Alex Bars flying under the radar for the Chicago Bears

Oct 18, 2020; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Chicago Bears offensive lineman Alex Bars (64) on the sidelines in the third quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

One name watch throughout the duration of the Chicago Bears offseason is offensive lineman Alex Bars. Looking at the Bears offensive line, regression was prevalent over the last two seasons, which forced the Bears to try out a number of different combinations on the offensive line.

Heading into 2021, the Bears have nothing but questions on the offensive line. Sixth-year pro Cody Whitehair is the only surefire starter and with new second-round pick Teven Jenkins likely playing left tackle, Bars, James Daniels, Sam Mustipher, and Germain Ifedi could all be penciled in as starters.

Of the names listed above, Bars is the most intriguing due to his versatility. Despite starting just eight games in 2020, Bars saw regular action all throughout the season. His first start of the season was week nine against the Tennessee Titans, where he was asked to play center. After that, Chicago utilized Bars at both left guard and right guard.

The Bears believe in Bars, it’s that simple. They believe in what he brings to the table and his future with the team, especially since Chicago signed him to a contract extension this offseason. It’s entirely possible that the Bears decide 2021 will be another developmental year for Bars before eventually letting him takeover in 2022, should someone like Daniels or Mustipher not pan out.

Depth alongside the offensive line is an area where issues were visible throughout 2020 for the Bears. The Bears did bring in some reinforcements for 2021 with the goal of creating additional competition to solidify depth for years to come. Despite having to start his career on Chicago’s practice squad, Bars has shown enough to showcase that he can be a solid starter when called upon.

Since the start of Ryan Pace’s tenure as Bears general manager, Chicago has consistently been able to find at least one hidden gem each year through the undrafted free agent pool, some eventually becoming starters for the Bears. Common names that come to mind include CB Bryce Callahan (2015), DE Roy Robertson-Harris (2016), LB Isaiah Irving (2017), Bars and Mustipher (2019), and RB Artavis Pierce (2020).

With the Bears returning to Halas Hall in mid-May, Bars is clearly a name that’s flown under the radar but is worth watching as a potential surprise starter for Chicago in 2021.