

Quarterback (2)

Tyson Bagent

Justin Fields

Running back (3)

Khalil Herbert

Travis Homer

Roschon Johnson

Fullback (1)

Khari Blasingame

Receiver (4)

Velus Jones Jr.

DJ Moore

Tyler Scott

*Nsimba Webster

Tight end (2)

*Stephen Carlson

Cole Kmet

Offensive tackle (5)

Larry Borom

*Aviante Collins

Braxton Jones

*Roy Mbaeteka

Darnell Wright

Interior offensive line (7)

Ja’Tyre Carter

*Jerome Carvin

Nate Davis

Teven Jenkins

*Doug Kramer

*Bill Murray

Cody Whitehair

Defensive end (5)

*Daniel Hardy

*Khalid Kareem

Dominique Robinson

Montez Sweat

DeMarcus Walker

Defensive tackle (4)

Andrew Billings

Gervon Dexter

*Michael Dwumfour

Zacch Pickens

Linebacker (5)

*Micah Baskerville

Tremaine Edmunds

TJ Edwards

Jack Sanborn

Noah Sewell

Cornerback (5)

Kyler Gordon

Jaylon Jones

Terell Smith

Tyrique Stevenson

Greg Stroman Jr.

Safety (6)

Jaquan Brisker

*Adrian Colbert

*Douglas Coleman

Elijah Hicks

Eddie Jackson

Quindell Johnson

Special teams (4)

P Trenton Gill

*LS Cameron Lyons

K Cairo Santos

*P Corliss Waitman

Restricted free agents (Bears have the option to match offers from other teams):

WR Collin Johnson

Exclusive rights free agents (if the Bears offer a contract at league minimum, these players cannot negotiate with other teams):

CB Josh Blackwell

Unrestricted free agents:

QB Nathan Peterman

RB D’Onta Foreman

WR Darnell Mooney

WR Equanimeous St. Brown

WR Trent Taylor

TE Marcedes Lewis

TE Robert Tonyan

C Lucas Patrick

G/C Dan Feeney

DE Yannick Ngakoue

DE Rasheem Green

DT Justin Jones

LB Dylan Cole

CB Jaylon Johnson

LS Patrick Scales

Chicago Bears tight end Marcedes Lewis celebrates his touchdown catch with center Cody Whitehair during their game against the Arizona Cardinals Sunday, Dec. 24, 2023, at Soldier Field in Chicago.

Some general thoughts and observations:

  • Cornerback Jaylon Johnson is not likely to hit free agency. If the Bears and Johnson can’t come to an agreement on a contract extension before late February, the team will almost certainly use the franchise tag to keep him in Chicago next season.
  • Guard Cody Whitehair is a prime candidate to be cut for salary cap space. Whitehair, who ended the season as a backup, is set to cost $13 million against the salary cap in 2024. That would make him the second-highest paid player on the offense behind Moore. Cutting him would save $9 million of that cap hit.
  • Safety Eddie Jackson is also a potential cap casualty, though he’s less of a sure thing as Whitehair. Jackson is a team captain and a locker room leader on defense. That matters. Jackson will cost $18 million against the cap in 2024, making him the third-highest paid player on the team. Cutting him would save $12.5 million, but also would create another hole in the starting lineup.
  • The Bears have a hole in the starting lineup at center. It’s possible they could look for another starting tackle, but that depends how the front office feels about Braxton Jones. They could also use another starting-caliber defensive end to play opposite Montez Sweat, and/or a starting-caliber defensive tackle. The linebacker position is in great shape. The secondary is, generally, in a good place if Johnson returns next season.
  • As for depth, the Bears definitely need more help at tight end behind Cole Kmet. An NFL team can never have enough talent on the offensive line, especially on the interior. The Bears likely will look for an additional running back with D’Onta Foreman hitting free agency. Then there’s wide receiver, which could be a high priority this offseason. Outside of Moore, the Bears don’t have a reliable second or third option right now.
  • The Bears could look to bring back long snapper Patrick Scales, who has played in every game since 2018. Second-year punter Trenton Gill ranked dead last in the NFL in net yards per punt. He ranked near the bottom in punts inside the 20-yard line. That could be a spot where the Bears look to improve, though they still have two years of control on Gill’s contract.
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.