James Lang/USA TODAY Sports

Plenty of Chicago Bears free-agent targets playing in Super Bowl 50

The Chicago Bears will be keeping a close eye on Super Bowl 50, where a number of their upcoming free-agent targets will be performing.

The Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers were the two best teams in the regular season this year, so it's only fitting they'll square off tomorrow in Super Bowl 50. 

Both rosters are loaded with talent on both sides of the ball, yet a number of those big names will hit the open market once free agency begins in early March. 

The Chicago Bears will have between $60 million and $70 million to spend in free agency, so tomorrow's title bout will be GM Ryan Pace's final opportunity to evaluate those free-agents-to-be. 

Remember, John Fox was head coach of the Broncos for four seasons before coming to Chicago, so Bears fans should be paying close attention to players on Denver's side of the ball. 

With that in mind, let's take a look at the top free agents from both squads that the Bears will likely be targeting in free agency. 

Broncos

OLB Von Miller: Miller is one of the most disruptive pass rushers in the NFL. He's earned 60 sacks during his five-year career and was unstoppable in the AFC Championship game against the Patriots. In 2015, he had 11.0 sacks and a whopping 50 QB hurries, while he's also very solid against the run. The Broncos will make Miller their top priority and may even tag him, so it's unlikely he'll hit the open market. But if he does, the Bears should break the bank to sign him. 

G Evan Mathis: I highlighted Mathis this week in my offensive guard free agency piece. He's arguably the best run blocking guard in the NFL and would be a welcome addition to Chicago's offensive line. He'll be 34 next year, so age is a concern, but as a short-term option, Mathis is worth pursuing. 

ILB Danny Trevathan: Fox drafted Trevathan and knows better than anyone his prowess as a 3-4 inside linebacker. Trevathan is equally adept at stuffing the run as he is in coverage and could serve as the centerpiece of the Bears' defense for many years to come. 

DE Malik Jackson: Jackson is a quality interior pass rusher who had 5.0 sacks and 45 QB hurries last season. He can apply pressure in the face of opposing quarterbacks, which is a big need for Chicago's defensive line. Jackson can also hold his own against the run, making him a very attractive target. 

K Brandon McManus: After Robbie Gould's second straight sketchy season, the Bears may be looking for his long-term replacement. In 2015, McManus didn't miss a single kick of 39 yards or less and went 5-for-7 on kicks of 50 or more yards. He has a huge leg and decent accuracy, and he's only 24. If Pace and Fox are ready to move on from Gould, McManus is the ideal replacement. 

TE Vernon Davis: Once the most athletic tight end in the NFL, Davis (32 years old) has lost a step. That said, even an 80 percent Davis is better than most of the league's tight ends. If the Bears part ways with Martellus Bennett this off-season, Davis would be a decent short-term option. 

QB Brock Osweiler: Osweiler will only see the field if Peyton Manning is hurt, yet the 6-8, 240-pound 25-year-old showed this season his potential in the NFL. He's still a bit raw and the Broncos are going to try their hardest to keep him but if he somehow hits the open market, he could very easily serve as Jay Cutler's long-term replacement. 

Panthers

CB Josh Norman: Norman has emerged as one of the top cover corners in the NFL and is due for a huge pay day this off-season. In 2015 he had 4 interceptions, two of which he returned for touchdowns, and three forced fumbles. Opposing quarterbacks had a 54.0 passer rating when throwing at Norman, which was the best in the league, per Pro Football Focus. The Bears have a lot of money to spend and need a shutdown corner, so they'll definitely consider Norman. 

FB Mike Tolbert: It's been a few years since the Bears rostered a fullback, yet the offense average just 3.9 yards per carry in 2015, which ranked 20th in the league. Tolbert is a wide-bodied, bruising player who would have a lot of value blocking for Chicago's young ball carriers. He's also nearly unstoppable in short-yardage situations. 

CB Charles Tillman: Bears fans know all about Tillman, who is still playing at a very high level. He won't play in the Super Bowl due to a knee injury but Peanut still has plenty left in the tank. It would be nice to see him finish his career with one final season in the Windy City. 

G Amini Silatolu: Silatolu has been a backup for most of his career in Carolina but the 6-4, 320 pounder is worth considering as a potential starter in Chicago. 

CB Cortland Finnegan: Finnegan retired last off-season after a tumultuous 2015 campaign in Miami, yet he signed with the Panthers in November and has served as Carolina's slot corner ever since. He's 34 but appears to still have some game left in him. The Bears could use an experienced nickelback, assuming Finnegan is interested in returning to the NFL next year. 


Bear Report Top Stories