The Chicago Bears are one of the NFL’s biggest and best known franchises. They have the most wins (761) in NFL history but have only claimed one Super Bowl all the way back in 1985. Their history is one of brutal, brilliant, defense propping up weak offenses. This was true of their ‘85 Super Bowl triumph, their 2006 Super Bowl loss, and the most recent team too. Their offseason trade for Khalil Mack as well as drafting of middle linebacker Roquan Smith in 2018 signaled that the Bears were getting back to their roots and building their roster around the defense once again.
The result was exactly as planned. The Bears defense led the NFL in points against and were the runaway leaders in defensive DVOA too. Mack put constant pressure on quarterbacks that fed the likes of Eddie Jackson and Adrian Amos interceptions in the secondary. The Bears ended up winning the NFC North, but their defense-first approach couldn’t get them a playoff win as they fell to the Philadelphia Eagles.
In Madden 19 the Bears are a strong team, they have an 83 overall rating that is powered by that brilliant defense which gets a 91 rating, the best in Madden 19. The offense is a weak spot, with a rating of 81, but these Bears are lining up for a Super Bowl run if the offense can be improved. How can you do that in Madden 19 though? First, we should look at the cap space you have to play with when you start Franchise Mode.
Chicago Bears Cap Space
When you start Franchise Mode in the preseason, which you should, you have 56 players on the roster with just $21.2 million in cap space. This is not much at all, and when you cut three players to make the 53-man roster you should look to open up as much space as possible.
There are 23 players that can be cut either for free or with just a $250k cap penalty. Included here are players like Josh Bellamy, who is #5 on the wide receiver depth chart but costs $1.9 million on the cap, and backup left tackle Bradley Sowell can be cut to free up $2.25 million. These are the kind of players you will want to drop from the roster as there are 22 players entering the last year of their contract…
Chicago Bears Impending Free Agents
With 22 players on the roster that are impending free agents you’d expect a few important players to be among them. For Chicago that starts with strong safety Adrian Amos.
At 25 years old and with an 88 overall rating Amos is a spectacular talent in Madden 19 and should be the priority of season 1 when it comes to re-signing players. His partnership with Eddie Jackson takes away a lot of the field for an offense and creates turnovers, so keeping hold of that pairing is a must.
Elsewhere on the roster #2 cornerback Bryce Callahan is also an impending free agent with plenty of good seasons ahead of him. Unless you are able to free up a lot of cap space then you might not be able to keep both Amos and Callahan, but you should if possible.
You may well have to wave goodbye to a few players that you would rather not in Franchise Mode thanks to the limited cap space. Most impending free agents are easily replaceable, but there are some beyond Amos and Callahan that will be missed if you can’t keep them.
Other key impending free agents: Bobby Massie (RT), Aaron Lynch (OLB), Kevin White (WR)
Chicago Bears Roster Needs
The Bears roster is good, but it is far from perfect. Defensively the team is pretty much set. You can improve things like cornerback depth and defensive line depth but there are established stars at every level and young talent like Roquan Smith that can carry the unit for many years to come. Khalil Mack and Akiem Hicks provide a lot of production up front while Danny Trevathan is a tackling machine and the starting secondary is strong. You should invest a mid-round pick at corner or defensive tackle, but otherwise your season 1 draft should be all about offense.
The Bears offense is the weak point of their Madden 19 team, but thankfully you still have their 2019 first-round pick to spend, even though in real life that went to Oakland as part of the Mack trade. This means you can invest in a new quarterback if you find the 79 overall Mitchell Trubisky not to your liking. More useful though, would be investing it at wide receiver or offensive line. Charles Leno Jr is the Bears best blocker at 84 overall, and with Bobby Massie being one of those players you may have to let go finding another tackle is a nice move for the Bears. At wide receiver they can get by thanks to Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel, but the depth is far from great so if you like to use 3-receiver sets then finding a good third option is a must.
The great thing about the Bears roster is that you don’t really need to reach for any particular position in the offseason, but there isn’t a massively deep position that would result in a waste of a pick either. You can simply look to invest in the best players available and add them to the mix while finding cheaper solutions for some of the backup spots across the roster. I wouldn’t be against allowing Bryce Callahan to walk in free agency if your draft class is particularly deep at cornerback, but you can really use your early picks at any position except for safety and it wouldn’t be a wasted pick. The Bears have a good foundation to build on and aren’t that far away from being a Super Bowl contender, but they need a few more pieces to play with the elite teams. Improvement at quarterback, offensive line, and wide receiver is important, and some more depth at cornerback and defensive tackle would also be great if you want to stay atop the NFC North and push on to the Super Bowl.