The Chicago Bears are still in the midst of one of the most important off-seasons in franchise history. A lot of questions were awaiting General Manager Ryan Poles, and so far he has been up to the task of answering them. NFL free agency has seen the Bears’ already revamp a roster that led Chicago to the worst record in the league last season.

At the start of the off-season, the Bears had the most cap space in the NFL and possessed the number one pick. The latter was quickly discarded, as Poles shipped the number one pick to the Carolina Panthers for a plethora of draft picks and star wide receiver DJ Moore. It marked a firm commitment to quarterback Justin Fields, landing him a number one wide receiver and indicating an agenda to fill out the roster supporting the third-year quarterback.

After the trade, Poles set his sights on the start of free agency. From day one, Poles made splash after splash, signing the likes of star linebacker Tremaine Edmunds and prominent offensive lineman Nate Davis. He continued to wheel and deal and made one signing that looked immaterial at the time, but will provide dividends once the season comes along. The Bears’ sneakiest 2023 NFL free agency signing was inking a contract with former Carolina Panthers quarterback PJ Walker.

*Stats via ESPN

Bears’ Sneakiest 2023 NFL Free Agency Move: P.J. Walker

The Chicago Bears led the NFL in rushing last year by a wide margin. This was primarily due to the fact that quarterback Justin Fields is an incredible rusher himself, finishing the season with 1,143 yards rushing and eight rushing touchdowns. He ran at an unreal clip of 7.1 yards-per-carry. Fields views himself as a thrower first, but he has no intentions of taking the rushing aspect out of his game.

With that being said, the main concern for any quarterback that likes to run the football is their proclivity to get injured. We have seen it with the likes of career-derailing injuries in quarterbacks like Robert Griffin III, or in hurting the ability to secure futures in the league like what is happening right now to Lamar Jackson. Jackson is at a stalemate right now in contract negotiations with the Baltimore Ravens. He wants a fully guaranteed contract, but the Ravens are showing that they are not willing to commit to a quarterback who is often exposed in the open field.

As of now, the Bears’ are not only showing a commitment to Justin Fields, but the ideal system for him to be able to use his legs in as well. By doing this, the Bears’ are accepting the injury risk that Justin Fields plays with. This is why PJ Walker is not only the sneakiest signing, but the smartest move in free agency so far.

Last season, quarterbacks Trevor Siemian and Nathan Peterman backed up Fields. One look at either of these quarterbacks and it is clear neither has much expertise in running the football, which hurt the Bears’ in multiple ways. Not only did Fields miss some games due to injury, but the offensive system that the Bears implemented was meant to maximize his potential as a runner. With Siemian and Peterman, they were thrust into action for an offense that is not built around their skillsets. The Bears’ would lose Fields and completely transform the style of football they wanted to play.

Signing PJ Walker fixes every concern the Bears could have with Justin Fields at quarterback. Fields can now feel confident as a rusher as he knows his backup will be able to mimic his style of play. If Fields is unfortunate enough to get injured, Walker can come in and play the same exact style within the same exact system. Not only will this help in games, but practice as well. The Bears can feel confident all season long that whatever they try to implement into their offense, whoever is at quarterback has the talent to execute it.

The 28-year-old Walker spent the last three seasons playing for the Carolina Panthers after a stint playing in the XFL. He comes off of his best season in the NFL, and was a highly sought after backup before landing in Chicago. His ability to both pass and rush the football fits the Bears’ scheme to a tee. Not to mention, he has played every year of his career with new Bears number one wide receiver DJ Moore. His familiarity with the wideout will certainly help his transition to Chicago, especially with the chemistry the two have shown on Sundays. Walker and Moore linked up for one of the most incredible Hail Mary plays ever seen in a game against the Atlanta Falcons last season.

NFL free agency still moves on and the Bears are sure to make some more moves before it is all said and done. For now, Bears’ faithful can be excited about PJ Walker being the new backup for star quarterback Justin Fields.

The post Bears’ sneakiest 2023 NFL free agency signing appeared first on ClutchPoints.

2023-03-24T22:41:24Z dg43tfdfdgfd