James Daniels dubbed free agent Bears should aim to keep

As free agency approaches, the Chicago Bears have a number of positioning needs to address to bolster the roster as a new era of Bears football approaches.

While there will be plenty of new faces to join the roster, new general manager Ryan Poles also has some important decisions to make regarding the pending free agents on the roster at the end of last season.

NFL.com’s Gil Brandt looked at a free agent every NFC team must keep. For the Bears, it was offensive lineman James Daniels, who was solid in four years with the team.

The former second-rounder missed most of 2020 with a torn pectoral, but bounced back with a strong season in the final year of his rookie contract, earning top offensive ratings and stopping Pro Football Focus passes from his career so far while starting in all 17 contests. Re-signing Daniels will make life easier for Justin Fields.

The Poles have made it clear that the offensive line will be a focal point this offseason, where there may be a few starting jobs up for grabs. While that will involve bringing new faces to the offensive line — especially those who fit the Poles’ mold for offensive linemen — it could also include keeping a key member of their unit in Daniels.

According to projections, Daniels should collect between 7 and 10 million dollars per season, which would be quite heavy for Daniels. Then again, Daniels is only 24 and has already impressed during his short spell in the league.

This is one of many important decisions the Poles will have to make regarding the roster. Is Daniels someone he can’t afford to lose or someone he’s willing to leave?

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Christy J. Olson