The Chicago Bears have wrapped their offseason program with the conclusion of their three-day mandatory minicamp, which has started to make things both clear and uncertain with this roster ahead of training camp.
The offense has come under heavy scrutiny this offseason, which has to do with the questions about Justin Fields’ supporting cast, including an unproven group of wide receivers and offensive line.
We’re still some time away before the team releases their first unofficial depth chart. But following mandatory minicamp, it’s clear there could be some shakeup.
Following the conclusion of the offseason program, we’re predicting what Chicago’s starting offense will look like in 2022.
There’s no question about who’s QB1 heading into the 2022 season. Justin Fields gets an entire offseason to prepare as the starting quarterback, where he’ll learn a new offense under offensive coordinator Luke Getsy. Fields is expected to make a big leap in Year 2.
Running back is one the most consistent groups on offense, which starts with David Montgomery. Montgomery is entering the final year of his rookie deal, and there’s no question he’s the lead back heading into 2022. Montgomery has been one of Chicago’s most consistent players over the last couple of seasons.
Darnell Mooney is coming off his first 1,000-yard receiving season, where he cemented himself as a playmaker for the Bears. Things are looking up for Mooney entering Year 3, where he’ll look to build on his chemistry with Fields and continue to grow as a downfield threat.
The Bears added a speedy weapon in former Chiefs wideout Byron Pringle, who signed a one-year, prove-it deal. Right now, he’s the second wide receiver on the depth chart. Pringle was buried on the Chiefs’ depth chart, and he’s now poised for a breakout season in Chicago.
The Bears drafted a potential playmaker in wideout Velus Jones Jr., who’s projected to start behind Mooney and Pringle. Jones, a third-round selection, is a speedy threat that Luke Getsy will have fun utilizing. He’s made a strong impression this offseason, showing off that 4.31 speed and run-after-the-catch ability.
Cole Kmet is entering his third season with the Bears, and he’s sure to benefit from a new offense and playcaller in Getsy. Kmet took a step forward in his second year, where he saw a significant uptick in production, more than doubling his production from his rookie season. Kmet could finally have a breakout season in Year 3.
There’s something to be said about Braxton Jones garnering a look at left tackle during the final week of organized team activities and the entirety of minicamp. While the Bears’ starting offensive line is difficult to predict outside of a couple of positions, there’s no denying Jones is emerging as a serious contender for the starting left tackle job.
There’s a lot of uncertainty on the offensive line, but Cody Whitehair’s left guard spot is about the only guaranteed thing at this point. He’s a key veteran on what overall is a relatively inexperienced group. Whitehair is coming off a down year and will have a $12.3 salary cap hit, the third-highest on the team.
Lucas Patrick could wind up being one of the most under-the-radar signings of free agency. Patrick os a versatile interior lineman, where he’s played center, left guard and right guard. But Patrick said he was brought here to serve as the team’s starting center, where communication with his new quarterback Justin Fields will be key. He also has a good understanding of new offensive coordinator Getsy’s scheme.
Teven Jenkins was drafted by the previous regime to serve as their left tackle of the future. But that’s not exactly what this new regime has in mind. Jenkins has been moved back to his natural right tackle position, but he’s been notably working with the second-team offense over the last two weeks of the offseason program. Matt Eberflus wouldn’t rule out a potential move to right guard for Jenkins, which seems like a realistic option.